Pop open the can, be sure you are ready!
I was totally thrown for a loop this week. Something I did not expect at all. However, I must admit, I opened the can of worms, then was shocked by the worms! I will attempt to condense the story as to not totally bore you all.
In my previous life the former “we” were friends with a certain family. Very close friends; we vacationed together, we helped them buy their house, they were named guardians of our children in our wills. So you get an idea of how close we were.
Just two short days after my husband left, the man of this family we were close to came to visit me. He was comforting, and supportive. He claimed to be just as shocked as I was by the actions of my estranged husband. This family had moved away and he was just in town on business so it was a brief visit. He talked about what went wrong, like I knew (uh, hello, I was just left!) He worried about his own marriage. Gee thanks, I thought this was about me, I thought, as I sat crying on the sofa next to him.
I did not hear from his wife, my friend, or so I thought. I did not hear from him again. Out of the blue maybe 8-10 months later, there was a message on my answering machine from this friend. He was in town on business and brought the family and they wondered if I had time to meet them for dinner. I was still in my hibernating stage of not sure I was going to survive, so I was not in any shape to “see” people, let alone so-called friends who were acting as if nothing had changed.
That was the last time I heard from those friends.
I have shared in many of my posts that I am a believer in and follower of Christ. And even if you are not, I am sure you have at times felt a higher calling, a draw to a person or place; something happens and you may say the stars were aligned, or it was a coincidence. There are many ways we explain a similar feeling of what I experienced. I say it was God nudging me.
So in this case, almost 8 years have lapsed, and during those 8 years, although I have not heard from these friends, there have been times they have come to mind. Not just me wondering where they are or what they are doing or what their kids are like now. But an actual drive, a nudge, a plead, a reason they are on my mind. I know that something is happening in their lives and it is God calling me to pray for them. I am obedient and do so. I find it odd that on these occasions after I have prayed for them, of course I begin to wonder how they are doing. I have never had the courage to reach out. I have searched Facebook a time or three but have never found them.
About 2 years ago, one of my children told me their father and stepmother had visited this family on a recent trip out of state. A small sting of hurt to my heart. But other than that, I probably haven’t even thought about them in a few years. That is, until this past week. It came on like it has in the past, a small inkling that something is going on. A calling from God to be in prayer for them. I pray. I pray and expect as all the other times for the “feeling” to go away. It does not.
So I find myself praying day after day for their family. Well, as you can guess, this causes them to be on my mind way more than ever before. I start wondering if she ever went back to work once their 3rd child started school, trying to figure out how old each of the kids would be, wondering what they look like (as one was a baby last I saw), wondering of course how our friendship just went away and why. And did they ever think about me, or probably even more, did they miss me at all.
Day after day after day, I wake up thinking these thoughts, I go to bed thinking the same thoughts. Torment.
So I opened the proverbial can of worms. I sent a brief email to the man at his work. Just letting them know I was feeling led by God to be in prayer for their family and that I prayed they were all well. Not sure I even expected it would reach him or that he or they would answer. Who knew if he still worked for that company! I was just going by the last known contact info I had.
It took about 12 hours and I received a reply. At first I felt excitement, then fear. It was brief, really noncommittal. Odd that I sent the email when I did as he was on a plane to where I lived for business. He said they think and talk of me often. His oldest received a scholarship to the college in my state so HE/SHE will be near in the fall. And he ended with “perhaps we could meet, do dinner soon and catch up.”
I know you all think that is all fine and dandy, but whoa, my mind just spiraled out of control. But I decide to wait before responding. I speak to friends who have had similar situations in their own lives and bounce my feelings and thoughts off them.
I respond thanking him for his response – I am glad they are all well. I explain that I have kept my distance not just from them, but others in an effort to heal and protect myself from further hurt. I explain that I have been told he has kept an active friendship with my ex and his new wife, that I respect that, and that I just wanted them to know God had led me to pray for them and to take care and give my best to his wife and kids.
I feel good about my response. My heart is okay at the moment, a little tense but doing okay. As I am hitting send on the email response, I find out from my daughter that her dad is out with said friend…
Now I go into panic mode. Oh my gosh, was this just a ploy? Are they drinking and laughing about what an idiot I am? Oh, the gamut of thoughts running around my head is staggering!!
I contact my close friend who I had bounced my thoughts off, had her read the email before I sent it, and let her know what I have been told, that I sent the email and all the nightmarish thoughts in my head. She is truly a good friend. She does an amazing job getting me down of the ledge I have climbed upon. She reminds me, I did nothing wrong. She reminds me, I am a loving and kind person. She reminds me, I said all the right things in my email. She reminds me, yep, you guessed it, I opened the can of worms.
Now I just pray he never responds to my email as I don’t think I can handle anything else. Maybe the internet crashes and he never gets my email so there would be no reason to respond. Oh, I could never be so lucky! Not that I think there is any reason to respond to my last email. I didn’t say I wanted to get together, I didn’t ask any questions. I kind of closed the can. So maybe that is the end.
No such luck. The end came in the form of an email response from him. He said “they never felt like they had to choose sides.” (Then why have you?) “What happened between you and (Ex) was between the two of you.” ( You have NO idea what happened and never cared to find out?) “Our hearts went out to you and we prayed for healing.” (Why only to me? Why did you only feel sorry for me?) “The past is in the past and we certainly don’t hold any ill will toward you.” (Really? Sure feels that way to me.) “Yes, from time to time I connect with (Ex) as we share a lot of the same interests.” (Wow, does your wife know? Do you have any idea what my ex thinks of you, has said about you? Do you like being used?) “He recently gave me an update on your kids.” (Now that is almost comical! What could he have possibly said about the one he hasn’t spoken to or seen in years? About the daughter his wife cares for that he has no time or concern for and isn’t even home on his parenting days? Or the one that is married with kids that never see him and he knows nothing about the grandbabies, like full names, birthdates, likes or dislikes? Just what could he have possibly told you that satisfies your curiosity?) “All our best to you.” (The big kiss off, if you ask me.)
Obviously, those are excerpts from his email followed by comments I would so like to make. But being the person I am, I did not respond at all. Let sleeping bears lie.
At my own risk that I chose to take, I feel hurt and betrayed just like I did oh so many years ago. So I asked for it? No, not really. I did open myself up to it, but I would never in a million years ask to be hurt or feel like this.
In the end, it is safe to say, let the can stay closed. Sometimes it is best not to know what is inside. Let’s focus on what we do have, what we do know, and who it is we are working on being.