When I answered the phone he said, “I’m sorry. Please forgive me.”
His voice and his words brought back a flood of memories and emotions. It had been three years. When we met I was working on temporary assignment in California. We had a wonderful two weeks. We said goodbye at the airport with the promise of an upcoming summer visit. All plans were final for our next adventure and I was so excited. He would pick me up at the airport at the appointed time and we would continue to explore our budding relationship.
At the appointed time, he wasn’t there. He didn’t come. He didn’t answered his phone. I was stranded. Finally after my fifth distress message stating that I had no place to go and it was after midnight, he came but with no explanation dressed in a cold behavior. I was in shock. And I was silent.
He let me stay the night at his home and then deposited me at the home of the only other person I knew in the city. Her family took me in and showered me with tender mercies.
I didn’t think about the expense of the plane ticket and the new wardrobe until I was safely back at home in Dallas. With each new garment I unpacked, feelings of betrayal, pain, confusion, anger, disappointment and shame seemed to be the accessories.
For months I pretended to be okay when I wasn’t. My pride wouldn’t let me share the details of my pain with my friends. They just loved me through what they didn’t understand until I could take off my mask and be vulnerable. The truth after the fact revealed that he was separated and not divorced. He wanted to restore his marriage because he loved his wife and son. The truth was that he lied to me. The truth was, I believed him.
I couldn’t heal because of my pent-up anger. I was angry with him and I was angry with me. I knew my anger was explosive and destructive when it came out so I kept it pushed deep down inside. However, without its release the entire experience festered. I was on my way to becoming a bitter woman.
When I was able to step back and separate these disappointing circumstances from who I was, it became clear that forgiveness was strategic to my healing. But forgiveness was more than a word. It was hard because it had to be intentional and voluntary.
However I learned that forgiveness is powerful; it can keep you from falling. Forgiveness can reposition you. Forgiveness makes room for compassion and empathy for the one who hurt you. Forgiveness allows us to accept and be accepted for our human frailty.
I realized I had met a man who had no idea how to fix an overwhelming problem in his life, his marriage. He met me and I became a distraction and perhaps a chance to practice doing right what he had been doing wrong. And it worked. I loved the way he treated me to the extent that I began to expect and want more. I wanted the words and the actions to be true.
It was messy, however in time forgiveness triumphed. So when the phone rang I was gracious. I spoke from a new place of worthiness. I said, “I forgive you.”
I invite you to join the conversation. Take your seat at the table. This is your place. Like and give the gift of your comments about this blog by sharing it with someone special.Until next time, remember,
You are not alone.
You are not your circumstances.
You have everything within you to live a purpose-filled life.