Beautiful words and black sludge

Flashback to … February 4, 2013

“May we have the Spirit of the Master dwelling within us, that we may forgive all men as He has commanded, forgive, not only with our lips but in the very depths of our hearts, every trespass that may have been committed against us. If we do this through life, the blessings of the Lord will abide in our hearts and our homes.” ~George Albert Smith

During my morning devotional, I cringed a little as I read these beautiful words. Because they are so true. I know it. But because I feel so inadequate. I just haven’t been able to get there … to the “very depth of my heart” part.

I’ve buried myself, immersed myself, drowned myself in teachings of the Savior, healing, and forgiveness. I understand the process. I know about handing over my burden to the Savior. Why can’t I do it?

I wish I could wrap it all up into a giant black ball of muck–the porn, the fake identities, the profiles on dating sites for married people, the erotic massages, the women sleeping in my bed, the mysterious missing grocery money used for who-knows-what, the years of adultery, the lies, the neglect, the terrible things my sweet children have had to go through and continue to go through–put it in a huge basket and send it away.

But there are holes in my basket.

It leaks and leaves streams of muck behind. I follow after it, trying to scoop it up and put the greasy sludge back into the porous container, but it keeps coming through. I turn my back away from it, trying not to watch the enormous load travel away, but my ex is approaching with two buckets in his hands, full of more steaming black sludge. He holds the buckets out to me. I don’t want to take them, but I must. I have the children, so I still have an obligation to deal with the filth. If I don’t, the kids will have no one to teach them the difference between what is right and what is wrong. They will only see the filth without an explanation.

Straining under the weight of the buckets, I turn back again and run toward the huge basket desperately trying to dump the new load onto the pile. The burden is so heavy. I’m covered in the stuff. My knees are weak, but I stand, determined. I continue to fight. I want to give the burden away. But it keeps coming. I’m so tired.

10 thoughts on “Beautiful words and black sludge

  1. Melody,

    I hope your ex is still decent with the kids, that you don’t have to worry about their safety during the time they spend with him. But of course you’re going to be concerned with what they learn from him, and you have a difficult line to walk between teaching your boys what’s right and not making them despise their dad. How do you do it?



  2. Wow. Ruth, Melody may not feel right answering your question, but since I spend a lot of time around her and the boys, I can tell you what she does. First, she never speaks ill of her ex in front of or to the boys – never. I think there is cleansing power in that, and it helps her feel virtuous in spite of how her heart may feel. Second, and most important, she teaches them the Gospel of Jesus Christ through word and deed. Camden, her oldest, has a bright testimony of Christ and His teachings. He knows the difference between right and wrong. Liam is following in his footsteps. Third, she is really good at dealing with the trauma the boys experience when they spend long periods of time at the other location – a long time is anything over a week. They come back with so much emotional baggage, not that they are mistreated in obvious ways, but because they see someone they love doing things they know are not right. Also, they experience extreme separation anxiety from their mother because they are still so young. When they come back they are dazed. They misbehave, sometimes with atrocious behavior. They are unsteady. They sometimes show anger at Melody. They feel insecure. Melody and her new husband are so good at being patient and nurturing with them. They listen to them. They play with them. They let them know that they are safe. In time, typically a couple of months, they get over their trauma. I think it is so unfortunate that the ex insists on the long visits because they genuinely hurt his boys. I would think that if he really loves them he would want what is best for them – he would not want them traumatized. But this is another topic. The point is that Melody and her new husband are champions at helping the boys get over the trauma…but then another long trip looms. I think that is what Melody is referring to as a big part of her burden.


  3. I would expect nothing less from Melody. I didn’t really expect her to tell me everything; I meant my question more as a rhetorical exclamation of admiration for how well she’s handled all her trauma and distress. But thank you for letting me know.


  4. DAD!!!!!!! (He stole my login!) Thanks, Dad, for your comments. Love you.

    Ruth, I always love hearing from you. Thank you for your “rhetorical exclamation of admiration.” You are so stinkin’ cute. I appreciate your support and comments more than you know.

    I will definitely be tackling some co-parenting topics in future posts, so stay tuned! 😉


  5. 🙂 I’ll tell him. I just figured out that I’m probably signed in to WordPress at my parents’ house. Oops. I’ve been working there a lot lately while grandma plays with my baby. I should probably show my folks how to comment as themselves. Haha.


  6. I thought the cross-personality-itism was pretty funny actually. I like how your dad spoke up for you so fiercely and devotedly. He seems to be rather fond of you : ).



  7. I’m sure you do. Lots of guys who are lousy spouses are still decent dads, but from your father’s post, I gather that’s not necessarily the case. I hope you can get the duration of the visits changed. I don’t what it will take for the courts to start putting the needs of kids first. I wish I could offer some pretty platitudes about how in the end none of this will affect your boys, but we both know better. Nevertheless, you are providing them with a far better paradigm for their own lives and future relationships than if you had tried to stick it out. Still, I grieve for your pain and distress.


  8. Thanks for your kind words, Ruth. I’m actually not looking to change the visits. I know it is important for them to spend time with their father and all the family in CO who loves them. I feel immensely blessed to have gotten what I have–that we were allowed to leave the state at all, and that they are primarily here. I still don’t like sending them away (what mother does?) and I worry about what they are exposed to when they are there, but overall, I’m content with the settlement. I’m learning to trust the Lord and his angels to watch over them while they are away. That’s no small exercise.


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