Forgiveness and the Ex-Wife

I was busy feeding my, now, four-year-old beagle, Ralph, his breakfast yesterday morning when the doorbell rang.  It was just after 7AM.  That's not usually the time I get visitors.  Curious, I went to the front door and got a surprise.  It was a total surprise to say the least.  Standing there at 7AM at my front door was my ex-wife.  I was surprised for three reasons.  One, I had not seen her in over five years.  Two, I was not expecting her at my home for any reason.  And, three, I was amazed she was at my home.  She lives six hours away.  Dumbstruck, I jabbered, "What are you doing here?"  She asked if she could come in for little while.  She said she would explain.  Still in shock, I allowed her in my home.  Ralph was not happy.  It was the first time he had ever seen her and he constantly growled at her.  I guess a dog and his master do take on the same traits after a while.  I invited my ex-wife to sit down, asked if she would like something to drink.  She declined.  I was feeling very uneasy about her being here.  I'm not living with a woman.  I have broken up with my last woman just over two weeks ago.  So, I was not worried about another woman walking in on us.  Finally, I asked her why she was at my house.

She hesitated and looked at me with tears in her eyes.  She said she had a "medical problem" and had been referred to a physician here in my hometown.  She told me her problem.  It is serious and I immediately sympathized with her.   I asked her if there was anything I could do, if she needed me to come along with her.  Her sister, who lives about an hour from me, would be going with her to the doctor.  Again, I was sorry to hear about her medical problem and told her that.  She looked to me and asked me one thing; David, can you forgive me?  For the second time yesterday morning, I was stunned.  If you knew my ex-wife, you would know she is not the kind of person who would ask for forgiveness.  She was never in the wrong, it was always me or someone else.  As she looked at me, I thought about the hell our marriage brought to me personally.  I remembered the heartache of divorce, the pain in my chest as I went out moving my things out of our house seven years ago.  I recalled living out of my truck, homeless, for about a week after our divorce.  I thought of so many things that caused me to hate this woman and all she represented.  I had thought that someday, she would pay for the cruel things she did to me.  But, I never expected or wanted this to happen to her.

Then, as I sat on my couch looking at my ex-wife, I saw her tears and a realization that she had finally realized what she had done and what she had lost.  All the anger, hate and disgust I had with her was suddenly gone.  What replaced it was true sympathy for a woman who could never see she had faults.  Was she alone in the failure of our marriage.  I can tell you truthfully, NO.   I could have been more reasonable in dealing with this woman.  She was made the way she was by her father.  I knew it then, and I certainly know it now.  I told my ex-wife there was nothing to forgive now.  But, if she felt she needed forgiveness, then I certainly forgave her.  I then asked her to forgive me also for the problems we both created while married.  I did something I thought I would never do again, I went and hugged my ex-wife.  I held her until she reluctantly had to leave.  We promised to stay in touch.  I do want to know how she is doing.  I honestly mean that.  I've told others of this incident since it happened.  Friends and family have asked me what was I thinking after the way she did me.  I could tell you that she was another human being in need, a woman I loved at one time.  But, love was never enough for her.  She can't help what she is, no more than I can help what I am.  Why did I forgive her? Sometimes, in life, there are no answers.  Sometimes, there are only questions as to why or what we do.  I felt I did the right thing.  And, even if Ralph disagrees, I was glad to see her again and to let her know, I care. 


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