Thursday, July 1, 2010

Another year, another lesson

Today was a somewhat monumental day for me. It was my 35th birthday...which I was mostly ambivalent about. It was a nice day - I had lunch with friends and dinner with the kids - it was mostly uneventful, but in a good way.

What made the day good was some time I spent by myself in the middle of the afternoon. For the first time in months, I felt something being restored to me. One of the things I've learned to about myself is that I can generally empathize with anyone. On some level, in some way, albeit small at times, I can usually put myself in someone else's place and feel for them. I've been like this since I was a little kid. While it is part gift - in that I think it makes me more sensitive to the people around me - it is also part curse. At times, my sense of feeling for someone makes me blind to his or her faults. And it clouds my judgment sometimes. Overall I trust people. I believe people mean well, even when perhaps they don't or can't. In essence, I feel things and people deeply. While it means great sorrow sometimes, it also means great joy at others. I can accept the lows, because I get to live the highs too. I have learned to love being the way that I am. And I've learned it's a gift. All in all, I like who I am, who I've become.

Today during a quiet moment, I realized that despite all of my anger lately, I feel some sense of sympathy for the woman my ex-husband cheated on me with. And I don't mean the fake, insincere, "Gee, you're so pathetic I feel sorry for you" kind of sympathy. I mean the genuine thing. The "I don't understand you, but part of me feels sorry for you." This feeling took me by surprise. I've been so pissed off recently, that I've forgotten I am who I am. I feel restored today, redeemed.

While I'm not silly enough to believe my anger has dissipated entirely, I realize now if I had to do it over again, I wouldn't change anything. I went into my marriage believing that my husband could be faithful to me. I trusted him. I didn't question him. I didn't quiz him about his whereabouts or his associations. Perhaps I was naive. Or even unsophisticated. But, all in all, I believed him. I thought he was a good person, who meant well. And despite all of his actions to the contrary, I wanted him to be able to overcome his weaknesses. In the end, he couldn't pull it off. His demons got the best of him. Not to let him off the hook for his actions, but he never learned from his mistakes...never got past being in his past.

Regardless of everything that happened, I wouldn't do things differently. Even if I could I would not go back and be a skeptic. Someone who didn't trust, couldn't overlook mistakes. That's not who I am. Fundamentally, I trust. I love. I care. I believe. These things get me hurt sometimes. And certainly the hurt makes me question why I do things the way I do them. But it doesn't change me fundamentally. And I don't want it to. I'm happy with who I am in this regard. That I can wake up one day and feel sorry for the woman who had sex with my husband and was a part of the demise of my marriage makes me who I am. I love. It is who I am. And I know that God blessed me with the ability to be who I am. Free of bitterness and hardness of heart. I am.

Last year at this time, I knew I had a hard year in front of me. And I would not want to repeat my 34th year if given the option. It was painful, difficult and sad in many ways. But it was also a year of tremendous growth and opportunity for me. And I've emerged from this year into the next one whole and intact. I hold a lot of hope for this coming year. I know that I can take control of my body again and get myself back into physical shape. I can to continue to feed and nurture that which is part of who I've been from the start - someone who trusts people - who believes that most want what is best for others.

Maybe in the end I will be accused of being overly naive. But that wouldn't be the worst thing.

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