Anyone who has followed my story on Facebook for any length of time knows the ugly details of the demise of my marriage. The marriage wasn't always pretty, and it certainly wasn't perfect. I had plenty of faults, and I wasn't even close to being the perfect wife, (whatever THAT is...). But I said forever, and I would've kept my word. He had other plans.
I have lots of reasons to hate my ex. The list of awful things he has said to me, and about me, is a long one. He betrayed my trust, and hurt me in a way I would never have believed he could. Because of what he did to me, my extended family is somewhat torn apart, and I have been separated from HIS family, which is somewhat devastating because of the incredibly close bond I have had with his sister's children all their lives. Friends have been forced to take sides, and some have been lost. I've had to deal with a lot of pain. But as we wrap up the details of the divorce, I find myself rather surprised by what I feel.
I don't hate him.
I'm not even angry.
Don't get me wrong...I have had my moments. I'm certainly not sitting back and wishing him well. What kind of ass backwards jackass would I be if I was hoping for the universe to reward him for hurting me and breaking up our family? But I'm not wishing him horror and misfortune, either. Truthfully, it's possible that I have been wrong about everything. Maybe I have misread everything I believe to be true, and he isn't as guilty as I believe him to be. Maybe I'm the one who has gotten it wrong. I don't think so, but it's possible. And I believe wholeheartedly in Karma. So I wish him...Karma.
Now, my daughter...she's a tougher nut to crack.
She's hurt, and she's majorly pissed off about it.
It doesn't matter how many times I tell her I'm not mad at her dad. It doesn't matter if I tell her it doesn't even bother me if his new girlfriend is her "Godmother". She doesn't care that I am completely over it. She is not.
I tell her I forgive them. I tell her we are all better off NOT living in the toxic environment of anger and hatred we were drowning in when he was here. I tell her how much her dad loves her. But from her point of view, all she knows is, whatever her dad's issues may have been with ME, SHE was not important enough for him to find a way to fix it. Her dad, who could fix ANYTHING, didn't think she was important enough to fix our family. No matter what I tell her, this is what she feels in her broken heart, and she's so angry at him.
She doesn't want to talk about it. She won't go see a counsellor. She won't discuss her feelings with her dad. She's just mad at him, to the point where she's being disrespectful to him, and I find myself having to threaten her with punishment, and taking her phone away, just to get her to return his phone calls. But she isn't crying about it. Besides being a little rebellious and slacking on her schoolwork, she's not being self destructive. And she's still young enough where I don't have to worry too much about her engaging in dangerous or harmful behavior. I keep a pretty close eye on her, and make sure I make it easiest for her to spend time with friends whose parents share similar values to my own. I encourage her to talk about her feelings, but I don't push her. For now, I'll just give her time and space, and all the support she needs to NOT let her anger consume her.
My ex...he's another story. He's mad. He thinks I'm filling our girl's head with terrible ideas of the awful cretin I must think he is. He's telling people as much. But as the saying goes, "You can't explain yourself to those who have already chosen to misunderstand you". He doesn't believe anything I tell him any more now than he did throughout our marriage. He has it all figured out. But that's on him.
At this point, you may be thinking, "What the fuck does any of this have to do with compassion?" Some, (or at least one, that I can think of), will be thinking, "Oh, God...she's whining about her husband leaving her..." No. Not even a little bit. I don't know if there was ever a woman who has danced as much as I have after her husband walked out. Well...maybe if the woman was being left with a ton of money, she might dance a little more. The point I'm trying to make is, it's easy to have compassion for a homeless mother and her children. It's easy to have compassion for people who are less fortunate than we perceive ourselves to be. But sometimes, it's NOT so easy.
I have a son who happens to be gay. Even though being gay makes him "different" than some folks, I want the world to accept him for who he is. I have a son who has severe autism. He will need care for the rest of his life. I want the world to accept him for who he is. If I hope for this acceptance for my own children, even when it is NOT easy for some people to accept what they don't understand, I only have a right to hope for such acceptance, if I am willing to open my mind and my heart, and extend that very acceptance to others. Even when it's not easy.
Now, I surely don't mean to suggest that we should all embrace EVERYONE. There are some folks who do awful things, and they may only ever receive compassion in the next life. Or maybe not. It sure isn't any of my business to judge what a person does, or doesn't do. But I do have a choice in whether or not I will think outside my own comfort zone, and even when I am hurt, or wronged in some way, allow for the possibility that there may be more to a situation than is visible. If someone in my life, or someone I encounter does something to intentionally hurt me, or ALLOWS something to happen, even though they KNOW it will hurt me, it's NOT easy to consider what has brought that
person to a hurtful circumstance. It's much easier to be angry, and to point fingers. But that won't lead to a resolution, and it won't leave any relationship, even a fleeting one, any happier than it was before. Being angry and pointing fingers only leads to more anger and resentment, and leads the people who are standing by and watching, to MORE anger and resentment. And sometimes, the people standing by and watching are our children.
I believe with every fiber of my being that I have to BE the change I want to see in the world. It's not a cliche. It's a fact. So even though I may call my ex a douche nozzle, and numbnuts, (among many other terms of "endearment"), I don't wish terrible things for him. I don't take any great pleasure in any misfortune that may find him. And I don't hate him. If I saw him on the side of the road with a flat tire in a rainstorm, I would pull over and make sure he called roadside assistance, (or I would do it FOR him, since he never got around to putting the roadside assistance tag on his keyring). I might giggle a little at the sight of him broken down and soaked...give me a break...I'm human. But I would still help him.
I don't mean to pat myself on the back, or suggest that I possess some supernatural ability to forgive. In fact, I have often sent out curses of diarrhea and a wicked jock itch, to folks who have wronged my friends. I'm joking, (no...not really), but I can't say I would be broken up if those folks actually did end up getting a rash and crapping their pants. I AM trying to present a possibility that even in the most difficult of circumstances, compassion is possible. It's difficult to put the needs and feelings of someone who might have hurt us, above our own need to be right, or to seek revenge. But ultimately, offering kindness...compassion...will bring us far greater satisfaction than seeing the suffering of another human being.
I can only hope that by showing compassion to those who have hurt me, I can teach my daughter to let go of the anger that is keeping her from enjoying a decent relationship with her dad. I truly want that for her. Life is hard. And so much of life can be hurtful. We should all take every opportunity to make the most of the loving relationships we are blessed with. Anger, and blame, and revenge will only suck the joy from our lives. You know what brings joy? Showing kindness...compassion. I'm going to seek joy, wherever I can find it, and I'm going to dance. And if someone hurts me, I'll dance around them. And maybe teach them a step or two.