I admit it.
I thought they were a few words from God, whispered by His Spirit into my mind:
“You could be very happy married to this woman for the rest of your life.”
I thought that they implied somehow that I would, in fact, be married to Angi for the rest of my life.
That I would go first, because she was the stronger and smarter and sweeter and more spiritual of the two of us and she would be able to handle everything better without me than I ever could without her.
The pain. The loss. The alone-ness.
There was no second phrase, “if she outlives you.”
Or “until she succumbs to pancreatic cancer.”
I feel a little betrayed. Because the implication seemed so clear.
And those words 23 years ago (and a little more) proved to be so very prophetically true.
I was happy. Blissfully happy. Gloriously happy. Sometimes ridiculously happy.
But that’s not what the words actually said; those words that I heard in my mind and heart in that once-and-once-only-in-a-lifetime moment when I thought I heard God.
“You could ….”
I could have chosen to be unhappy anyway, married to the sweetest person God ever put in the path of anyone ever.
I could have decided to hurt and betray her and end our marriage in divorce and wound our children and friends and family and church – not that it was ever a temptation, ever.
The point is, those were possibilities; things I could have done, among many other things that I could have chosen.
And she could have chosen. Not that it was ever in Angi’s nature to choose anything that didn’t, to the best of her ability, strengthen our marriage and benefit our kids and honor God.
And He could have chosen something else.
He did. He chose to let His Son take her home, long before I was ready, long before we had enjoyed the retirement years we had just begun to talk about, and just before our kids are fully though nearly grown.
That’s what I’m beginning to realize, and what I’m trying not to feel betrayed about.
What I heard in my heart all those years ago was an opportunity.
A chance to do-over, since my first marriage failed.
A choice that I could make to be happy with the once-and-only-once-in-a-lifetime Angela Laird.
That’s what I chose.
The hard part is choosing the same thing now, without her in the years ahead that we had envisioned and hoped for and had begun to plan for.
Those words were not a guarantee, implied or expressed.
They were an opportunity.
I don’t have to hear them whispered into my mind again to know that I have the same opportunity now that I did then.
Or to know that, in that way, you and I are no differently blessed.
I could be happy.
You could be happy.
Did I hear those words from God?
In this life, I may never know.
I only know that they were true.
9 thoughts on “I Feel a Little Betrayed”
Yes, Keith. Possibly the truest piece you have written.
Those words. I wish I could say I hadn’t thought of them, in recent months, and wondered what to make of them…
I also wish I could say that my heart doesn’t still ache for you…
But neither statement would be true.
I think it’s a fallacy to believe the heart won’t, or even shouldn’t, always ache, that there is such a thing as complete healing or “closure”. There is *some* healing, more as time passes just like with a physical wound, leaving emotional scars that will always hurt when touched. Doesn’t mean there won’t be life-after-death for the living. It changes you. And so it should. What would it say about the lost spouse or the relationship if it wasn’t excruciatingly painful, if it didn’t make you ask God “Why??” or be angry with Him, if you “got over it” (a phrase that has no place in grief) in a short period of time? Nothing good.
It’s only been a few short months. Be kind to yourself, and choose well.
I think that sense of betrayal is fairly normal for Christians Keith. I felt it when the love of my life was taken from me in 1994. And I felt it again when my second wife was disabled in 2007 – even though my theology doesn’t see God as the one who took my first wife or disabled my second.
Guess I have come to understand that it takes a long time to heal a broken heart. My heart is still broken over this last loss and I am hoping that Christ will one day heal it and put it back together again. Until then I will pray – for you and for me.
Dear Keith, One of our best friends who was probably in her early 40’s was killed in a car wreck in 1964 . She and her husband, Brad Brumley, taught wt Freed Hardeman and taught workshops all over the south on how to teach classes for small children. There was never a more talented couple and it seemed unreal that God took her so early. But as I wrote her husband and daughter (then 14) Betty lived more in her short life than most of us can ever live if we live to see true old age. She used every moment of her life to God’s glory and enriched the lives of all she encountered. Why would God take her? Things don’t make sense to us humans. Brad finished out his life preaching to various small black congregations throughout the south. He completed his life preaching at the black congregation in Marion, Ar and he is buried in the cemetery there by the church with his congregation. No one knows what God has in store for us but we must thank him daily for all the joys He brings into our lives. Angie blessed your life as very few people get to be blessed. I should send your the writings that I wrote the weeks immediately after our daughter was killed—-even emotion that could be felt I think I felt and I tried to make sense of that emotion through my writings.
Keith, after going back and reading (again…for the who-knows-how-many-times time, over the years) your lovely post from 2005, about being thankful for your sweet wife, I also wish that I could say I had the pleasure of knowing her. Truly sad that I didn’t.
Words that I need. Thank you.
I hear your heart crying out, Keith. Love you bro. Greg
Pingback: Afraid of Bad News? | The Blog Prophet