Magnet and Steel

In his 1978 hit, Walter Egan sang “With you I’m not shy/to show the way I feel/with you I might try, my secrets to reveal/for you are a magnet and I am steel.” Egan may have been singing about romantic love, but as I reflect on my experience with holding onto secrets, I realize the concept of magnet and steel — two materials that make a powerful force of connection when they meet — holds a much deeper truth.

For over a decade, I believed I was the only Catholic woman in the universe to have an abortion and hid behind a cloak of shame, never guessing that I actually have a lot of company (did I mention I had a flair for exaggeration?).

It started when I stepped out of the private little world I had kept for myself for eleven years by attending a Project Rachel retreat (Ten Year Anniversary Blog). Because of their admonition to keep my experience to myself, I held tightly to my secret back at home, even — and especially — with my closest friends.

I had (and continue to have) wonderful girlfriends. Like me, many of them were practicing Catholics at the time. I knew them from grade school, college, work, my children’s schools, and church. Once I became a parent, I didn’t see them as much as I had in earlier days; my children took top priority. As my marriage fell apart, I realized that the marriage counselor we were seeing was only trying to save the marriage. I needed my own therapist, one who would help me save me. I went out and found one.

It was with this therapist’s advice that I began to share with my best girlfriends the biggest secret of my marriage. Despite the closeness and intimacy we had as we held each other through the births of children, the deaths of several pets, and the ups and downs of marriage, I had never shared with them the truth: My first pregnancy had ended with abortion.

The first friend I shared my secret with had worked for my husband for many years, even commuted with him to work for two hours every day. Logic would dictate that she be one of the last people I have this conversation with, not the first, yet my intuition said she was the one.

With great anxiety and fear, I told her the truth of my marriage, all of it, the good, the bad, and the downright ugly. To my utter shock, when I was finished, she told me she wasn’t surprised. She cried as I cried, and told me she loved me.

My friend’s understanding and sensitivity made sharing my story with my other friends a little less difficult. As I began to open my heart, to expose the real me to my circle of friends, I discovered I had attracted women who were just like me. The statistics are that one in every three women by the age of forty-five has had an abortion. For my circle, it was twice the national average. Talk about a magnet and steel!

I am forever grateful to the therapist who gave me the homework assignment to reveal my secrets. We are not alone in more ways than we realize. Taking that one step began a journey of transformation from shame and despair into freedom and peace. 

Perhaps you can find that one person and “show the way you feel, your secrets to reveal.” On the other side of the door where your secret lies trapped is a lighter and brighter you. 

And check out the song I’ve dated myself with here (Walter Egan with Stevie Nicks) The idea of two metals attracting may be a message you’ll always remember and give you the fortitude you need to take that first step towards freedom.


1 comment:

  1. Beautiful Christina. Thank you for sharing your heart so freely and supporting others in doing the same and reminding them that they are not alone. <3