Sunday, March 21, 2010

Sinking Heart

I just got news yesterday from a friend of mine that made my heart sink all the way down to my feet.

Do you ever get news like that? You know, that just feels like it knocks the wind out of ya.

First of all my friend is not one of those people I'd really ever phone up on the phone, she's someone I go out for lunch with usually around 3 times a year, with her mom. We've known each other pretty much all of our lives but didn't really become 'lunch buddies' until a few years ago when our mutual 'adopted' neighbourly grandmother got ill and passed away. Ever since then we've remained in contact, sort of in her memory.

We do e-mail now and then just to see how the other is doing. Her husband started a career in real estate a few years ago and he sold our house for us. I played the piano at her wedding and I will go to her baby shower. And of course they were/are invited to our party.

I had e-mailed her this past week as it was March Break and that's the regular time that we meet up (as she's a school teacher and my schedule really did go around the school year with my teaching as well). It was last minute so I figured we wouldn't be able to make a date but thought I'd try anyway. The response I received back from her astounded me...

She apologized for not being able to fit in a last minute lunch date as she had already committed to several things on her week off. I completely understood. She then went on to say that she had 4 weeks left of her pregnancy and that things weren't great at their house.

I went on to read that she had just found out that week that her husband had been having an affair with another woman for the past few months.

This is the point in which my heart plummeted to my toes.

An immediate ache came to my chest and I gasped. Muttered a few words of disbelief and just stared at the words on the screen.

I have not e-mailed her back as I could tell by how she typed her e-mail she was in shock. It was very 'matter of fact' and obviously very fresh. Besides what are the perfect words for someone who is 8 months pregnant and just found out her husband had an affair?

Oh yes and there's one more fact I forgot to add: My friend and her husband had a miscarriage three years ago soon after trying to start a family. This was her first pregnancy so as you can imagine it ignited many fears within her about being able to have more children. It then took another 2 1/2 years before she was able to get pregnant again with the baby she is now carrying.

Though every time I hear about a situation like this I tell myself 'wow! you never know!' that feeling soon fades and is replaced by feelings of security and immunity to the dreaded 'we're separated' plague that seems to rear it's ugly head.

I have to admit that this hit me even harder yesterday as Wally and I have been having a particularly challenging time with one another lately. I'd be lying if I denied that I have dreamed now and then about what it would be like to be able to pursue life single.

It's so easy to get carried away in whatever you are doing or chasing. For me a new job, planning a party, and trying to stay on top of life at home. For Wally getting used to a new job as well, doing a website every spare second to pay for this party, and adapting to his ever changing wife you wants to experience every little thing that pops up in life and who rarely wants to wait for him to catch up.

Last night as we laid in bed and briefly discussed my friend's heartbreaking dilemma (to put it lightly). I asked Wally if he ever worried that we would break up. Now I have to be honest again. We discuss this every now and then at a very honest level. We are not the types to deny our humanity in the name of our faith and say things like 'this will never happen to us'. We believe the moment you put yourself in a place (at least in your mind) of being better than everyone else, or immune to human problems you are most susceptible.

I was assuming he would say 'Yes I worry about it sometimes ...' and I thought he may bring up my ever on going need to run around to and fro. Then he would finish with 'But I know we keep working on things and talk to eachother and as long as we do that we'll be fine.'

Instead his response was 'Yes. All of the time.' He may have even had an 'everyday' in there because the way he said it would've knocked me down had I not already been laying in bed.

I was shocked and of course grilled him a bit but I could not change his answer nor did he care to defend himself. This was followed by silence that told me he did not want to talk further about it - flags of the red persuasion were flying high.

This whole thing reminds me of how incredibly fragile marriage is and how something that once seemed strong and invincible can grow frail quickly when you are not paying attention.

It seems like just when life seems to be going ok something pops up to remind you that great things don't happen on their own. When you see a couple that's been married for 50 years they weren't immune to life's challenges, they grew through them. It does not mean they did not face infidelity, separation perhaps at some point, misunderstanding, broken hearts, grief, broken dreams, financial hardship or illness. It means they worked through them one by one not denying they existed but rather looking at them and being real about what they were feeling.

I find the hardest thing about life and about marriage is that no matter what you've gone through, unless you are dead, the lessons you've learned will be tested again and sometimes again. You are never done.

That's so frustrating especially if you only 'barely passed' the last test on it.

Right now Wally and I have some work to do. Some understanding that needs to happen. Because though we may change from the people we once were and even in some aspects what we believe. I know beyond a doubt that whether I stay with him or leave I will not find a better mate for me at this time in my life. Not because he's the perfect 'one' for me, I'm not sure I believe in that. But because I believe he's the best person in the world right now that can carve me into the best me right now. I know that if I chose to leave him for someone or something else I'd never be able to be the best me there was.

Every one is different and I respect that. If I were in my friend's position I have no idea what I would do. I pray that I'm never in that place but realize that no one is immune from their humanity or that of those around them.

Pray for my friend.

Pray for me.

Pray for my Wally.

You don't need to be on the brink of divorce or tragedy to ask for a little help.