TL recently spoke of wanting to give her healing its own trajectory, independent of mine, so that I won’t drag her down when I experience my own ups and downs on my sea of healing. I had a little trouble fully understanding it, until I created a metaphor.
TL and I are in a swimming pool. We call the pool “reconciliation.” Some days I float atop the water, happy and relaxed. Other days I struggle to tread water. Similarly, some days TL floats happily, and other days she struggles to stay afloat.
There is a single, large drain at the bottom of the pool. A sturdy plug stops the drain, preventing the water, and us, from draining away into the nearby ocean. Actually, when I look at the plug, I see a heavy, strong plug that can’t be knocked out accidentally by rough waters or inadvertent motions, and probably can’t be moved by one person. However, when TL looks at the same plug, she sees a lightweight, cheaply-made piece of plastic that could easily be accidentally dislodged by turbulent waters or by a single person behaving carelessly. Which of us is right? Who knows? That’s a subject of frequent discussion between us.
The ocean is called “divorce.” If I got sucked through the drain into the ocean, I could probably swim just fine. But, I wouldn’t necessarily be so close to TL. I would miss her. TL is a strong swimmer too, and she’s getting stronger. She’s a bit worried about sharks out there. But, she would get along fine out there in the ocean.
We both want to stay together in the pool. TL wants to be able to relax in the pool. Instead, she keeps worrying. Every time I dip my head below water, she fears I’ll somehow knock the plug out of the drain. I feel very confident that the drain is secure. I try not to scare TL by dipping my head below the water. But, sometimes I simply can’t avoid a quick dip beneath the surface. I’m trying to become better at floating on the surface. But, it worries TL when she sees me still working on it.
So, there’s the dilemma for TL. She wants to relax and float in the pool, but she can’t stop worrying about me and that drain.