Spring…A Time When Belief Blooms
by Ande Romano Schmitt and the Healing Family Group
Healing Family Farm… We Grow Family
Yesterday was the first real spring-like day on our family farm. The warm weather finally had arrived, which, although late for some, is very typical around here in April. Yellow-topped daffodils are popping their smiling faces up all over the wooded hills around our pond. Spring Peepers once again defy their teeny-frog size with the largest sound-to-size ratio known to any ears that happen to be by a pond on a warmish spring night. And, to round out the nighttime chorus of our pond, the banjo plucks of the Green Frogs keep the beat with their Peeper cousins in a steady pace of springtime rhythm.
Yesterday, while we worked, our family identified 30 species of birds on our farm, from the newly be-decked American Goldfinches taking over the feeders to the tail-flapping Phoebes taking over our barn. We watched several Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers tap one of our maple trees then wait for the bugs to come and lick the sap… so clever! We were amazed at the remarkable expenditure of an exhaustive Ruby-crowned Kinglet taking a bath, catching a bug, taking another bath, catching another bug… endless spring energy. At night, we heard a Barred Owl wondering, “Who Cooks for You?” and we wondered ourselves if Daddy Barred Owl was being called to “cook up” a little meal for Mama Barred Owl and her owlets.
Spring certainly does bring good energy. So maybe this is why I have decided to believe….
It has been a long, hard winter for our family; specifically for me, it has been a hard time for me getting my needs met within my marriage. Our Healing Family Farm is based on the idea of growing a healing family. As survivors of childhood abuse, sexual assault and incest, my husband and I have dedicated our lives to stopping generations of abuse and to creating this first healing family of truth. My husband and I aren’t in equal states of recovery, though. Unfortunately for my husband, the severity of the abuse perpetrated against him resulted in him burying the complete truth of the abuse in his subconscious for many decades. I started my recovery process over twenty years ago, perhaps in order to create this family. But my husband is having a much different recovery process than mine, in terms of the time frame of recovery and the manner. Of course he would; we are all different and we all have our unique methodology and purpose. But understanding this about my husband doesn’t make it any easier for me to accept! It’s hard — at times, unbearably hard — to be in an emotionally intimate relationship with someone who is in a completely different space than you are, especially when it feels like none of your needs are being met.
Falling in love is easy. My 14 year old daughter can tell you all about that! Falling in love is so much about the feelings associated with love that just seem to come to the surface as easily as winter turns to spring. I love my husband, no doubt. He has been my friend since we had just turned 13 years old. We are approaching 18 years of marriage. Falling in love these days is not the problem. Falling in trust is another thing entirely. Falling in trust is more than an emotional response or even a welling up of compassion and togetherness. Falling in trust is about believing. It’s more than blind. It’s beyond experience, maybe even despite experience. Falling in trust is a decision, not a feeling at all.
There certainly have been times when I have made very critical decisions in my life. I chose to live, despite horrifying abuse perpetrated against me, and I chose to stop the generational cycle by not abusing my children. Throughout my own recovery process, particularly when my kids were young, I consciously met their developmental needs in a loving way while I managed, through healthy channels, to deal with my own anguish of being abused. Giving them love gave love to myself; I gave myself the developmental love I needed to grow. Equally important, if not more so, I learned to trust myself. I fell in trust with myself! With the love I gained for myself by giving my children the love they needed (and deserved), I learned to trust my abilities as a mother, and I became really great at it.
But the trusting myself part was, by far, the hardest for me. I used to stick Post-It notes all over the house that read, “I am not my mother”, to remind myself that it was ok for me to trust who I am and how I want to be. Trust is about a certain kind of learning that doesn’t come with any instructional manual or textbook. Love is almost instinctual. But trust is all human. Trust is the leap of all leaps. Trust is in the realm of the universal unknown. Spiritual. The Big Picture. The, “Yes, I do.” And this “Yes” is a decision…and only a decision. You decide, do I trust?
So, it has been almost 18 years that I have been married to my husband, my friend of almost 36 years. The Bluebirds have come home to nest in our boxes. Our children are happily studying and drawing pictures about spring birds, toads and frog eggs. We are certainly a wonderful, loving family. But, as my husband is well aware, there are needs that I have within our relationship that have not been met. I need them met. He knows I need them met. And that is up to him. My husband needs to make a decision whether he is going to join the living of the real and true and reject the emptiness of denial. He needs to choose to join me and our family as his true self. With this, I need to fall in trust with him. I need that serendipitous state of his choosing meeting my trust… decisions that meet together somewhere along that road of what we call our marriage.
Falling in trust with myself was hard enough. But — as I am taking a deep breath right now even as a write this — falling in trust with someone else is even tougher.
But here is where Spring is truly divine. It’s not about Easter and Jesus…I gave that up years ago. It’s not about nature and the regeneration of life that comes back from the dark death of winter. It’s not about my spring birthday. It’s not about longer days or warm, energizing weather. For me, Spring is about belief. For me, Spring is about the decision to believe; it’s about the “bloom” that happens inside that cultivates from soils of a decisive spirit longing for whatever joy makes the human experience continue on. I choose Spring. I decide to Spring. And falling in trust is Spring at its very best. One day at a time, one moment at a time, one decision at a time…Happy Spring!