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Quagmire

Olivia once acted beautifully in some of the cities largest theaters. But, she gave her heart to a man when she turned 22. She immediately gave birth to two children. She gave up her career and settled into being a part-time actress, doing Community Theater in a small town in Oklahoma. She didn’t regret her decision, because she felt that family and love were more important than her future and gaining the approval of others through stage performances. Yet, something inside yearned for more.

One day, just days before her youngest child graduated high school, she received a phone call. The police had arrested her husband. The authorities wouldn’t tell Olivia the circumstances. “Come down to the station!” she heard the authoritative voice announce.

Everyone in the town knew her husband. They were the pillars of the community. They were on the board of directors for the YMCA. Dick was the president of the Rotary Club. Olivia was president of the PTA six years running. Her heart sank deeper into her stomach on the drive to the station.

When she got to the door of the police station, the local news had already pried for information. She pushed passed them and settled quickly into the foyer looking for anyone to tell her this was all a big mistake. Finally, a hefty, balding officer led her to the cell where her husband sat alone on a single cot. “I’ll leave you two alone to talk,” the officer said.

Tears already made a mess of Dick’s face. He looked disheveled and torn. Olivia ran to him and embraced him. “What happened, honey?” she asked. “Are you okay?”

Again, Dick looked down and cried. He couldn’t even meet her gaze with honesty. Olivia drew some distance away. “Tell me! What is it? How bad can it be? Were you drinking? Drunk? Stole something?”

Finally the words met his lips. “I got caught…” He broke down again, this time heaving with pain. “… having sex in the woods near the marina. I’m so… sorry!”

Olivia’s jaw dropped. Her body became still. Her face flushed. Her mind went blank. After a moment, she shook off her shock: “With who?” she whispered.

He sobbed even harder. “I’m so sorry. I wanted to tell you.”

She shook him now, angrily. “With who? Tell me!”

“Jack. Pastor Jack.”

Olivia felt ashamed and dirty at the same time. She couldn’t speak. She didn’t need to ask any more questions. It was clear from Dick’s admittance that he was gay or bisexual, and she had had no idea who she faced in that moment. She trusted him with all her heart. Why would he do this—with a pastor, no less?

From that day at the police station, it took Olivia three years to get her life and career back. But she fought every day to keep her head up and continue to move forward.

Months went by before she was able to believe that this was “direction not rejection” in her life. She believed her ex-husband still loved her. She recognized that people lie and cheat. She even realized that pastors aren’t perfect. What she had trouble dealing with the most was her self-esteem. Her identity had been swallowed up by her family and husband. She had to start over, as if she were that 22-year-old, but now with twenty more years of age lines and thirty extra pounds.

She moved her life closer to her parents, near enough to the city to begin her career again. Her children were old enough to be on their own at college. This time of life was for her now. Suddenly, a world of opportunity appeared out of the muddy quagmire. She discovered an autonomy she had longed for all along. She remembered what it felt like NOW to own her feelings and became empowered by life. She was broken for a short time, but she didn’t let circumstance ruin her life.

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Bo Sebastian is a Hypnotherapist and Life & Health Coach, available for private sessions to QUIT SMOKING, Lose Weight, New Lap-Band Hypnosis for Weight Loss, CHANGE YOUR MIND, CHANGE YOUR LIFE! at 615-400-2334 or www.bosebastian.com. Please feel free to comment and/or sign up to receive your blog sent to you directly or stream with an RSS Feed.

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