As I had mentioned in my post yesterday, during the journey we reach a point of facing a fear. Mine was personally apologizing to someone, and the fear was rejection. Few people, including yours truly, can graciously accept an apology and say “accepted and forgiven”. We feel the need to delve into more, perhaps rub salt in the wound or flat out just reject the person. And my fear was the rejection and a healthy dose of salt, so when I opened the mailbox today that is exactly what I initially felt I had received.
The letter writer has reason to still have ill feelings, as I did indeed say some very mean and hurtful things. I admit I was going for the heart in the things I so often said and posted, and it would seem I was an over achiever when I posted them. And I was wrong, as I said in my apology. It wasn’t about being vindicated, and I certainly did not feel persecuted. I simply reached that place where it was time to apologize. I knew there was not going to be any reconciliation, I got back exactly what I had expected.
The writer asked a series of questions. At first I wanted to take them as pure salt in the wounds, but then one thing I had always loved about this friend was her ability to ask questions that made me stop and think, deep introspection of me. So, instead of seeing it on the knee jerk side, I’m choosing to believe that despite her words she isn’t attacking, but that underneath she does care. And as she has requested I no longer send things to her, I will answer them here.
I do find it interesting that I just answered, in some ways, many of these yesterday in my blog post about the Brave Journey, before receiving her letter. Perhaps this is God’s way of confirming those very things I’ve been addressing.
*Are you really happy with your life?
Over all, yes I am happy. No one has a perfect existence and never will. Every day things spontaneously erupt in our lives, both good and bad, but it is how we choose to react that counts. We choose to be happy, or angry, and 95% of the time my choice is to be happy. My life is full of laughter and good times. No, getting divorced was not a fun thing to go through. I was very hurt and often lashed out in irrational ways at many around me. But while hurt, I was also happy, and found fun and good in my life. Now, more than ever, I am happy with my life. I see now that some of the bad was direct or indirect consequences of my own choices and actions, and other providences were meant to bring me to where I am now.
*Do you ever stop and think, “what if I’d been a better friend, wife, mother, daughter?”
Yes, I do stop and think that. And I have often seen where I fall very short of being the perfect version of any of those. I cannot fix the sins of my past, only work in the present and toward the future of being the very best version of those and countless other hats I wear in life.
*If you could go back, would you do things differently?
Tough question, as I have to assume that you mean IF I could take back what I know now, so that I could change the outcome. And I honestly do not know that I’d do much if anything any differently. I’m in a different place now than at any given moment in the past. We’re all on a journey toward eternity, and everything we do causes ripples in the pond. Sometimes things we do that were meant for evil, God uses specifically for good in another’s life. And the bad others do He uses for good in my own. Part of growing, however painful it has been, has come from making the very mistakes that bring me to who I am now. This woman I am now is far better for having made the mistakes that I did.
*Did you really believe you were the airbrushed photos of yourself?
That truly is an odd question to come up when I was apologizing for being so hateful but I’ll gladly answer it. Um no, I knew more than anyone else what my flaws were and still are to this day. Airbrushed photos were fantasy stuff and that was all. No different from what is published in Playboy, just fun, fantasy photos. I enjoyed them, but I knew that I had imperfections as did everyone else. I guess they bothered you as you are still bringing them up now, 7 or 8 years later? If they caused a problem for you then certainly I apologize for that as well.
*How did your choices lead you to where you are now?
Many choices brought me here. The first and largest was the choice to allow myself to be talked into the swinger lifestyle. I believe it tore the very fabric of my marriage apart. My choices of that, and to be open about it, and the photos being published all contributed to my failed marriage and my losing my job after 26 years. I went from a life as a deacon’s wife serving God in a great church, to unemployed and soon after divorced and way off the path toward Christ.
After that, many choices I made during the first 3 years of my after-divorce life were also poor ones that very nearly cost me my relationship with my kids. My dating a 1%er and being an old lady to a motorcycle club member was NOT one of my better choices. I went through a very self-destructive time, all of my own choosing.
Where I am now came from all of that. Now I know where my true value is, not in photos, or a sinful lifestyle, or being anyone’s wife, girlfriend etc. My value is 100% in the death and resurrection of Christ, paying for all of the sins I have and will commit in my life. My value is in the shed blood that makes me a daughter of God, true royalty, and the soul that God sees through that blood that is perfect because of that blood. My choices make me appreciate so much more what was done on that cross to save my worthless soul.
*Do you have people you consider real friends?
Yes, I do have a small, select group of individuals who I consider real friends and who consider me a friend as well. They know my weaknesses, my darkest secrets, my greatest sorrows and regrets, as well as my highest moments, greatest joys and the love we have is deep and true for each other.
*In the middle of the night? Could you pick up the phone and have someone there for you?
Yes, and I have made that call in the past few years, more than once. And the calls were answered and I had the support, guidance and love that was needed at those moments.
*Would you answer the phone if someone called you?
Yes. If you are in need, give it a try sometime.
*Why do all of your relationships fail?
Poor choices for one. Motorcycle club members that qualify as gang members by police standards, do not make for a good match. I broke that one off.
The control freak, yeah that didn’t go so well, he broke that off because I wasn’t one that is easy to control.
Mr. Wonderful, well he left out a really important detail when we were dating, see he was still married and that is why that one failed. Once I uncovered that piece of information I ended things. We’re the best of friends now but that is why that relationship failed.
Then there was Pat, my Knight, who I lived with for a year until a year ago. That didn’t fail, I ended it. I was back in church and struggling with living in sin. We both knew what we were doing was wrong, but I also didn’t want to be married. I didn’t want to be a step mom as hard as I tried to be a good one. I made the choice to end that and moved back to Cincinnati.
Most recently there was the Badge. My son-in-law had done some research and warned me about him. At first it was a great relationship but it was built completely on lies. Lies about his family relationships, lies about how many times he was married, pretty much the only thing he did not lie about was his name. He put up a great show, going to church and respecting my no sex til married criteria. But when the lies unraveled and the truth started to surface, I ended that one as well.
So, they didn’t fail, some the guy ended, but the most significant ones I put an end too because they were not at all right. That isn’t failure in my opinion, just ending something that simply was all wrong.
*HOW CAN YOU MAKE A DIFFERENCE?
First, by making sure that all things in my life line up with the guideline of who I know I am in Christ. There are still things in my life undergoing change, but I’m not the person you knew before. Not who I was even a year ago. I am more prayerful about choices that need to be made, I try hard to put myself in the other person’s shoes. I’m far more other oriented than I’ve ever been.
I do not believe for one minute that the writer does not care good, bad or indifferent. If I had ceased to exist she’d not have bothered to reply, let alone put so much into the reply. I DO think she cares, deep down, but will never admit it. That is okay, she is still on my lips often in prayer, and always will be. I make a choice to do so.