“We might have just gone and had one look at it, Ratty – only one look – it was close by – but you wouldn’t turn back, Ratty, you wouldn’t turn back! O dear, O dear.”
[Extract from Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame]
These words, taken from one of my favourite books, were said by Mole to his dear friend Rat, after Rat, pushing ahead to get home, ignored the pleas of Mole to stop and take a look at his old home.
I was reminded strongly of this particular passage last weekend, when having made a decision, following much reflection, to direct my development outwardly, I was able to be present with the pain and anguish of my wife in respect of some difficulties, the origins of which are firmly in the past.
Like Rat, I have in recent years, come to terms with my past suffering, and I have been reluctant to engage with it from the perspective of others.
In my current phase of development, like Ratty with Mole, I turned back and inquired of my wife what was causing her so much hurt.
I noticed how calm I was, as I asked her the question, sitting directly opposite her as her words of anguish about our current situation, brought about by a feeling that she had lacked my support during difficult phases of our children s upbringing were punctuated with intense emotion.
I held onto her arms and looked into her tear filled eyes and acknowledged her pain, I accepted its truth without trying to explain it or give my version of the events which she related, I just nodded and soothed to say that it was good that these feelings had at last surfaced between us in this way.
We held each other close, and we remained silent for a while, before making preparation to go out for the evening with friends.
I was not crushed by her feelings as I feared that I would be, I felt a deep compassion for her which I hope will never leave me.
Like Ratty and Mole, perhaps in being honest and open with our feelings, especially our feelings about the past, we will be able to move forward to a present which is filled with the promise of a more loving and supportive future.
My next blog will be: “You Must be Very Proud”