One of the first things that Mary told me in 1989…as I began therapy… was that I had to find my truth. I had no idea what she meant at the time, but I did trust and respect her, thus I wrote “FIND MY TRUTH” in capital letters on the first page of my brand new notebook so that every time I opened it, I would be reminded of this goal. And believe me….I opened that notebook a lot. I was a mess back then. My husband, Michael, and I had just divorced after seventeen years of marriage. My life was in shambles and I was scared that I would fail again in any future relationship attempts. In fact, I knew I would fail because I didn’t have the tools to make a relationship work. Luckily for me, I found help through New Hope Family Life Center and Mary McRaith—my therapist and friend--who helped me find my truth.
It was not an easy find….this search for truth. It confused me and made me want to throw in the towel…give up…call it quits. The dictionary told me that truth was “the thing that corresponds to fact or reality”. In that case, I logically concluded that my truth was failure as I had just failed at my marriage….that was my reality. When I shared this nugget of knowledge with Mary, she just smiled and said “keep looking”. Next, I decided that my truth must be what I really want to do with my life…learn all I could about relationships, be a good mom, find a great guy, etc. So I enthusiastically entered our next therapy session declaring that I had finally found my truth. Mary quietly chuckled as she told me once again to continue looking….and that I would know without a doubt when I found it.
She was right, of course. I was in a group therapy session several weeks later with five other people when I had an epiphany….a light bulb went on and how to find my truth was right there in front of me. I suddenly felt kind of silly….like the way you feel after someone tells you the answer to a simple riddle. The answer was there the whole time….I just didn’t see it. As Gayle, one of the group participants, talked about how the sexual abuse that she suffered as a child affected her adult years, it all clicked for me. Gayle’s stepfather raped her when she was ten years old and then continued to sexually abuse her for the next several months. For that period in her life, Gayle was helpless and had no one to protect her. Even though her mother did learn of the abuse and put a stop to it after six months, Gayle was left with her feelings….that she was a bad person and not worthy of love. As she got older, those feelings intensified---she felt like a slut…that she was ruined for any decent man. This is where my shining moment of truth occurred. I knew Gayle to be a loving, giving woman who cared enough to share her private and hurtful story so that others could learn and grow from it. From my perspective, that was who she was…that was Gayle’s truth.
Personal truth is not who we are at any given moment nor is it who we want to be. Truth is who we are at the core of our being…after all the garbage is thrown away, what is left is who we are….our truth. Of course, knowing how to find my personal truth was only the first step. Next came all the hard work of taking each issue and working through it, then letting go of it so that slowly…issue by issue, I emptied my garbage can and became my true self.
My self-discovery journey started and ended with New Hope Family Life Center where I found hope through despair and the light of God through each person who touched my heart and gave me pieces of wisdom to mend my broken soul. At the end of this journey, Michael and I were able to reconcile and remarry each other. If you are interested in all the twists and turns that our journey took along the road to reconciliation, I have shared them all in my book “The Amazing Journey of a Relationship” which started with a notebook and can now be found exclusively on Amazon at www.Amazon.com/dp/b00awsmbdo.