Tag Archive | love

The Quilt – Part 3

Had it not been for Ally I would have huddled beneath Grandma’s Quilt the rest of the day.  Todd’s note of confession shattered something in me.   “We were so happy, weren’t we?”  I thought. Now the very foundation of the life we were building together seemed to have been shaken.  I wondered if it would withstand this assault.

With the quilt wrapped around me I knelt in prayer but found all I could do was weep and moan before God’s throne.  I watched Ally as she slept. She was so tiny and so innocent.  She was totally dependent upon Todd and me for her every need and she didn’t even know she was she just did what all babies do.   I knew God was doing the same for us, watching over us, He knew what happened and He knew what was still to come.  It was hard to trust my own emotions to help me make a decision about what to do or say about the betrayal I felt from Todd’s actions.  I tried hard to trust God.

My mind tried to rationalize Todd’s behavior.  “It was ONLY a kiss.  What’s a kiss compared to our lives together?” and “His needs must be unmet with me or he wouldn’t be seeking this outside our marriage.”

I also began to blame myself.  Had I become so consumed with first being pregnant and then with Ally that I had neglected Todd?  Since I had never seen a marriage on a day to day bases that would help me know how to handle marriage I must be missing something.  How inadequate was I?

The four and a half hours from the time I read the note from Todd and he arrived home were some of the longest in my life.  By then I had managed to stop crying and I sat in the rocker feeding Ally when I heard the garage door opener.  I tried to force myself to relax so Ally wouldn’t sense my apprehension and I offered Todd a weak façade of a smile when he came into the nursery and kissed us both.

The conversation we had to have I didn’t want to have in our house.  It felt defiled enough already.  Todd had brought home Chinese food so I suggested we eat outside on the deck.  I could put Ally’s monitor out there and we’d hear her if she needed us.  Todd agreed and as I moved the monitor Todd grabbed the quilt and the bag of take-out.

Silence was our companion as we first went about the business of setting out the food and arranging the chairs.  I went back in for sodas and when I returned Todd had removed the two separate chairs from the table and moved our two seater glider to the table.  Grandma’s quilt was also there and I allowed Todd to help me sit down and wrap us in the quilt.  We held the take-out containers in our hands but neither of us could eat.  The silence between us was so heavy I expected to be able to see it.

“I’m sorry.”  Todd said, putting his food down and taking mine from me.  He reached for my hands and held them.  “It was a stupid thing to do Honey.”

The tears made their way back into my eyes and rolled down my cheeks.  My voice sounded weak and shaky as I replied, “How have I failed you Todd?”

He moved closer to me and completely enclosed us in the quilt.  “Oh my love you haven’t failed me.  This wasn’t your fault in any way.”

The man I’d married and whom I thought I knew began to confess that Satan had a stronghold in his life.  “Babe, you know how much this quilt means to us, right?”

“Sure.  It combines all of both our lives up to the point we were married.”  I said, puzzled as to how this had a part in Todd kissing Lisa

“Some of the things and clothing your grandma used and then you used to make this quilt remind us of great things and loving people.  Right?”  Todd quizzed.

“Yes.”

“A few of these patches from clothes you got from my mom aren’t happy memories for me.”

Anger welled up inside me.  I was trying to follow Todd’s reasoning but so far I was just confused.  If there were unhappy memories in some of the fabric provided from Todd’s clothing and things through his childhood I was sorry, obviously his mom didn’t know or she wouldn’t have included them.  But they were from his childhood and adolescence.  What did they have to do with the here and now?  With his kissing Lisa?

“Todd what are you saying?  I’m not understanding.”

He sighed deeply.  “I never told you that for about a year when I was in junior high my parents split up.  They were going to get a divorce.  That was the year I played football for the first time, the jersey – the purple and gold one – that reminds me of that year.”

Again if felt as if the foundation of our lives was shaken.  “How come you never told me?  You always said your parents had a wonderful marriage.”

“After Dad came to have a relationship with Christ they did but before then it was pretty rocky.  Dad moved out for a year and I spent one week with him and one week with Mom.  It was crazy.”

“I can see that.  I’m glad God came into your Dad’s life and your parents salvaged their marriage, but Todd how does that year relate to your kissing Lisa?” I begged to know.

The silence again grew oppressive.  I fought not to fill the silence with my own words of hurt and anger, but I succeeded in remaining quiet.  Into that silence and stillness Todd’s next confession dropped like a boulder into the middle of our lives and the ripples would never cease.

“My dad had me…well…his girlfriend…” it seemed he couldn’t speak around a lump in his throat then the words gushed out as if a dam had burst, “Dad had me sleep with Cathy so he would know who she was with when she wasn’t with him when he was away.  It was like she was my part-time girlfriend too.  Ever since then I’ve found it impossible to stay away from women who offer me quick thrills.  I thought when we married it would be behind me.  I think I was wrong.”

When we married Todd had told me he was a virgin too.  He never gave a hint his parent’s marriage wasn’t always solid.  He even told me he wanted a marriage just like his parents had.  What about all the stories about his Dad being a deacon in their church and how they went to church as a family his whole life?  What did he mean “impossible to stay away from women who offer…quick thrills”?  Was everything a lie?  How much had Todd deceived me?  Even more important, how much was he going to keep deceiving me?  How deep did Todd’s problem go?

To be continued…

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The Quilt – Part 2

If you were to ask 95 percent of the people in our lives through the years they would tell you that Todd and I had a healthy marriage with no conflicts.  That was our public life.  But there would also be 5 percent who could tell you of another side, a uglier, darker side of our marriage.  The side we kept silent about in small group Bible studies and worship services.  A side we didn’t tell anyone about.

I remember the first “slip” as clearly as if it were just yesterday.  Todd and I moved to his hometown so he could be closer to his mother when his dad died.  I’d never had a problem finding a job in radio before but I was sure that God wanted me to be in Christian radio and Bentonville didn’t have any opportunities.  Not within any reasonable driving distance.  So, since Todd was anxious to start our family we agreed we’d work on having our first baby and I’d be a stay-at-home mom.

We were blessed that I got pregnant right away and seemingly sailed through the months Ally was in my womb with remarkable ease.  I enjoyed getting the nursery ready, painting a beautiful butterfly mural on the walls, clouds on the ceiling and a white picket fence border.  I refinished furniture and sewed curtains, quilts and clothes for our daughter.  I didn’t have a clue that Todd was seeking companionship elsewhere until Ally was two weeks old.

One of the best pieces of advice my mother-in-law gave me was to sleep when Ally slept so I often would wrap up in Grandma’s crazy quilt and have time with God before falling asleep beside Ally’s bassinet.  Todd came home one afternoon for lunch and when he found both his “girls” asleep fixed himself a peanut-butter and jelly sandwich and left me a note.

“Came home for lunch and found you and Abby sleeping.  You both looked so beautiful!  I hate to bring a bit of rain into our lives my love but I have a confession…I kissed Lisa at the conference the weekend before Ally was born.”

Todd’s confession sent me back to huddle beneath Grandma’s quilt and to cry out to God…it was a provision only God can provide because I was to find out there was a whole part of my husband I didn’t know and never dreamed existed…

To be cont….