I have, of late, found myself wading in a bit of a shitswamp.
I use “shitswamp” as the technical term to describe a bit of mess that has been made in my personal life — not by me. This whole affair that swamped me was quite grisly, really. And when I say grisly, I am saying this as a woman who was once engaged in litigation with an ex-boyfriend (for eight months!) in a backwoods Virginia State Court over a house in which we’d once lived. I am saying this as a woman who has somewhat recently gone through an unpleasant, malingering divorce.
Sparing the world the details, allow me to give you a window into the extent of the unpleasantness specific to this situation: within 48 hours of being hit by a car, having been hit by a car suddenly seemed like the least of my problems.
So when the impact of a two-ton moving object is muted, and state court proceedings appear to be more seemly a resolution to a problem than this shitswamp in which I am currently wading, you know that the whole thing has been bad.
And that is a tautological way of defining “shitswamp” in the first place.
Perhaps you can help me to find a way out of it.
How do I forgive without forgetting? How do I move on without being a doormat? How do I preserve the things that I love and how can I maintain my happy, healthy home without losing myself in the process?
The answer is that I don’t know.
I am a woman of great faith, and included in that faith is a great desire to forgive — often impeded by the human qualities of anger, fear, judgment, a desire for retribution, and what I consider an incredible capacity for creative profanity and name-calling. And I used to think that because I had great faith, nothing bad should ever happen to me. As I got older, I overcame my youthful arrogance and realized that bad things happened, and faith made them survivable. During this particular slog through the shitswamp, though, I have oddly greeted every day as an incredible blessing. I’m not sure how to explain that one.
But when you survive years and years of gravely terrible things, you begin to realize that small betrayals — while they hurt terribly — are not the same as almost losing your brother. They are not the same as having your family blown apart; they are not the same as a terrible divorce or an eating disorder or brittle bones or a heart attack or being sexually harassed or losing your job.
This shitswamp…it is just a small puddle I need to cross to remind me that there are good and trustworthy people in this world.