One of a Thousand Paper Cuts
"We will love each other well in church this morning." What a kind expression, unbidden and so welcome from my recently separated husband and best friend. Something a man of integrity would say. A true man of integrity would then follow through on that commitment. He would not interrupt a conversation as church was starting to say he'd decided this is the Sunday he will leave me to sit by myself. Epic failure on his part. Epic meltdown on my part.
I tried to hold it together but had to leave the service so I wouldn't cause a scene with my sobbing. Oh boy. I intend to have a loving separation. At this moment though, love is NOT easy. Right now, I want to run, to ignore, to wound, to shame. He's a smarter man than this. What I know is that I want to dash out of here. I'm in no state to socialize and I don't want to face him. Let him feel bad.
The note above is what I wrote on my church bulletin to try to distract myself from the torrent of tears that would not stop. Drinking tea didn't stop them. Holding Helen's hand didn't stop them. Sadly, writing didn't stop them either. As the service ended and we stood to sing the Peace song, I made my way out of church. For the first time since I became a member, I did not want to hug anyone. I scurried to my car, quickly jumped in, and let my sobs take over. I felt alone. I felt abandoned. I felt embarrassed. I felt angry.
Take that Mr. Cook. I hope YOU feel embarrassed. I hope you feel rotten. I hope you try to call me. I hope you try to text me. I hope you try to find me. I will ignore you and let you suffer in the shame of knowing you screwed up.
Thank God for distance and space and time to cry. Thank God for the walking path behind the Y and a coat with a hood so people didn't really see my face. Thank God for my sister who let me grieve and gently reminded me that this is part of the separation process. Yes, it hurts. Yes, it's normal. Yes, it will get better. And, yes, it's maybe even good to get a kick in the ass to motivate me to pack up my stuff before moving next week.
He did eventually text and I remained mute. I finally drove home in the late afternoon, and the floodgates opened again as I neared the house. He approached me and I agreed to talk. He asked me to share my experience and my pain so that's what I did. He clearly felt bad. He knew he had really messed up. He apologized. He confessed that he had gotten flooded and wasn't thinking straight. He promised to be more careful.
Now I am dry eyed. I am tired and ready for sleep. I am thinking again about integrity. Is it enough that he could see his failure? That he apologized?
And what of my integrity? What do I require of myself? Earlier I stated that my intention is to have a loving separation. What I require of myself is love. Love means understanding that he did not intend to hurt me. Love means having compassion for this man who is also overwhelmed and hurting, even if he doesn't often show it. Love means recognizing that I will screw up too. I guess then that love means forgiveness.
Tonight I choose forgiveness. I choose love. I choose integrity.