I knew when I decided to go to the business meeting today that she would be there. I wasn't sure I was ready to face her again. So much has happened in the last 3 years. I had no idea what would happen and how I would respond. I figured it would be hard, I figured I may encounter some unexpected emotions, afterall I would be seeing many people who had known Jonathan and his many issues. Walking into it this setting, after being so far removed from it all, was a bit scary.
When I first saw her, I again was disappointed that in fact she was there, and once again I had to face her. All through lunch my eyes continued to glance her way. I don't know why it is, but she was like a magnet. However unlike 3 years ago I didn't feel anger or pain when I glanced her way. Perhaps the draw was my way of getting used to the idea that yes she is here, and this is going to be part of life at these annual business meetings.
As lunch was drawing to a close, a very random thought crossed my mind. Perhaps I should break the ice... but what would I say? Do you tell the woman who was inimate with your husband, "I forgive you?" Does it need to be said? Is it the right thing to say? And most importantly had I really forgiven her? Perhaps its more an issue of being "over it". Instantly I ruled out the idea, why on earth would I want to talk to her. Such a bad idea. Then it started, my heart began to beat, it began to race. At that moment I knew God was telling me, yes! Yes, I need to talk to her.
She smiled at me, and to be honest I have no idea what she said. Probably something about being glad that I had come to the meeting. I continued in my nervous state and said a few really stupid things, all in the gesture of breaking the ice. It was awkward, it was weird. And we both felt it. I got ready to excuse myself, and then the conversation just took off. We sat and chatted for probably a good 15 minutes, mostly about business. She told me she had really hoped that I would come today. Oddly enough her presence was almost enough to keep me from going. But as I sat there I found myself thinking how nice she was, and how easy is was to talk to her. Even as I sit here writing it I find it completely bizzarre to have those thoughts flow from my brain.
As I ended the conversation, and we stood up, once again I awkwardly asked, "can I hug you?" And then I did. I felt I needed that as an act of completion, the completion of my season of anger and hurt. It marked the end of my season of feeling intimidated by her. I hugged my once enemy, and even meant it.
I'm sitting here writing, hoping that it helps me to process all that happened in that 15 minutes. It was so important, a defining moment in my journey, that much I know. Perhaps this conversation was a way of bringing closure. It was a long time ago, literally in another life, and I don't want to carry the hurts and wounds of that life into my new one. I am so blessed, I have all the promises God gave me unfolding before my very eyes, so why should I hold on to this previous hurt?
In my mind I keep replaying how nice she was and how easy it was talking to her. I have to stop and literally remind myself that this was the woman who had a relationship with MY husband while we were married. I have to on purpose make myself look at her through those eyes again, because today something changed. I don't want to carry the offense against her, I don't want to make myself mad at the situation.
There was a healing that took place in my heart towards her, in that short 15 minute conversation. I saw her as a person. Before she was not. She was the woman who hurt me. However that isn't true. I'm understanding tonight that while her actions were not right or justified, it was not about me. She didn't know me. She didn't hurt me. It was my husband who did. He made vows to be with me. He knew me, and committed to be with me, and HE was the one who sinned against me. HE was the one who hurt me. Yet I was able to forgive him, move past it and attempt to reconcile, because I loved him. If I was able to do that with someone who knowingly brought hurt and betrayal into my life, I should be able to do it to someone who didn't know me and intentionally hurt me. I find it very interesting that we do quite the opposite, we demonize the "other woman", and throw all our hurt, rejection and anger on her, while we give every effort to work it out and forgive our husbands, who are the ones who actually betrayed us. I guess today I realized that if I am willing to forgive and release one, I need to forgive and release the other.
I don't know that I can say I have forgiven, or that the forgiveness is complete. But I can say that today I made a large step in that direction. You never really know if you've forgiven a person, truly, until you come face to face. Perhaps the fact that I no longer feel I need to hide from her, is a sign of forgiveness at work in my heart, no matter what stage it may be. As much as I want her to say she's sorry for what she did, that did not happen. It would be nice to hear, but I don't need to hear it in order to forgive. Forgiveness is for me. Its my step which releases me from the bonds of the past.
I don't know what the future holds. Will we speak again at the next business meeting? Perhaps. I wouldn't be opposed to it. If I saw her I probably would approach her, and give a quick hello. I refuse to let that power her presence once held ever return. Regardless, I know that something happened in me today that was critical to my healing. Only with time will God be able to fully reveal to me what happened inside as I came face to face with my fear.