Thursday, November 03, 2005

Chutes and Ladders

They want me to help them through their own process of disillusionment.

That's all I can think of for why yet another of my ex-husband's friends has come knocking. Something has happened to cause them all to question their comfortable beliefs about how the divorce (and the marriage) went down and now they're coming back to apologize. But they want more than that, because they want to meet with me. I was always the maternal figure in the group since I was the only wife that participated in the boys' activities on a regular basis. I liked that role: doling out advice, giving female perspective, being friends with guys without sexual tension. So, now I think that they are coming back to me for the same succor.

It's not fair! This is not the time in my life for this. How do they know I'm home? I'm am supposed to be missing Jeff and setting up house in my new apartment, figuring out public transit and my new neighborhood, learning about my new roommate and my brother's girlfriend and being excited about my new job. Instead, I wake up in the mornings thinking about Dennis and reliving betrayal.

I was past this! I had moved on. Dennis occurred to me only every once in awhile. I was starting to tell fond stories of him to friends that had never met him because it didn't hurt to tell them anymore. Harreld told me before I left the island that at first, he thought that I had lived through some unmitigated hell being married to Dennis, but as time went on I did a good job of humanizing him as I talked about him.

It's like I'm back in unmitigated hell. I'm having to relive the betrayal that I felt when his friends left me behind, most without saying good-bye. I'm having to anticipate reliving Dennis' actual betrayal in the conversations that I have with these friends because Dennis absolutely lied to them about the situation.

It's so complicated because I have chosen to keep much of the ugly truth to myself, rather than release it in a wave of vindictiveness. I realized early on in the divorce that although an itch would be scratched by doing so, being the person who disillusioned those friends about Dennis would only make life harder for me and prolong healing.

So, here I am, like Chutes and Ladders, back at the point of having to make that decision again of whether to keep what I know to myself or whether they are actually asking me for it. And, I can't make that decision until I actually engage with them. So, I wait, a little shaky with adrenaline.

I've been assured by my mother, my brother and by Susan that I don't have to do this. But I do. It is an opportunity for closure. If I am truly committed to healing, I have to wade into fear, hurt and uncertainty. Hopefully, I will come out of the other side of the river just a little cleaner. I have to open the wounds a little bit to let the pus out. Otherwise, that poison will live with me, even if I have it blocked off in the name of "moving on."

I believe that God is here in this situation. Really, now is the best time to be doing this. Sure, I think that I would rather be focusing on something else, but in a week, I'll have a challenging job to focus on. Right now, I have the time and flexible schedule to make room for this. I can spend hours on the email, crafting messages that say just what I want them to say so that I don't say anything rash or easily misunderstood. I have the time to recover from the adrenaline rush and shaky inside feelings that come on when a new email address shows up in my inbox. I can plan coffee in places where I can fly back to arms that love me if it goes badly. Coincidences are rarely coincidences. They are usually an opportunity presented by God for us to exercise our free will in following His commandment to love others as we, ourselves have been loved. And we, ourselves, have been forgiven.

My mother would like to tear all of their eyes out. She said so to me the other day. I completely respect that. That is her prerogative as a mother and that primacy has its own rules. But I told her that she wouldn't have to live my life when she was done. If I miss this opportunity to forgive and to help others through their own betrayal by my ex-husband, I will have to live with myself in the long run and that will be much harder than any shaky insides and tears that I have to live through now.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I think your theology is right on. I'll join you in praying for this opportunity. "They are usually an opportunity presented by God for us to exercise our free will in following His commandment to love others as we, ourselves have been loved."
Love, the dad