It must have been two or three weeks ago that I received an email from a friend that after many years of a marriage that seriously wasn’t working she had decided to seek a divorce. She wasn’t walking away easily and had been fighting for a long time, and perhaps there was a turning point where things might have improved, but it came too late. I have had friends that have not struggled so hard to keep their relationship alive, so I kind of breathed a sigh of relief for my friend. They had tried and it had not worked out and it was perhaps better to walk away and be happier part than miserable together.
She sent the email to a block of friends. I have never really learned how to do that and doubt I have a block of friends I would want to say the same thing to.
Last week, one of the “block” replied. It might have been intended to be solely for my friend, but the way the person had replied, the “block of friends” received the email. I should have stopped reading long before the end of the first paragraph. I am not sure that it wasn’t deliberate, that the sender intended us to get it.
I was not pleasant stuff. That is an understatement!
I can think of only one time when I replied to something far more quickly than I should have. Someone on FW had written a poem that in my opinion glorified war and the mood I happened to be in was “righteous indignation”. I didn’t wait for the fires of passion to cool a little and I rattled off a paragraph of criticism. It wasn’t kind, or constructive, or anything I would normally want to put my name to – but I was wound up and hit the send button. I don’t think my finger had lifted from the keypad before I felt regret. I was ashamed of myself – I had just become so blind to anything but anger about her, that I had shelved reason. I think straight away I wrote an apology – it was stronger than an apology. I asked for her forgiveness. She wrote back eventually, apologising for writing something that I had been so seriously offended by.
I reckon this must have been the position that the replier was in. He was a lot closer to the couple than I was and knew much more of the history than I did. But that said, he said more than he should have. When we are angry or hurt, sometimes it is not the issue of the moment that spills out but every other little injury, bruise and scar we think they may have caused us along the way. So many things he had probably bitten his tongue over in the past just spilled out. It was like a volcano erupting.
I was thinking about it this morning –about volcanoes erupting, and how every little resentment gets thrown out like uncontrolled molten lava. God said to me, “These things will come out. What is inside a person’s heart, in certain circumstances, will come out like that, and it isn’t always pleasant. When the pressure in a volcano builds up, weakness in the rock structure allows the neat and the liquid rock find a way out. In people it is no different – those angry words, unless dealt with will find a way to the surface.”
He was telling me all this for a reason. This morning, I felt like a volcano that was about to explode! I am frustrated about many things – some personal, some not so personal. Things are changing and I am finding it difficult to adapt. It is a battle ground. There are a million skirmishes – some I win, most I don’t. It all became a bit too much and just before we left for church this morning, there was spillage. As ever it was over a small thing, but some of the bigger things slid out too, and with my stiff upper lip I just about managed to contain the worst of it. I thought maybe the best strategy to employ was to go and sit at the back of a Catholic mass and let the liturgy wash over me. God had other plans!
It happened that a friend at church had planned to wash people’s feet. He was talking about serving and imitating Jesus, and out came the bowl and the water and a towel. I had a dream years ago of this same scenario, and all the details came flooding back. It was all very emotional. Although we were given the option of passing on the feet washing, I didn’t really feel it was an option. I felt that my feet were fine, but that state of my heart was a bit of a mess. If someone had told me that the basin held acid, I think I would have still complied!
Something happened – apart from totally collapsing into sobs. It wasn’t so much about what came out – I didn’t think I said anything coherent. It was about what went in. The man’s humility and love for me released a peace that I hadn’t felt for a while.
That doesn’t mean that my problems are solved. A concerned friend spoke to me later on in the afternoon and I was able to share some of my troubles.
I have no wish to explode. I don’t want to make things so bad that they can’t be mended. I don’t want to wish that I could take my words back. I long to do the ostrich thing but I won’t. I will try to allow all the people who love me to help me.