22: The Protector and symbolism

Someone sent me a letter that had one of the best quotes I’ve ever read. It said “What is to give light must endure burning.” It’s by a writer named Viktor Frankl. I’ve been turning that quote over and over in my head. The truth of it is absolutely awe-inspiring. In the end, I believe it’s why we all suffer. It’s the meaning we all look for behind the tragedies in our lives. The pain deepens us, burns away our impurities and petty selfishness. It makes us capable of empathy and sympathy. It makes us capable of love. The pain is the fire that allows us to rise from the ashes of what we were, and more fully realize what we can become. When you can step back and see the beauty of the process, it’s amazing beyond words.

Damien Echols, Life After Death

One of the first gifts my xp gave me was a painting of a raven, with a heartfelt inscription on the frame.

It is a prized possession.

And like so much of our relationship it is full of mythology. I know she loved me. I know this is the most generous thing she could offer me. I know she never did this for another man. She paints with her soul and she was giving me her heart.

She entitled it, The Protector.


But after she sent me away she returned the painting to me but only after she removed the passionate inscription on the back.

More symbolism. Removing the inscription was a message from her to me: I mean nothing to her. One more way to deny our history. She has a new Protector and it will never be me.

Although crushed, it’s for the best. I want a Partner that will fight for us even if it is unskillfully. If I am being honest, somewhere along the line I realized she would never fight for us. We both saw this as my job, not hers.

There has never been a doubt I would protect her and Us even if it is unskillful. I took my role of Protector seriously. I took it serious enough to sell my integrity when I made a bad decision instead of asking for help and forgiveness. Even when I was betraying my life I never saw her as the option. I always belonged to her.

Always…but Heroes are expendable. When it was hard she left and never looked back.

I’m done being anyone’s Hero. I’ve paid my dues. I want to be a King to a Queen. I’m not disposable. It is her loss.

I’ve been carrying this painting, this symbol, and this responsibility, for 13 months and like so much I have to let this painting go too. The painting has become a symbol of my failure, my loss, and my grieving.

Different symbolism but still symbolism.
Octavia Butler wrote in the Parable of the Talents, “In order to rise from its own ashes a phoenix first must burn.” As such, today, the first day of a new year, I gave the symbol to the Fire. Maybe something new can be created from the ashes. Maybe the raven will return but in a new form. A better form. A more true form.

We’ll see.


2 thoughts on “22: The Protector and symbolism

  1. There’s a lot of truth written here. You’ve been able to articulate some things I’ve never been able to put words to. I know burning that painting was difficult. May the symbolism and all that it represented finally set you free.

    1. Wanders – #Infidelity is an outcome of an unskillful coping mechanism, everything else is a story someone imagines. Sharing thoughts and letters with those the men and women that #betrayed their Loves, lives, and selves too. What you do today matters most. All anyone can do is own the experience and practice doing better.
      A Reformed Cad says:

      Thank you.

      It’s been a hard week. I picked up over the weekend and moved to Pittsburgh. The rumor is she is engaged and they are living together now.

      I cannot be far enough away from her now.