Sunday, June 7, 2009
Yesterday my sister-in-law Angie made lifetime at Weight Watchers! We had a little "Girl's Night Out" to celebrate (and to help her pass the time while Jim is in Kenya).
By the way, all reports from Kenya are good. One guy in their group got dehydrated and had to be taken to the medical clinic in the little village but he's fine now. My friend Natalie was without her luggage for a day or so but it caught up with her. It sounds like everyone else is doing fine. They will be home next Sunday. In the meantime, Angie is staying busy. She finished teaching her summer class last week. This week they have Vacation Bible School in the mornings at church. Friday night we have Vacation Bible School commencement. Saturday she is planning another girl's night out... although I will probably be picking up Austin that day.
Yesterday we went to Vanessa's house for games. Vanessa is a lady who goes to our church - she has an amazing home! Their basement is the total gameroom... has a kitchen... pool table... big game table... cozy den for watching movies... it's really nice. I think I've decided that once Austin graduates I'm going to just move between our church members... every house I've been to has been roomy and beautiful! We played games like Taboo for a couple of hours... and had a really good time. We thought maybe we were boring, just hanging out playing games but I'm telling you... it was sooo fun!
We went out to dinner at Outback Steakhouse... were able to get a table right away... had a sweet waitress... the food was awesome... it was a really good time.
There was one aspect of the evening that was really uncomfortable for me. In our group was a lady whose husband had just left her for another woman. Her son chose to be with the father. She moved into a duplex (ironically, the one directly behind me - she's my neighbor!) and left behind the home she had. The uncomfortable part for me was that she is sooooo angry and soooo bitter and every topic we had would seque into some sordid tale about her husband and his dirty deeds. It made me uncomfortable because I get it. I know that hurt. I know what it's like to be so consumed with hurt and anger that it's the ONLY thing you can think about. It made me uncomfortable because I don't want to get sucked back into a "men are pigs" mentality - I don't want to share war stories. I don't want to have to remember enough to feel those feelings again. I just didn't want to go there.
The problem with that is that I have promised God that I will share my story in His way, in His time and whenever He leads me to. I've worked hard to spare the details of my story. When I talk about Michael lately, it's usually in sharing some of the fun times we had, the jokes we shared, things like that. I try so hard not to focus on the bad stuff, for my own health and well-being.
I listened to this lady the whole way down to dinner.... during dinner... on the way back... and finally I said, "You know, you'll feel a lot better when you can get to the point where you can forgive him and when you can forgive her". "I'LL NEVER FORGIVE HIM AS LONG AS HE HAS MY CHILD" Admittedly, I didn't lose children in the wake of splitting up with Michael. Not my children, anyways. It breaks my heart still - and always will - to no longer be a mommy to Bobby or a step-monster to Stephen. I bonded with them. I invested in their lives. But they are not children I gave birth to, so I don't know how I'd feel. Well... I know a little bit... I've been separated from my kids when I wasn't ready for them to be out of the nest.
Very gently - I hope - I told her that bitterness is a cancer that destroys it's host. I told her that forgiveness is the greatest freedom she could ever earn. Every time I start to feel the anger again, every time I start to feel the hurt or disappointment again, I take it to God. I pray His mercy over Michael. I pray that God will prosper Michael, help him be a good dad to Bobby (and Stephen). I pray that Michael will one day understand how deeply I loved him and that he will one day realize the potential we had together. I pray that Andrea will find the things she was looking for by leaving dean. I pray for her children. I give God all my anger and hurt. It's His to use as He needs. I need to remember so that I can be empathetic to others but I need to be victorious to the extent that I can continue to function. It is a process. It takes work. I spend a lot of time saying, "this anger isn't mine. I have to let it go. what Michael did, he did to the Lord, not to me" (because the bible says that whatever you have done to the least of my children, this you have done to me). I have to say, "God had a plan for me... He moved me into a place where I could best impact His kingdom. This is no accident of fate. I am where I'm supposed to be".
I also told her... that she is in the process of "going through" and that there CAN be a day where she will see this as a time of personal growth. CAN... it takes work. Not everyone who comes through a marital catastrophe comes out stronger. Some come out of it crippled by bitterness. The great thing is that you get to choose for yourself what your outcome will be.
At some point during the conversation, my situation came up... the fact that I went from the hospital to the stress of packing up our lives and moving and having to find a job and a place to live in a very short time. The fact that my brother came to get me. The fear that I wouldn't survive if I stayed. We didn't share a lot of details. I don't think that's the point any more. The truth is that the end of a marriage, regardless of circumstances, is heartbreaking and devastating. The only degrees of devastation are relative. The worst thing that happens to you is your worst thing, regardless of how bad my worst thing is. The thing that matters is that you can survive the end of a marriage without bitterness.
This lady lives, as I said, LITERALLY in my backyard. I can see her kitchen window from my kitchen window. I believe that God worked things this way. It makes me a little nervous because I understand that this means that God believes that I'm strong enough to help someone else on their journey. I'm typing this with tears in my eyes... the kind of tears I always get during transitions such as the first day of school... I realize that God is telling me that I'm graduating to a new stage... I'm no longer the destroyed, desperate ex-wife.... I'm the girl who survived to be able to help others.
Time to get ready for church. Love and hugs, y'all!
Posted by Heather at 7:50 AM