Monday, November 18, 2013

I Might Be Your Neighbor

I might be your neighbor

sitting behind you in church

passing you on the street

the other woman on your team

you wouldn't know it

you wouldn't think it

you wouldn't believe it if you were told

because my husband is so nice

so kind, so considerate

you've often wished your husband would help with the dishes after church like mine does

or volunteer to paint your bathroom

or how he surprised you with a gift just because he's known you a year and your birthday must have been during that time.

Everyone smiled.

What a thoughtful man.

No one knew that it was my birthday that week

and he didn't bring me flowers

or a gift

but told me how worthless I was

that no one could love me and no one that likes me now would like me

if they knew me like he did

he waited to give you your gift until I got there

with lots of smiles and applause

I smiled too

even when you told me what a thoughtful man he was.

I wish I knew the man you see.

I might be your neighbor

sitting beside you in your office

or the mom who looks tired at playgroup.

You wouldn't know unless I told you

and you wouldn't believe me if I did.

I don't tell.

I know no one will believe me

Or people will tell me that if I just submitted more

cooked better

kept a cleaner house

perhaps "gave a little more in the bedroom"

that it wouldn't happen.

I'm sure it is just a phase he's going through, maybe a rough spot for him

try to understand.

You don't understand

because you don't live my life

you couldn't believe it

because there are no visible scars

I've learned to smile instead of cry

because I've learned that public tears will be punished in private

because public image is so important

more important than me

If only he would hit me 

people would see and be shocked

but the scars of words are deeper than that

yet unseen

I could be your neighbor

and you would never know

Even my friends do not know the whole of it

they can't handle it

they wiggle in discomfort and try to shut their ears

when I speak what happens behind closed doors

they can not carry the load I am carrying

so they leave

or they burn out

one even told me

"please don't tell me any more about your problems

they keep me up at night and I can't handle it"

so I was left alone

I had no choice but to handle it

I smile at my friends

I listen to their lives

but I don't always talk.

I'm a bit of a downer at a party

when they talk about vacations, gifts, sweet things their husbands did

what do I say?

"my husband yelled at me for two hours last night

he didn't like his dinner"


it sort of turns the chattering woman's coffee time into a shocked silence

so I have learned silence.

I talk about other things.

Sometimes I walk away to get a refill on coffee

because I need to draw a breath and control my tears

people don't want to be friends with me if I talk

they have no answers, and they feel like a failure for having none

I have none either

I'm more used to it perhaps

the questions with no answers

All I really want is a hug and someone to tell me they love me

to counteract the words that are thrown at me

but if I hang out with you and talk too much

my husband will come by

he will ask me later what we were talking about

so I am cautious

I don't want to risk more anger

so sometimes I am silent.

I could be your neighbor

you would never know.

can you see me?


Anonymous said...

What a powerful portrayal of the difficult struggle you face. I am so sorry. Praying now that God will continue to give you His grace each moment.

karen said...

Oh, Ellie, this breaks my heart. I would believe you and I would see you as I've seen people I know and love walk a similar road. Have you been to Elisabeth Corcoran's site? Maybe it will give you some comfort and a way forward... peace to you.

Cindy said...

I see you Ellie,

I wish so much I could help.