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Tin cup decisions

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Prayingforhope posted 3/10/2014 05:48 AM

I had a really useful day on Friday with my priest as we talked about “tin-cup” decisions. He spent a lot of time in Northern Ireland during the troubles and has seen families ripped apart by drugs, bombs, guns, booze, affairs, etc. If you can imagine it, he has seen it destroy families. More important is that he has seen all this against a backdrop of absolute poverty where decisions about the future had to be made while taking into account everything a family owned – often nothing more than a tin-cup.

He was making a point (rather strongly if I must admit) about how poverty focused the mind. He has seen people with their back against the wall make clear, sharp and permanent decisions about the rest of their lives with one thing in mind – their survival. Of course, he was comparing that to what I am going through as a result of my A. I’m in IC, my BS is in IC, we have a monthly MC session to “check in”, in order to create a “healing space” I rented another place to live, leaving her and the kids in our family home. We took separate vacations – I went skiing with the kids and friends, she went to beach. On and on it goes and it doesn't take much to realize that with resources, it’s easy to get lost in the process of trying to heal and actually forget the purpose.

Mind you, he wasn't criticizing what we’re doing to survive the disaster I created BUT he also doesn't want me to lose sight of the point. This is a time for self-refection to be absolutely certain, beyond any measure of doubt what I WANT in life. Let’s face it, there is a lot of life left in front of me and I need to be certain about making the right choices NOW so as to avoid more missteps and pain later.

And I’m getting close to knowing exactly what I want for the future. Without sounding too much like a hippie, I want peace. I want peace for my wife, my children and most of all I want peace for myself. I have no idea what form my final peace will take, married or divorced, living here or living there, shared custody or weekend custody, etc. but I now know without a doubt that my end goal is to live in peace and provide endless peace for my family.

This is perhaps the most dramatic realization throughout my entire healing process and is the result of my last 4 months in IC. There is simply nothing else that I want for myself than the simple pursuit of peace. Not money, or houses, or jobs, or accolades, or golf, or sex, or porn, or friends, none of it compares to finding the peace I am approaching in my own life. None of it.

And I realize so clearly that my lifestyle before; the affair, my half-assed efforts at being a good father and husband, my partying, my travel, my shallow “big man” persona in the office, all of it was me running from my past. Trying to paint over the child abuse I suffered. Trying to forget the sexual deviance I was exposed to as kid. Trying to lock down the demons in my brain from exploding and reminding me I’m a worthless human. My previous behavior was all a façade to help me divert attention away from the earthquake inside myself.

But the earthquake came anyways and 4 months ago on DDay my life changed forever. And amazingly, here I am, a rapidly changing man who only wants one thing from this world – peace. May my efforts today and for all my days bring this goal closer to my life and the life of my family.

nevergiveup10 posted 3/10/2014 17:52 PM


I know exactly what you mean. I often stop and think "what was I thinking?" But in reality the truth is I was focused on so many other worthless things similar to you.

I never really knew how to personify it but your priest explained it best. We have one focus now. Better late than never, someone will benefit from it. Even if it's only ourselves so be it.

I admire your dedication and resolve.

God's speed

GraceRunner posted 3/10/2014 21:57 PM

What does peace mean to you?

A couple of years ago I would have defined peace as the absence of conflict. It meant being polite and sometimes passive. It meant not feeling difficult emotions or being angry with someone.

But peace to me now means something quite different. I am not totally sure how I would define it but the words truth, authenticity, faith and balance are in there.

It means having faith that going through conflict, not around it, is sometimes how you gain peace. There are times now when BH and I are arguing that I feel more at peace than I ever did when we never fought. I have faith that being kind and truthful, authentic and willing to do the hard work will bring about a real balance, both internally and externally.

They say that peace at all costs is not true peace. Peace costs something. It does not come easy and it very often involves conflict. But nothing worth having is easy and sometimes we have to make very difficult decisions to gain authentic peace.

I do not want the peace that passeth understanding. I want the understanding which bringeth peace. -Helen Keller

I can hear a real change in you, Prayingforhope, and I know you will find your peace.

[This message edited by GraceRunner at 10:05 PM, March 10th (Monday)]

Prayingforhope posted 3/11/2014 03:22 AM

@Gracerunner, thank you for your thoughtful reply. It made me think and further reflect on my own thoughts. I agree with you that peace does NOT mean a lack of conflict. That is almost the same as rug-sweeping and very much is the way I used to live my life – avoid conflict, make sure everyone is smiling, change subjects when they get uncomfortable, etc. Not only does that approach move me farther away from my own peace, but it also ignores small problems, allowing them to grow and multiply in the dark.

Peace to me, to use another word that I never really understood before, is about happiness. And yes, all your words – honestly, balance, faith - are on the road to happiness and a whole lot more.

Here’s where the hard work you mention comes in. Peace and happiness don’t just magically happen and both require an immense amount of effort to get there. And honestly speaking, the best I can hope for now is the pursuit of peace, because who knows if I ever arrive. I’ve caused so much anger in my wife with what I have done, who knows if she’s able to find peace again. I’m personally so filled with remorse and self-doubt, my own emotional future is equally unknown.

Then there are the children. Those precious three boys which thankfully have been mostly untouched by my disaster and thus far continue to be happy, hopeful, wonderful, playing little gentlemen who just turned in the best grades they’ve delivered yet (it’s amazing what happens when kids go from one parent to TWO who actually take care for them!).

However, even in terms of their long term peace, and I know this firsthand from a painful upbringing, even their happiness hangs on a razor’s edge. We’re separated in order to bring calm to the family home. No matter where we go from here – an attempt at R or a decision to D – that calm will be disturbed in ways unimaginable right now.

So I end where you ended, the realization that finding my peace will be the combination of hard work and tough decisions. But anything worth doing is worth doing well and this is where my focus and energy is devoted now.

Thank you for caring and sharing.

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