Friday, September 28, 2012

Playing With Fire

My heart hurts this morning.

I see things.  I read them or hear them.  And they break my heart.

You cannot understand this pain if you cannot relate to it.

I can relate to it.

Playing with fire, as we should all know, is extremely dangerous.

You could get too close and get burned.

One spark is all it takes to set you ablaze.  It can attach anywhere.  To your clothing, your shoes, or your hair.  And once that spark hits, it quickly spreads until it covers you.

And you are left burnt, skinned stripped away by the fire, and in excruciating pain.

I can only remember a handful of times really burning myself, physically.  Once, I went to pull a pan from the oven and rested that fleshy part of my hand between my thumb and first finger, against the rack in the oven.  It took what seemed like moments to feel the burn, but once I did, it hurt.  The pain was excruciating.  I don't even remember what I was baking or if I managed to get it onto a cooling rack without dropping it on the floor.  All I remember is the pain and the way it felt, as if fire was seering me down to the bone.  I ran my hand under cold water for a long time, waiting for the throbbing and pain to subside.  I put medication on it, to try to soothe and cool it down.  It blistered and it hurt for days.  And it eventually turned into a scar.

Burns hurt.

And when you play with fire, you are going to get burned.

Maybe not the first time.

Or the second.

Or even the 50th.

But at some point, the fire will rage out of control.  Very likely, before you even realize it has happened.

You can be careful around fire.  You can take precautions so that you do not get burned.

But as human beings, on the whole, we're idiots.  We throw caution to the wind and jump headlong into the fire, either not caring or not understanding the true implications of the fire's power.

For some, it starts out fast and furious.  They see fire and they love fire.  And so they play, unhindered.  They have no qualms, no worries about getting burned.  They prefer to live life recklessly, and worry about the damages later.

For me, it was slow.  What started out as a spark, eventually kept building until I was swallowed up by the fire.

Please hear me.

If you are feeling lost, or hurt, or alone, especially in your marriage, DO NOT PLAY WITH FIRE.

Don't even look at fire.

Don't think "Oh one little spark won't hurt me."  Because once a spark begins, it is quickly stoked and overtaken and the fire becomes an uncontrollable fury.

This happened with me.  I didn't wake up one morning and decide "I think I'll have an affair today."

It happened after months of playing with fire.  After months of tossing a little spark back and forth in my hands.  For me, I was tired of trying to "make" my marriage work.  I was tired of praying that my husband would overcome his struggle with lust and addiction to pornography, and feeling as if for five years those prayers fell on deaf ears.

The spark came in the form of another man who I had become close friends with.  I've always connected better with men.  Perhaps it's because in general, I don't like women.  They are too catty, and either they annoy me, or I can't deal with their crazy emotions.  It's hard enough dealing with my own on a daily basis.  At first, my friendship with this other man seemed no different than any of my other friendships.

I believe that in the beginning, my intentions were pure.  He was funny.  I was funny.  We just got along really well.  He was fun to be around.  I liked his whole family.  We were all friends.  If you had told me back then what my life would become because of that ONE friendship, I would never have believed you.

I was never going to be one of "those" women.  The women who cheat on their husbands.  I couldn't understand how they could do it, and would never let myself make those kind of horrible decisions.  This was my view at the time.  Because I was stupid.  And I didn't understand sin and the danger of playing with fire as I do now.

I can remember very clearly when I started playing with fire.  Even though I knew I shouldn't have.  But because I told myself "we're just friends" it felt safe.  I believed that I was in control of myself and there was nothing to worry about.  Foolish thinking, in retrospective, but hindsight's always 20-20.

An email here and there to confirm plans for our family was not the problem.

The problem was the emails here and there between just the two of us.

Innocent enough at first.  But then, though I can't remember how I wound up with his cell number, the texting began.  All still innocent.  But there was something in me that told me that this probably wasn't a good idea.  And when I began feeling like I probably shouldn't tell Kris that I was texting this man, it should have been my first indicator that I had picked up a spark from a very dangerous fire.

When the emails became lengthier and became more personal, I responded in kind.  After all, I didn't have very many friends, and I still stupidly (at the age of 25) believed that no harm would come from them.  And yet, I felt a need to hide the fact that I was corresponding so frequently with this other man.

One day, weeks before my 5th wedding anniversary, I was out at Target, shopping.  I received a text from this man, and told him what I was up to.  He casually suggested meeting over at a local grocery store and buying me a root beer.  I weighed it over in my mind.  It felt wrong somehow.  And yet, there was something alluring about it.  I found that I wanted to be a little risky, and do something fun, so I asked when and where.

We met at the grocery store and just sat across from one another talking, drinking root beer.  The fear and anxiety I felt at being seen with him should have been enough to show me that this was probably very inappropriate.  But, he was older than I was, and perhaps I was just naive.  Perhaps there was really nothing wrong with two friends just sitting and talking.  But something in me told me that I was likely playing with fire when I probably shouldn't be.

And if you have read my other posts, you can see how just one spark can lead to almost a decade of burning in the fires of an affair.

Mama’s Losin’ It


  1. Your honesty in this post is so compelling. The imagery of fire and playing with fire is so very true. Whether it's "I can handle just one drink" or starting with inappropriate text messages, you are right. When the warning whispers start to go through your mind, Stop.

    1. Absolutely! Those "warning whispers" are the Holy Spirit's way of trying to get us to pay attention and be on guard. I am well aware of that now that I am living in the light.