Forgiveness


Forgiveness is not pretending like it didn’t happen or like it didn’t hurt. That’s called lying. Forgiveness is a decision to release a debt regardless of how you feel.   Tony Evans

Can I forgive M for leaving me the way he did?

Can I forgive M for leaving this world the way he did?

and even moreso, will I forgive M for leaving me the way he did and will I forgive him for leaving this world the way he did?

Right now I feel a bit like Susan in Miracle on 34th Street as she repeated, I believe, I believe, it’s silly, but I believe. I just keep repeating I forgive, I forgive, it’s hard, but I forgive. I now realize that one day it won’t be hard and that’s when I will truly be able to say Yes, I can and do forgive M for everything, and it will be a miracle on my street when that happens but until then… I forgive, I forgive, it’s hard, but I forgive.

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Mama Said There’d Be Days Like This


Three years ago I was driving an hour outside of town to bring you clothes. You were in an inpatient rehab center after an overdose. Two days later I was driving into Atlanta to meet your mom and Mr. B as they had an extended layover on their way back to Arizona. And I recall that the only thing I wanted for our anniversary two weeks later was to go see Boyce Avenue but realizing that wasn’t going to happen.

My i-calendar is full of birthdays and anniversaries and I wonder if I’m ready to start removing all the dates on my calendar that apply to you and your family. I know that eventually the calendar entries will become less of a reminder of what we shared and more of just a memory of a time that once was. I have to accept that the person I loved doesn’t exist anymore and therefore neither should these reminders.

I remember how I would replay the events of that week and try to piece it all together. My calendar is full of notes as I tried to sort it out. Fifty days ago I was coming home from Wednesday night service and stopped to bring you home one of your favorite hamburgers from a local restaurant. I was blissfully unaware that your friend B  just had a meltdown in the office of our pastor.

I was unaware that he was telling Pastor the events that had been going on between you and her. The way you asked him to lie for you, or as you told him, “be vague about the details.” You would send him graphic texts about what you and she had done and expect that he had your back, that he was your ‘boy’, that he would cover for you.

Personally, looking back at how you operated and orchestrated everything, I think you knew exactly what you were doing when you included B in your secret life. You knew that he would not keep this to himself. That he would break down and tell someone. You might have even expected that he would tell me, thus setting into motion what you imagined would be me screaming and yelling and asking for a divorce. But it didn’t play out that way. B told the Pastor, Pastor called you out on it, you told me and I offered you forgiveness.

I know you didn’t expect my response because before you told me the dirty details, you got some tissue and said, “you’re going to need this.” But unlike the story you played out in your head, I didn’t cry.  I told you that night not to mistake my lack of tears as a sign that I didn’t care but that you didn’t deserve my tears. Yup, you didn’t deserve my tears then and I’ve given you way too many in the 48 days that have followed. I can get through most days now with nary a sniffle and I’m thankful for that.

The lawyer just texted. He said that he will be meeting with you in two days to get the final payment from you. Today is not like most days.

Running Numbers


I gotta keep breathing. Because tomorrow the sun will rise. Who knows what the tide could bring? Tom Hanks, Castaway

I’ve been asked a lot of questions, and I ask a lot of questions myself. We had a joke for it when we were together – you said I was “running numbers.” Well, I’m running a lot of numbers lately, trying to figure things out and having moments of clarity accepting that there are things I will never know.

You left me to deal with our church family and our friends. When asked Where are you? I now reply “You have made some choices and decisions that mean you will not be around anymore.” For a period of time, I contemplated simply saying that you had an affair, you didn’t want to reconcile and we are getting a divorce. I struggled with trying to protect you and I don’t know why. You didn’t have an affair, you are having an affair…we are still married and you are still with her. There is no effort to show me how much you are sorry regardless of what you say.

What hurts the most, the fact that he said those things on D-day or that you are no longer his woman? This one took less time to answer than I expected. It really is a combination of both. In recent months, your actions were more cooled towards me. I attributed that to your extra work schedule and the stress you were under while working two jobs, albeit part-time jobs. I didn’t realize it was the stress of living a lie. One of my concerns that I shared directly with you was that you didn’t make me feel like I was a priority to you. If you wanted me to sit next to you at church, then you would have saved a spot for me, but you didn’t. You wouldn’t withhold affection, you would want to hold my hand, you wouldn’t walk three feet in front of me, you wouldn’t jump at the offer of a friend to go hang out and leave me at home. So hearing you say that there wasn’t a spark between us, that you weren’t “in love” with me, that there wasn’t anything in me worth fighting for would have only been words if they had not been validated by your actions. So what hurts is that your actions backed what you said and that’s why I can’t accept your apologies right now. They aren’t just words to me.

How are you? (Meaning me) Well, at this moment I am (insert assorted answers.) At any given moment I go through a range of emotions. I realize that I’m like the Georgia weather…don’t like it? Give it five minutes and it will change. One lesson you taught me is an old AA technique: if I don’t have a beer right now, I can have one in an hour. I’ve applied that technique a lot lately but sometimes I can’t wait an hour and I have to just get through the next minute. If I don’t cry right now, I can cry in a minute. And the next minute, if I don’t cry right now, I can cry in two minutes.

Why are you paying for the divorce? Well, I’m not paying for it, but I am paying half. And after that, I really don’t have a reason.

How can you forgive him? Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 (NIV)

How can you not hate him or her? Love… And I don’t mean my love for him, but rather the love of my Heavenly Father for me. ….And walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. Ephesians 5:2 (NIV)

Where is he going to live? I don’t know but yes, I do care. The Lord has blessed him with a great opportunity at a new job and whether he succeeds or fails is up to him.

Are you going to move back to Arizona? Tempting but no. I have created a life here that will go on even without him in my life. And now maybe I will be the one taking the opportunity for the one available ticket.

Now what? Well, I guess I will continue to rise up each morning and breathe in and out and pray that tomorrow will be a bit easier than today and I won’t have to remind myself to breathe.

Can you Repeat the Question?


It’s hard to ask why, but even harder to ask what now? 

Seeing you at our meeting with the lawyer last week was different than I expected. I really thought that the site of you might make my heart fall or leap, I wasn’t sure which, but I certainly thought that I would feel something. But when I arrived, you barely looked up from your phone. We made small talk and chatted about your new job. You were cold… and I realize that while I am heartbroken, you may very well be the one with a broken heart.

And yes, to answer your question that day… I did feel better repeatedly saying to the lawyer that you had an affair, and by repeatedly, I mean repeatedly. I now realize that it wasn’t nice and I’m sorry. You should know that I truly don’t hate you but my heart hurts because you don’t seem to care.

I remember telling you on D-day that I wished you would just tell me you hated me because then there would at least be some emotion, not just the blank stare and clenched jaw. This is going to end; nobody wins. There is no race to the finish to get the gold medal. In about 45 days we will no longer be husband and wife. In 47 days we would have been celebrating our anniversary.

Eleven years ago, what drew me to you was the way you “played” life. You had friends with whom you had fun and you were your own person. You know that one of our biggest compliments we had of each other was that we had our own friends-we were our own person. We were not each other’s half—we were two wholes who came together. We each had our own source of fulfillment that complimented the other.

Your friends have now lost you as fast as I did, but they don’t get the courtesy of a goodbye or a why and it’s hard for me to know what to tell them. You understand that the facts remain, you had an affair, you didn’t want to reconcile and we are getting divorced. But I don’t want to be calloused in my responses, I can’t, that’s not me…anymore.

Maybe when I was still resentful towards you at the way that life was not getting any easier. You were taking trips out of state to see family and trips to chaperone youth events and fishing trips with your buddies. I would get up and go to work everyday to make sure things ran smoothly here. So it was very frustrating to hear you say that the final tipping point for not wanting to reconcile was that one of the littlest family members said they didn’t remember what I looked like. You took that as a sign of disinterest on my part. The part you easily forgot was that only one ticket was available and any extra funds were used to make sure you had travel and spending money.

Nevertheless, my heart found forgiveness for you and for that situation and I think that prepared me on some level for what was to come just a year later. I do forgive you, I forgive her, but forgiveness is for my benefit not yours. It is what is allowing me to carry on each day and go to work. It is what is allowing me to maintain a civil relationship with you and to look you in the eye and say very honestly that I do wish you well. It is only by the grace of God and the prayers of many friends and family that hold my heart right now that I can ask the question… why? And it is only that same grace and those same prayers that help me to understand that I will never get the answer that satisfies my soul but still begs the question. Now, all I can do is ask the question, “what now?” and step out in faith that I will get that answer.