And I have realized a few things tonight. One is that there are a few people in my life that I know I have probably hurt, and I need to make it right if possible. I'm sure there are people I've hurt of whom I'm unaware, but that's not what I'm talking about. (If you are one of those people, please let me know so we can work through it.) I'm talking about specific people I have offended, ignored, and resented... And perhaps some of them aren't hurt. Maybe they are totally oblivious to my resentment. (This actually happened recently.) I can't fix everything. But it's time I start trying.
This thought led me to other thoughts. One friend I may have hurt--and have certainly resented--invited me to her wedding a few years ago. I so badly wanted to go, but Timothy was just a toddler (no Anna yet), and I wasn't sure how I would travel with him. More importantly, though D said it would be OK if I went, I suspected he wouldn't be pleased to be left alone. It was quite a distance by car, and we only had one car, even though at the time he could walk everywhere in our little town.
Then it hit me, thinking through that situation. I'm getting choked up about it even now. I came to terms last year with the fact that I was in a psychologically abusive marriage. I'd been blind to the fact before then, or perhaps I'd been ignorant that such a thing as psychological abuse existed. When I finally thought about it last year, most of the specific things I could pinpoint had begun after D's return from his three-month deployment in Iraq. I still think this is true for the most part. But now I see so clearly how the pattern was developing as many as five years ago. I wanted so badly to go to that wedding (two, actually, that summer, both far away). And I couldn't go--not because we didn't have the money but because he didn't want me to go. There was no way on Earth he was going to take care of Timothy, even for one or two nights if I flew to the wedding--not because he couldn't or because the idea of babysitting was overwhelming but because he had no interest in it. None. And while he maintained that I could go, really, I now know in retrospect (as evidenced in later circumstances) that he would have been resentful if I'd gone. He would have held it against me for the rest of our marriage. I would have felt guilty forever. So I missed two dear friends' weddings that summer. And I am only now grieving that.
Resentment probably played a large part in my divorce. I know I made my share of mistakes and bad decisions, and I am in no way faultless in the breakdown of my marriage. But I now see how deep his resentment was toward me--for so many things, from being sick and miserable on a trip we made for his friend's wedding in 2007 when I was pregnant with Timothy to having a hard time finding a full-time job to support us at any point in our marriage. Resentment. I am finally beginning to see how deeply that resentment has wounded me and my kids.
And so I grieve afresh these festering injuries that can only now be cleaned and tended to, in order to heal. Now that I see them and feel them, I can finally hope for mending.
And in light of this pain as I have re-examined--or perhaps examined for the first time--these wounds, I know more than ever the importance of setting right the relationships I have hurt, abolishing the resentment in my own heart toward people I have loved so dearly. It must end. Raw and wretched, I must kneel before God and my friends, rout this resentment, confess, and try to set it aright. Only then dare I ask for forgiveness.