Today is one of those days in the year that puts me on eggshells.

Alive Days, angelversaries, Memorial Day, Fourth of July, Veterans Day, the day they deployed and 9/11… They are all hard for my husband. He can display any emotion from none (sleeping the pain away) to angry at the world to breaking down in tears to stoic and silent. Until I can determine what type of day (or week or month) it is going to be, I am on eggshells. Waiting for the shoe to drop. Some years it never does. This year there was a moderate angry out burst.

Gracie, our 8 month old chocolate Lab ate his glasses. The ones he JUST received from the VA after four months of waiting because of bureaucratic red tape. He is not eligible to get another pair from the VA for a year.

I see this as an unexpected expense that is unfortunate but he needs the glasses. He sees it as the final straw as far as Gracie goes. He wants me to rehome her. The constant destruction of things, the energy level (and no fence to contain her), the fact that she was a gift to us that we never should have accepted for a multitude of reasons starting with his declining health… He just can’t do it anymore. And I get it. It doesn’t make letting her go any easier for me.

So, you ask, if things are always in a state of flux and his temper can flare at any time – why do I stay?

I stay because he is broken. He doesn’t want to be. He doesn’t LIKE how he behaves in these moments. He gets no joy (or release or pleasure) in making me find a new home to our handful of a dog. And in his brokenness he elicits understanding and compassion and, yes, love from me that I never knew I was capable of.

My husband’s brokenness makes me a better person. The woman I used to be would have walked out without a backwards glance. The woman I am today works to understand, to love, to help him to be less broken.

“God rescues us by breaking us, by shattering our strength and wiping out our resistance.” –A. W. Tozer

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