Monday, September 15, 2014

The Fragile Dance

After church today, I talked with a friend I hadn't seen in a long time. A few divine words of encouragement mixed with goose bumps, then we landed on relationships; how the party is easy, but a bad day, event, circumstance can challenge the party, if not ruin it. Challenges come with their own criteria and time-line.

In the best of circumstances, relationships are hard and take finesse which takes intention. When you're looking to marry, unlike fairy tales, none of this comes naturally or is learned overnight. In addition if the two people come together loaded with baggage, it’s even harder. The ultimate challenge is not to quit and give up.

Hard to believe my husband and I recently celebrated our 18 wedding anniversary, together a total of 22 years.  The last time I spoke to my dad I was twenty-three. Weird how I’ve been with my husband almost as many years. It puts a completely new perspective on things. Breaks an emotional spell, if you know what I mean.

Tammy Sue Willey, abuse, alcoholic, baggage, relationships, white mountains, hope, fragile
Celebrating 18 years married in White Mountains 2014
Mt. Whiteface and Mt. Passaconway
Tammy Sue Willey, abuse, alcoholic, baggage, relationships, white mountains, hope, fragile
Happy 18 Anniversary on Mt. Whiteface, NH 2014
Sifting through all the garbage of my past, it’s a wonder we lasted. I've been writing a book and below is an excerpt from the chapter titled The Fragile Dance

Our encounter was not storybook fairy tale style. We both came into our union fragile and scattered. Uncertain and untrusting. Yearning and hopeful, but skeptical. The hurts and trials we both carried in our shells were reason enough to hesitate before letting our guard down to take a risk. The proverbial baggage we each carried came loaded with years of broken tools, confusion and heartbreak. 

The invisible signs we wore flashed like neon lights in a bar window.
Me, a survivor of abuse. 
My dad, an abusive alcoholic. 
My future husband, a recovered alcoholic. 

We tried hard to hide from our past hurts yet the irony of the wound is it drew us like a magnet to the only thing familiar to us. Similar sorrows unwittingly attracted us to the kind of person we tried to run away from. The culture of ourselves. 

Rather than hold each other hostage with fingers that point, blame, and perpetuate our pasts, we took a risk in hope, that we’d be willing to grow together to overcome our wounds with victory.

I wasn’t asleep and perfectly posed in that sunny field wearing a beautiful princess dress. My lips didn’t glisten glossy red waiting for that kiss. He didn’t come wearing a coat of armor while charging on a white horse. He had no sword in a sheath to rescue me from the dragon.

In spite of following some wrong road signs, we found each other with broken hearts, bruised egos, fractured thoughts and a willingness to try again. Why? Because there is always hope. We believed in new beginnings and wanted to become awake and alive in new ways.

There were no magic wands or little fairies buzzing about sprinkling fairy dust while floating cupids played the magic harp. But we had Merle Haggard and a good steak after a hardy hike. The singer songwriter in my soon-to-be-husband came alive in new ways as we healed from old relationships while growing together anew.

Inspired, he wrote our wedding song, ‘I Stand Before You.’
Excerpt from “I Stand Before You” by Curtis Willey c.1996

I stand before you, with all of my reason
With one act of treason, my heart gave in to you

You stand before me, in all of your beauty
Accepting the duty, of life lived hand in hand
You stand before me, I stand before you

We stand before them, cause seeing’s believing
And now we are leaving, the lonely we used to be

I know love can break, but ours will stand the strain
Into the darkest night the light shines through again …43

We were planted in new soil. Given another shot at it. And with the best of what we had to offer each other, we believed in our Gardner while the question begged, as I stand before you, will you dance the fragile dance with me?

Wedding, Tammy Sue Willey, abuse, alcoholic, baggage, relationships, white mountains, hope, fragile
Perhaps after all, my story is … a fairy tale come true.

Honey moon, Tammy Sue Willey, abuse, alcoholic, baggage, relationships, white mountains, hope, fragile
Honeymoon Suite 1996 Franconia Range White Mountains
Honey moon, Tammy Sue Willey, abuse, alcoholic, baggage, relationships, white mountains, hope, fragile
Honeymoon Mountain Top 1996 Franconia Range
Lafayette, Lincoln, Liberty, Flume

Wedding, Tammy Sue Willey, abuse, alcoholic, baggage, relationships, white mountains, hope, fragile
Love ... Laughter ... Hope
Do you have a story where a twist of hope changed the odds against you?


Lucinda Secrest McDowell said...

Tammy Sue, so glad to read your new blog and see the photos (hey to Curt for me). Congratulations on 18 years -- it's All Grace, isn't it? I hope you will keep writing and sharing your story of hope and redemption. God loves you so very much. We will miss you both at the New England Christian Writers Retreat next month, but you are still in our community. under the mercy, Cindy

Linda Loegel said...

Tammy Sue, this is beautiful. Very few of us come together without bringing along our own baggage, but you have written it in a way that touches my soul. Curtis' song is perfect, too.

Tammy Sue Willey said...

My hope for anyone is to consider unpacking that baggage one piece of item at a time and make the load lighter along the way.Thank you for sharing.

Tammy Sue Willey said...

His Grace is the glue! Many steps along the way including you and the New England Christian Writers Retreat last year, where I learned blogging and was privileged by the one on one critique session with you,
has encouraged me to believe everyone has a story to share. Thank YOU! Curtis says, "Hey" back. We wish we could attend this year, but am so glad we met your wonderful team last last year. I will be thinking of you all.

Anonymous said...

Tammy Sue-
Your story The Fragile dance has touched my heart! My husband and I got married five weeks ago. We both walked through our own fire through our wounded past and through our faith our
relationship has become stronger. We both keep God in the middle of our relationship. Tammy Sue you are a true inspiration to me and your story has helped me to identify and know that my past pain doesn't make me who I am it's conquering and pushing through to the other side makes me who I am. Bless you Tammy Sue and all the people that you have touched and will touched through your story.

Anonymous said...

What I think is interesting is that neither you nor Curtis decided to forgo a relationship because you were wounded and broken. Instead, you chose to join together, fortifying the cords that bind you and being willing to cut the weights that could potentially harm your marriage. Not an easy feat. I like that you were not entering into marriage blind to the fact that you would need to nurture each other constantly and not project your own hurts on each other. 18 years is a long time, with many many more years to go. Love you guys!