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Today I Could Have Been Married for More Than Half my Lifetime


I don't know how I got there or for how long I had been standing within the frame of the door. All I know is that my arms were reaching high over my head and I was pushing against all odds, and against the weight of the crumbling building around me. There were holes in the ceiling and cracks in the walls. The whole structure was shaking, but I stood there with defiant desperation. I would not let it fall. My feet were firmly planted and every ounce of my strength was invested into a false hope of holding up what would have surely crushed me had his arm not reached in and saved me. With one strong and steady swoop I was pulled far from harm's way. In that moment, everything crumbled into a heap on the ground.

My dreams, my hopes, my effort, all that I had fought so hard for, everything the building had meant to me. It all came crumbling down. I wanted to be angry, and only briefly felt an overwhelming sadness, before I realized that my life had been spared. I could have been crushed under the weight of the rubble.  Instead I sat there, silently gazing at the mess that lay before me, deep within the heart of the woods. As the realization swept over me, I couldn't bring myself to turn to face the one who had saved me. I was humbled, afraid and gratefully vulnerable. He must have known I was not ready, because just as quickly and as silently as he had come, he left. The one who had saved me, he gave me time to recognize and remember all that had happened in that brief, and sorely needed, moment of rescue.

I remember vividly how ready my body was to yield to his. My strength was gone and I could hold on no longer. If it had been my choice, I would have fallen under the burdensome weight of the building. His arm wrapped around me, however, and I was swept away in peace. There was no more fight left in me. He saw what I could not see and he came at just the right time, in the right way, and he left me the gift of contemplation, so that I might find the beauty in the midst of the rubble of the ruins.

That all took place in a dream that I had in 2012. It was a real dream and it was one that I will never forget. This drawing was created so that I might always have a quiet place to revisit, and rest in while contemplating all that took place in those few brief moments. Now, nine years later I am laying in my bed reflecting on how I could have been married for more than half my lifetime. Today would have been my my 19th wedding anniversary after getting married at age 19. That doorway I so stubbornly tried holding up in my dream, and that crumbling house was the frame of my marriage. I tried so hard, for so long to hold everything together. I gave all my strength and it was not enough.

Sometimes life is like that. Sometimes we give more than what we have to offer and to our own detriment, our effort puts us in harms way. We are not meant to hold up things that are too hard for us. In my dream I was pulled from destruction just to sit and watch everything I tried to force into place collapse inches from my face. It was not an easy sight to take in. It was not easy to accept. And in fact, my misplaced effort landed me in the hospital during my first mental health crisis.

It's hard to tell the truth of my story in a way that honors my grief and also extends grace to those who have been antagonists in my story. I have found that in life, stepping back from the subjective hurt gives me the space to tell my story in a way that does not leave me in a mess of bitterness and also acknowledges the pain of trauma. I don't need to shout names or hatred at those whose actions affected me negatively over the years, but it is still true that I have been hurt by many words and actions while I stood defiantly in the doorway of my marriage, watching the building collapse around me. My first and only thought that holds me together is, thank you, God.

Thank you for knowing me intimately. Thank you for seeing my situation. Thank you for never abandoning me, and thank you for reaching in when enough was enough. You let my marriage crumble, you watched my frame of ignorance fall to the ground and you rescued me from destruction, walking with me through my pain and grief when things did not look pretty. You showed up in the care of medical professionals, you showed up in the care of concerned friends and family. You let all that needed to fall, fall, but you did not let it crush me. I understand your heart so much more fully now, and for that I will be forever grateful.

Seven years, now, from my first mental health crisis that took place in the middle of my divorce and I am able to stand, look back, and take in all that has happened. It left a mess. There was destruction, crumbling, hurt, pain, sadness, anger, and a broken mind reeling in agony. These are things that cause trauma. These are things that lead people to loose their mind and ability to cope when they cannot find a sliver of hope in the grace that is extended to us every single day. I was lost in a cloud of darkness, self isolated and alone, believing lies that my value could only be found in my ability to stay when I was not actually capable. I felt the weight of disappointment, I felt the sneaky call of shame, I watched my heart lose its ability to love even the one it is meant to keep alive. I gave up on myself and literally stopped trying to live.

I am ready to tell my story. I am ready to run my hand over the ruins with a grateful heart and tell the tales that might help others step back before they are crushed beneath the weight of failed dreams. I am ready for today, tomorrow, and every day after that I will be given the gift of life that sustains these lungs and fills me with hope for the future. If you have come this far, thank you for reading. I look forward to sharing more with you in the following days. I am at peace and ready to tell my story.


  1. Thank you for sharing Crystal. I’m glad you are at peace. I look forward to hearing more of your story and the wisdom you’ve gained from your journey. ❤️

    1. Thank you so much for your encouraging comment, Bethany! You are always such a blessing <3


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