Well… it was cold last night for the third night in the row. I shivered under my quilt and blanket and tried to get warm. So after work today I dropped by the house to pick up some other blankets.
I picked up the envelope. Oh! His grandmother has written him a letter! I looked around for the letter that came from the envelope. I maybe shouldn’t have done that. But we both know I did read it and I would again.
His grandmother is a dear woman, I love her to death. She’s in her 90’s, she’s been a woman of faith for far longer than I’ve been alive. Her husband (long gone now) was an amazing man, a heart soft like oatmeal, a body that was once strong like steel. He was a farmer, and a man with a gentle spirit. In his later years he grew roses. Beautiful roses. He’d cry with you if you told him something that touched that big sweet heart of his, sometimes he’d cry hearing his favorite hymns. He treated her like the queen she was, she adored him. They were married a zillion years, no trace of bitterness ever showed when I met them in their later years. They were loving people, infinately loving and gentle and respectful of each other. He spoke to her so gently, with so much love in his voice. I don’t recall my man ever speaking to me that way. They were people who prayed first, then spoke, everything seasoned with grace. I love them both a great deal, respect them a great deal. He’s gone now, she remains. One of the best things about my husband was his grandparents on his Mom’s side.
Her words from the letter: (just excerpts as I doubt you care about her weather and garden report)
“I am having trouble finding reasons why (Artzy Lady) is acting as she does. I believe she’s hurting also. And this is her way of handling her hurt.”
“(Artzy Lady) was a Christian for a good many years and she won’t forget that. Someone is trying to convince her she is in the right. I will continue to keep you in my prayers.”
Yeah, the italics/bold thing is mine. I was (past tense) a Christian. That stung.
I have a variety of responses… one is that my eyes are leaking. Have been pretty much ever since I read this.
Clearly his family is getting the “poor wronged husband” routine from him. If he had moved out as he initially agreed, he wouldn’t have been able to play the victim. So the fact that I left, gave him the martyr card. Some elements of the Christian faith really love the whole martyr thing. And really, isn’t it always easier to pass blame then own up to the choices you’ve made? Heck yeah!
Leaving was statement enough, what else can I say?!
It hurts me to know that they may never get the whole story. They may never understand that this man is NOT like his grandfather. He may have had that tender heart at one point, but it hasn’t been aimed by way in a very long time.
I love and respect his grandmother, it hurts to hear her thinking badly of me. To her credit, she does allow that my actions came from hurt. And clearly she doesn’t know what her grandson did to hurt me. And I have trouble coming up with the short list myself. There is pretty much just one with a lot of sub points: If he would have, could have… just loved me.
I wasn’t asking to be loved the way his grandfather loved his grandmother. I would have settled for far less.
“I have never been as good as his grandmother, I didn’t deserve that kind of love.” Yeah, I just had that thought. And I see it for the smelly crap that it is. But it was in my heart. Love is never about “deserving.” Love is a gift. Love is more exquisitely beautiful in the moments when we don’t deserve it. That’s when love counts for something more than warm fuzzies and fun hormones. That’s the REAL thing, in my mind.
It just shows me how far I have to go. To be flattened by the words of one woman? Yes, indeed. I have a very thin skin! I’m going to have to live with lots of disapproval if I go through with this. And honestly, I’ve been second guessing my decision even before I read this. My heart is solid, I know the man left me emotionally years ago. I know that I would not survive a return to his house. But the head is steeped in a great deal of religion. Plus (as if that weren’t enough) fear of what people will think, the need to appear to be a good person (the appearance being more important than the truth) and let’s not forget the desire for approval… or respect.
I was more respected when I was with my husband. But in recent years it was pretense and fakery. And that inauthenticity is something I couldn’t respect in myself. So I trade self-respect for the respect of people who don’t know my heart? Well… I guess that IS the general idea. Not without some hurt along the way.
I was a Christian. I was.
But now I’m just me. Plain and simple.
With some battle scars and ouchy places.
You don’t have to approve, God knows my grandmother-in-law doesn’t, bless her heart.
She doesn’t live in my skin, it’s ok if she doesn’t understand.
That simple verse comes to mine: “Forgive them, they know not what they do.”