Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Big Questions

The Wasbund will be checking into The Mayo Clinic again in the next few days, according to the kids. He's been there several times lately, including a month or so ago when he had some sort of skin cancer removed. The surgery requried 60 stitches and a two-day stay at the Mayo. That's all I know, but obviously it wasn't innocuous, whatever it was.

I wish him well. Truly wish him well. There are moments when it's easy and. . . well. . .satisfying to imagine that God hates the people you hate, but the thing is, I'm just not that into hate. Got clear a long time ago that hate's like a hot poker and holding onto it doesn't do a damn thing except burn my hands.

I really am good with the whole he-walked-out-on-me-at-a-very-bad-time thing. I can say in all honesty that I'm grateful for the divorce. Without his blatent infidelity and all, I might still be married to him, still fetching my panties from baskets on the floor, and—worst of all—still thinking that was acceptable.

What I still have trouble with are the things he did (and still does) to my children. Just last week, The Girl told me a story about a time he drew back is arm to hit her. She was 13 and God bless her little old soul, she stepped toward him, stared him right in the eye, and told him she'd call Social Services if he hit her. Without knowing him and the truly fearsome attitude he presents to the world, you can't know how much courage that took.

Katie will be 20 next month, and last week was the first time I'd heard this story. Both kids took great care not to let me know when The Wasbund did wretched things. Even more than his usual outbursts and temper fits, they feared the storms that resulted when I confronted him. His number one rule, stated over and over, was that they were not to tell me anything that went on at his house. If I spoke up about something, he knew they'd told me and that was the worst thing that could happen as far as they were concerned.

So, I'm still learning details of their childhoods, and many of the stories are painful to hear. For both the things he did and the fact that he frightened them so much they couldn't turn to me for comfort or safety, I have trouble not hoping he feels great pain somehow, some time. If not in this life, then in the next. At Christmas when he invited all his stepchildren and Katie to Germany and didn't breathe a word about it to Evan, I wanted to hurt him in the same way. Okay, enough. I'm not going to get cranked up on stories of what a jerk he is. Trust me, he's a grade A, USDA prime jerk.

So now that he's sick, what's a peaceful, spiritual woman to do? I pray for him when I know he's in the hospital, and believe those prayers are heartfelt. Is that somehow disloyal to my children? On the one hand, he's their dad and they love him despite everything, so it feels right to pray for his highest good. On the other, are those prayers anything more than words I wish I meant?

In an effort to be faithful to the "Thy will be done" spirit of my faith, I don't pray for him to be healed or to survive. Instead, I pray for the same thing I pray for when it comes to anyone's health—for his highest good. I also pray that the kids can be at peace with whatever happens.

Am I wimping out? I don't know. There are moments when taking the higher ground feels false and saccharine. There are others when it feels like the only way. The times when I want to set fire to his shoes are few and far between these days, but they still happen and denying that seems wrong. So does wishing harm to any living being, even him.

It's a puzzle and I'd like to hear what you guys think.


Mystic Wing said...

Big questions indeed, presented in most thought-provoking fashion.

In my vision, it is far more ethical to admit to feelings of conflict than to pretend that we're all brightness and light. The highest ethic is truth, after all, and the truth is what ultimately sets you free.

I realized quite a long time ago that it is possible to hold both compassion and anger simultaneously. I can be aware of anger on the one hand, and still feel compassion on the other.

As you say, you eventually realize the poker is hot, and that it hurts no one but you to hold onto it. You'll never drop it, though, if you don't first recognize its heat.

Oddly enough, I became a more compassionate person once I fully understood my capacity for hate and rage.

YOur post is likely to provoke lots of thought. Thanks for writing it.

Ziji Wangmo said...

Great question -go read Carrie Link's post. Something about loving everyone EQUALLY! It's way too hard for us unenlightened beings, but you sound like you are evolving from pain and moving towards love. It's the only way to go -we all know it - but it can be SO difficult, esp. when you're dealing with a wusband.
There's no judgement here - I think you are amazingly open and loving. It all takes, time, awareness, determination and hard work to be conscious enough to love without preference.

Amber said...

I think you already know that to walk in the Light is just the best thing to do-- when you can swing it. And we can't always swing it. That's just human. I still have not been able to bring myself to pray for That Bitch Ruth. I know I should, but I can't. Still too pissed. So i just try to be okay with trying not to wish her harm. That is what i can swing right now, and I hope God understands.

Sometimes the best thing to do is what you HAVE done. Say, "I wish you well"( but far from me!) LOL

You are beautiful and wise, and he gets the life he gets. Being himself is his best punishment.

oxox :)

Anonymous said...

"Is that somehow disloyal to my children?" NO!
"On the other, are those prayers anything more than words I wish I meant?" Even if you don't fully mean them 100% of the time, each time you pray them, you will mean them more. It is through practice and repetition that we learn our thoughts and behaviors.
Thank you for sharing.

Carrie Wilson Link said...

More "love." less thinking/weighing/judging/examining. Radical love for him, but like Amber said, "over there."

kario said...

Wow - spooky! I am a child of a man very similar to your ex and recently repaired my relationship with my dad, only to have him call me this week to report he's having a lung biopsy. Ugh.

First, let yourself be human and experience those mixed emotions. Second, let your kids sort out their own emotions in relation to him. Third, love yourself and the universal wish for peace and good for all will readiate from you toward everyone - not just your ex. You're taking an extraordinary step in just asking the questions and I can only hope my mom can speak about my father that way someday. If only to heal her own "burned hands".

Stacy said...

This is power full, the poker only burns my hands. When asked if I've seen my ex nemesis who created unthinkable tresspasses against my sons, myself animals home etc., my response is "only in my nightmares."
It's true though, no matter how much anger and rage and hostility I hold towards him in my little brain and body(I wish him a slow painful death, tar and feathering perhaps or drawing and quartering) I am the only one who feels those painful vibrations. I am what I think. If I wish him harm and suffering, I feel and become suffering. I think it was Mystic Wing who said we don't have to hold on to things that make us feel bad.
Forgiveness really means releasing yourself from connection. By truly releasing your responsibility to punish this person, you set yourself free from them. Sylvia Brown instructs us to be like Glenda the good witch, wave the wand and say the words "Be gone, you have no power here" AND to give it to God, surrender. It's too big for you to direct his karma and suffering and the feelings he left you with are less concrete than a spool of film. Give it to God and be free. I personally believe you can give it to God, forgive those who tresspass against us, and make a little voodoo doll of them, occasionally stick a pin in it. It all feels good.

Terry Whitaker said...

It's a puzzle made all the more understandable with your words of truth. Thank you.