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Without Regret

Living on Purpose

Arise, the sun has set on Sorrow

With an unladylike howl, she slammed the clam-shell grill closed a bit harder than she should have. Here's another burn to add to her collection of scars. Furiously, she swiped the dirty blue rag across the slightly cooled grill which still boasted temperatures near three hundred degrees. With her wrist, she dabbed the corner of her eye, thankful that her last cashier had slipped out into the night. Sinking into the office chair, she collected paperwork along with her thoughts, tucking some here and others there.

Burns. Blisters. Residual bruising. The lack of caution she used in the workplace was reflected in her love life. She'd been trapped in a loveless marriage for a total of nearly two decades. She'd only heard of mid-life crisis as something that happened to other people. Now, she faced the final chapter of her life creeping up on her. In a matter of years, it would spring upon her without mercy. She regretted the example she'd set for her kids in one way. No one should bear mistreatment or disrespect. On the other hand, she almost lauded her self for sticking it out against all odds and respecting her vows. How unfair that the other person could obliterate trust and disregard nearly all the vows leaving her to face the scrutiny that follows the splitting of what appears to be a Christian family!

Her mind traveled back to a time where she was loved and respected—a time when she could face herself in any mirror with out the sting of shame. Like a soundtrack, she could hear Bonnie Raitt crooning in the background. There would be no use for counseling or long conversations with the pastor, you can't make someone love you if they don't. The tears stung but refused to fall as she pulled into the drive.

Upon entry, she feigned a smile for the man that sat opposite the door. He'd waited up for her, possibly aware that these days she was in no hurry to return home. 

"Turn those eggs off for me" was the answer to her weak salutation. Dropping her things on the coffee table she slipped into the kitchen and did so without reply. There would be egg salad for the kids' lunch again tomorrow. She hummed quietly as she made the salad. He sat beside her watching her dark nimble fingers remove the shells before compiling the mixture. She fixed him a sandwich at his request and returned to the living room.

Tired as she was, she was hardly paying attention until she felt the explosion of anger in his normally loud voice. "What's wrong?" She quietly questioned as he continued with incoherent phrases and fiery expletives .

Again she interjected,  "I'm just trying to figure out what's wrong." 

On and on, he raved.

"I fixed you a sandwich and gave it to you," flabbergasted she sat momentarily with her head in her hands. He reeled a step backwards when she flew to her feet. "I've just never been spoken to this way by anyone except you." Angry tears evaporated from the heat of her cheeks. "I've never been cursed out by anyone except by the man who supposed to be my husband."

"You always comparing me to them nerds you used to mess with--"

"Kei wasn't a nerd and he NEVER called me out my name."

"I wish you go meet him."

In two months time, she was packing out the house. In six months, she was practically a ghost that rarely visited.

No amount of kind words, tears, or threats could turn her back because she'd vowed to live a life of no regrets.

***

In light of domestic violence month, I would like to bring attention to the horrors that many women face daily. The life of silent cries and secret sighs. Those who have sought help but could find none for any number of reasons. Many people don't wish to be involved. Any excuse is better than none, right?

At some point you must realize that verbal abuse is often a gateway to other forms of abuse and must be taken seriously. Depression and anxiety are just the two most noticeable effects it has on a person's mental health. I recall being in the grips of them both when I resolved—as I am to this day—that even if freedom costs me my life, I refuse to ever bow under that weight again. With great effort, I determined to live a life without another regret because in the end, your regrets will ultimately be comprised of the chances you didn't take. 

If you or someone you love are experiencing this trauma, recognize that sometimes the main ones you thought would be available are unwilling or unable. Fortunately, you, your church or local women's shelter is a great place to start receiving the help you need to be able to look that person in the eye and know that you are better than any picture they may paint. You deserve abundant life. The road ahead is no easy trip, but it's worth it.

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