I sat through it all anyway.
I sat through it to support H.
I sat through it for closure.
I sat through it to hear what H would really say and how he would tell his side of the story. (Maybe I wanted to be sure it was told correctly. Not that it would matter. I would never be brave enough to speak out in a room full of men -- 16 of them.)
I sat through it and cried while H cried.
I sat through it and all sounds of silence so thick around the room as the men listened. (Maybe it was the spirit. It was such a sad and heavy feeling that it was hard for me to not notice the pain in it. Maybe the Holy Spirit has a sad side too when the deeds of the children of God have offended Him.)
In the end, the Stake President told me three times how right it was for me to be there. H said the same thing over and over throughout the day. Several of the High Counselors mentioned being grateful for my presence and for my words of faith and encouragement. The sweetest compliment came from the 1st counselor to the SP, he said as he shook my hand on the way out the door, "I didn't know you very well before, but now I feel I know you very deeply and see what a beautiful and tender soul you have."
The kindness was so touching. Not just what was offered me, but what was extended to H as he walked the room at the end of the council to shake each man's hand. It was the piece of this whole disciplinary thing that I wanted to experience. I told H before we left the house Sunday morning one of my reasons for wanting to experience the whole process with him was so that I could feel that sweet piece of kindness and brotherhood. I would need to know it for those rough days that are surely to come. I would then be able to remind him of the good, of the love and acceptance, of the compassion. I would be able to remind myself too.
H managed the whole experience fairly well. He's brought up a couple times in the past 24 hours how heavy the outcome has been on his heart. He said he knew it would be hard, he just didn't expect the loss to feel so deep.
Now we go forward. Me a member, H not. We start over. H gets a second chance. Its good for him. A new beginning. An opportunity to make right years of ugly wrongs. One day he'll come to the Lord cleaned of all of this. It is such a wonderful gift God gives to his children. The Lord will remember no more.
I'm trying to find the words for a wife to hold to in this whole thing. I do remember. It isn't that I can't get it off my mind. It is more that the effects of repeated trauma follow me. It makes me mindful of behaviors or words that might indicate a return to old behaviors. I need to be aware of signals and clues. I never want to go back to this anymore -- back to more pain, to more infidelity. I have had enough.
For H, the prodigal son has returned, he's welcomed with open arms. As it should be. Wondering souls need love and acceptance so very badly. They need hands to hold as the walk the rocky mountainous path back to full fellowship. So many people will sit with H's pain as he walks from the dark back into the light.
But what about the wife? As the husband is worked back into the fold, counseled with, visited, encouraged, challenged, the wife is in the background. Parts of that are a little sticky in my mind right now.
Will re-baptism clean up all the ugliness that landed on her?
Please don't read bitterness in this. I am not in anyway bitter. I am so very relieved to watch H willingly go through this very humbling process. With all my heart I want him to feel the Savior's love and know his own worth and to know he is not his mistakes.
I'm just looking for words to sink myself in to for the wife's part. I need a book on this. I've got tons on addiction and betrayal trauma. Each one has been so helpful. Is there not anything to help me with this spiritual side? Hasn't some amazing LDS writer written on healing a wife damaged by her husband's sexual addiction? I need one on that topic.
I'm grateful for time to work on processing my part of it. To work to apply the Atonement for each of the different levels of this trial. Working back from excommunication takes time. At least a year before re-baptism and at least another year before the First Presidency can be petitioned for a restoral of blessings.
Time will be our friend.
Prayers will be more constant as this phase brings on a new set of tests.
Please help me Father to trust your plan and to have the ability to thwart the Adversary as he works on me and H to keep him from returning to Thee.