This has been one of the most emotionally taxing weeks of my life, but it's turned out to be one of the most rewarding as well. I'm awed, amazed, and humbled by the gifts of the Spirit in my life.
I started this week with a great deal of anger. I was feeling vindictive and looking for some way to make someone, anyone pay. I was angry at knowing what had really gone on, as opposed to the story that most of my wife's family had decided on, which was that the life of hell I'd put her through was finally over and she had broken free.
Last weekend I composed an email that I'd planned on sending to my wife's mother, siblings, our marriage counselor, and the many close friends she'd confided in during our marriage (rather than keep it between us), and anyone else I thought should know the 'real' story. It may not seem so, but what I've written here has been very restrained. Even though these words aren't being read by many, I've known they might be read by somebody, so I've tried to write with that in mind. This email, on the other hand, had all the anger and (un)righteous indignation I'd been feeling all month. I included examples of my wife's writings and inappropriate communications and felt I'd be completely justified in exposing what had 'really happened'.
Throughout the week I edited information each day and added or subtracted email addresses from the 'send to' list at the top of the page, carefully hitting 'save as draft' each time, and avoiding the 'send' button until the time would be right.
I had been waiting until I got the chance to speak one last time with my wife about what had happened. I wanted to see if she would finally offer a bit of truth and admit to things I already knew to be true. I told myself it wasn't just about being vindictive, but that my wife would need to face her behaviors before she'd be willing to change them. It's funny how we can talk ourselves into just about anything...
Well, our discussion finally came on Friday. I wrote about some of it already, but not how it all turned out. In that discussion I told my wife about the email and said I still wasn't sure if I was going to send it. In the end I promised I wouldn't so long as she let her family know, in an appropriate way, that her contribution to ending our marriage was at least as great as mine.
In the back of my mind I figured she wouldn't keep her end of the bargain and that I'd most likely send it anyway, but a funny thing happened yesterday. The boys had gone over to spend the weekend with her and when I called to say hi to them she told me she'd spoken to her mother. She also said she planned on letting her siblings know what had happened. I was rather shocked because this isn't something she would have done a week ago. After I hung up I deleted all the addresses I'd entered in that email and closed it up.
At church today (she was there with the boys), we spoke after the meeting while the kids were in Sunday School. We discussed how she was doing and feeling and how she knew at this point she might be called to a level of church discipline that will be something she'd never dreamed of nor expected. She's fearful of it, but seems to accept that those consequences are a natural result of the choices she's made.
As this transpired I felt an unexpected calm come over me. I felt great compassion and love for my dear wife, for the mistakes she has made, and for the road she will be called to travel now or at some point in the future. Our marriage is still over. She doesn't want to come back or even consider the idea that we might reconcile once again, but I can't help but feel the love that drew me to her in the first place, even in the face of these facts. I'm sitting here with tears streaming down my face because I am not angry anymore. I'm sad. I'm heartbroken. But I'm not mad. I don't want to hurt her or anyone else. I feel sick inside for the pain she must now feel. I ache for the trepidation welling in her soul as she prepares to meet with our Bishop. My heart breaks at the realization that my wife is incapable of feeling the love that her Heavenly Father feels for her at this very moment. I'm ashamed that I ever put that thought behind my own petty disappointment that she couldn't (or as I'd decided, wouldn't) feel my own love for her.
I may have tried in my marriage, but I don't know that I ever understood that I just plain couldn't fix that part of my wife. When I decided I wanted to marry her I thought I could. I had fallen so completely for this beautiful, quirky, captivating woman that her past issues and insecurities seemed like nothing in the face of the love I felt for her. I knew that if I could just show her that love, she would one day understand that she most definitely was (and is) worthy and deserving of such a thing. But in the end, I was human in our marriage, as all mortals are. And humans can't fix what only God himself can heal.
Painfully, sorrowfully, I understand that now. But I came to understand something else today. And that is this; I still love my wife. That person I saw when we dated and married is still there. Worse for the wear but there nonetheless. And once again, Heavenly Father has blessed me to be able to see that. Christ has removed the anger and hurt from my heart and replaced it with love. I will never truly be worthy of that gift but He did it in spite of that fact. For me. And that is how I know that He loves me. I can only hope and pray that my wife will be able to feel His love one day soon. If you pray for me, please pray for LeeAnn. She is every bit as worthy of those prayers as any of us are, and more so to me.