When you decide to walk through the dark caves, searching for light, you may eventually find that you ARE the light.
On a sunny day in April of the year 2006, I woke up in a cave.
My body was aching and asking me to pay attention to it. But I didn’t, and I went to work anyways. I felt nauseated and weak. I went to the school nurse’s office and she took my temperature. It was 102 degrees. My principal told me to go home.
As I was walking out of the building, a colleague stopped me. I told her I was very sick. She said she would pray for me, and I asked her how she was doing, as I was getting into my car, and she paused to tell me she was feeling sad. Why? I asked her. She then told me that her sister-in-law was filing for divorce because her husband was having an affair. When I asked how she knew he was having an affair, she said, “He was often out late at night, came home drunk, and made excuses about feeling depressed and needing time with his friends.”
In my fogged-up, feverish state, I told her I was so sorry about her sister in law and that I would hopefully see her Monday and we could chat more.
As I was driving away, the pit in my stomach abruptly felt as if it were bottoming out. I was no longer nauseous. I was STARVING. I am embarrassed to say I drove through a Culver’s drivethru and ordered a big, greasy cheeseburger. I went home and devoured it and took Tylenol and went to sleep.
As I drifted in and out of dreams, my skin vascillated between chills and sweats. My thoughts went to the story my colleague had told me about the family member whose husband was having an affair. I knew why the pit in my stomach had bottomed out. The pit had cracked open from hearing the truth: I was that woman, too.
My body was ready to feel this truth. It was so exhausted from lies. But my spirit wasn’t. It was in fight or flight mode. I tossed and turned in my feverish stupor, and finally went back to sleep.
I began to dream. I dreamt that my husband was drowning, and I was trying to resuscitate him, but he asked me to let go of him. Under the water, he called to me, “I’m having an affair. Let me go.” I let go and watched him sink further into the water.
As I continued to dream, my fever broke. My body jolted awake in a sweat. I remember sitting straight up in bed, completely clear-headed, yet terrified.
I called my mom.
“He’s having an affair,” I blurted out. “I know it because I dreamed it! And my friend, she said it happened to her sister in law-that’s what’s happening to me!! I know it. But I can’t prove it. What should I do? Should I hire a private investigator?”
My mom listened. She didn’t think I was insane. She knew I had been searching for answers as to what was feeling “off” in my marriage. But, she knew I was afraid and told me, “God has already shown you so much. Don’t go out and investigate any more. God will continue to reveal the truth in the time that you need to know.”
After I hung up the phone, I started to pray. I prayed so hard for truth. I prayed for more information. I prayed that I wasn’t crazy. And as I was praying, I suddenly heard a voice–a voice that I believe to be God–who spoke to me and said, “Go check your mail.”
And here’s the freaking thing…as I’m walking to my mailbox, I KNEW I WOULD FIND SOMETHING SIGNIFICANT THERE. I was awake, yet zombielike. In that walk to my mailbox, I was feeling like every sensation I felt, every person I passed, and every detail I noticed was a sign, pointing me in the direction of truth.
I went to the mailbox, turned the mailbox key, and a piece of mail fell out from a jewelry store. It was addressed to my husband, and looked like a bill. I opened it up, and was not surprised to see a credit card bill with several hundred dollars worth of necklaces, bracelets, and jewelry purchased that wasn’t for me.
I held this bill close to me. It felt important, almost sacred. Here I was, holding a piece of gold in my hand that was pure truth. I went upstairs, and once again, I heard the voice saying, “Go to the computer.” I sat down at the computer, and looked up our cell phone bill online and pulled up my husband’s phone line. There was one number on there repeatedly at all hours of the day and night that I didn’t recognize. I called it.
A woman’s voicemail came on.
“Hi, this is Maricela. I can’t take your call right now, but leave a message and I’ll get back to you.”
I didn’t know a person named Maricela. But I ascertained that my husband knew her very well.
The rest of the weekend, I curled up in a ball and cried and ached and talked to my family. My husband had told me he was going to Chicago for a concert that weekend. I called him many times, but he never answered. I didn’t know what I was going to say or do. I just knew that this truth was crumbling everything I had been clinging to and destroying it. This truth wanted to break me from my attachment to my husband, because that’s what the truth does-it breaks you wide freaking open and you can’t hide. Or run. Or really do anything, except for sit with it until it’s taught you what you need to know.
The next day was Easter. I didn’t go to church. It was a sunny day, yet I couldn’t move. I didn’t eat. I sat in the darkness of my bedroom, wondering what was about to happen. I had been split right open in the course of 24 hours with a truth that felt so threatening to me; however God had revealed it in such a precise manner that it was impossible to ignore.
This was the beginning of a spiritual awakening. I did not go gently into that goddamn night, though. I went on to wrestle with the truth and what it meant to be awake. I even went on to have a baby with this person. That’s right: I ignored the truth and hoped that a child would change it. But I discovered that as I fought that truth, it continued to fight right back. And this moment in April when I was curled up in a fetal position in my bedroom in Madison, Wisconsin was only the beginning of the fight. My husband’s affair was pure PAIN for me. But it was only a thread of the truth that was about to unravel before me.
The good news is this: once it unravels, there are treasures to be found. You just have to be willing to enter the darkness to find the light.