Dear past, thanks for all the lessons. Dear future, I’m ready!
Love. Hmmm. I thought I knew what that was. I really did. I come from the school of unconditional love. I saw it every day of my life growing up. I saw it with my parents. I saw it with how my siblings, and I would fight and somehow turn around ten minutes later and then go get ice cream.
When my husband cheated on me the first time, I thought my forgiveness was my example of my unconditional love for him. It was. But what I didn’t realize was that it was not an example of my unconditional love for myself. Sometimes you must love yourself more than anyone in the equation in order to survive.
So, when it happened again, as is always predicted…I had to confront him. When I found out about his infidelity again, I had to love myself enough to let him go. Twenty years is a very long time to think about this emotion and this word.
My husband and I were married with two priests on the altar.
One who was the main officiant, was my cousin. The other was at one time my father’s teacher at Loyola. He was a wise man and a confidant to me. I loved him like a grandfather. I have thought about the Bible passages he selected. I think it was his way of telling me he had doubts. This is the passage.
“Therefore, everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. 25 The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. 26 But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. 27 The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.” Matthew 7:24-27
I never would have suspected that this would be the most prophetic line of my life. It appears…in the end, we were indeed a house built on sand.
And now that I have spent the past twenty years examining my own role in the demise of my house built on this shaky ground, I want to make sure that I never experience this again. But I never want my natural ability of unconditional love of myself and someone else to be stifled, dismissed or minimized.
I have indeed given up the opportunity to be loved by someone in order to ensure that my children knew they were my priority.
This was a choice I made with my eyes wide open. It seems apropos since I lived inside of a marriage with my eyes wide shut.
But until my children are on their roads and have established themselves into their careers and lives, only then will I truly know the full weight of that unconditional love I chose to exercise.
But thank you Fr. Houle. I appreciate your wisdom and perhaps perception that I needed to pay attention to what my house was about to be built on. I promise that if I am ever presented with the opportunity to love and be loved again, I will find the sturdiest rock and build a new foundation for a happy life.
I still see it for myself one day. I hope you are watching for that with me. I intend on living my life with grace and no longer grief. And I look forward to one day reacquainting myself with a love that is on my terms.