The ABC’s of Me
Everyone has a turning point in his or her life. Be it painful or joyful, there is usually something that happens that will forever be known as the marker for "before" and "after." Maybe it's as simple as having children or getting married, graduating college or getting that first job. For me it was my first husband, Michael.
I could say that it was the divorce. But to be honest, it wasn't just the divorce that scarred me, that made me forever changed. It was the whole marriage from whirlwind beginning to unbelievably painful end. Looking back, I can see the person I was change from the moment we met. And while I wouldn't wish it on my worst enemy, I wouldn't change one moment.
I met him when I was 24. I was two years out of college, living with a friend, enjoying teaching in my first classroom. I was in the process of finding out who I was and what I wanted out of life. I was in the throes of an eating disorder, making bad choices at every turn, and finding my validation through both. He arrived on the back of a motorcycle, full of charm, and I was proverbial "toast."
Our marriage lasted seven years. Outside of the unusual circumstances of our split, it was not foundationally a good marriage. There were communication issues and trust issues, compounded by a lack of spiritual foundation. On top of that were the huge issues of cheating (on our marriage and the federal government), pathological lying, and serious differences in child rearing. Oh yeah, and going to prison. Looking back, there was so much deceit that it would be comical that I didn't notice if it weren't so tragic.
After the divorce, I was left a single mother, destitute...no job, no child support. By the grace of God and my wonderfully supportive parents, we did not end up on the street. We lived in government subsidized housing, became the needy family for a Catholic church, and relied on others for our basic needs. We were all left emotionally damaged, and even more so when he one day disappeared.
That was eleven years ago. Since then, I have remarried and rebuilt my life. God sent us an amazing man in my husband, Daryl, and we have built our life on a mutual faith in Jesus Christ. My son has gotten back in touch with Michael, and they are forging a new relationship, with Josh as an adult. I have yet to meet with him face to face, but have emailed him.
It is easy to forgive him when I don't have to deal with him, see him. Now that seeing him is a very real possibility, I realize that I have not totally forgiven him, and certainly not forgotten. I fear this future encounter probably more than anything I have in a while, but know that this too....just as the seven years of my first marriage and the eleven years in between...will be used for my good, and God's glory.