'The Trick Is To Keep Breathing'
I don't believe that I've ever been in the presence of a man who intimidated me. I'm not intimidated by aggressive men, powerful men, strong men, hilarious men, good-looking men. They're a piece of cake, I can work them out in seconds.
I am intimidated by a man who's soul can forgive the unforgiveable, who can walk strong in the face of adversity and not falter his marriage vows despite the fact that his wife's affair is cutting his heart like glass blades.
I am intimidated by the same man who chose to forgive his wife when she announced she was pregnant with the child of the man she was having an affair with. I am intimidated by his ability to still choose to love her, to still lie next to her and wake up to her in the morning, to look at how to still make the marriage work, despite the battling odds.
He could have run. He could have trashed the place. Hunted the other man down. Murder cases are made on this stuff. He could have sold his story and acquired a few notes for his own pocket - towards the divorce fees. He could have written in his blood bitter messages on the bathroom mirror. He could have sought female skin and affection from a plethora of other women. This guy is hot. Okay. Real hot. I've no doubt he had the chances.
Instead he prayed over the unborn baby and got himself ready to love the child as if the baby were his own.
He stood by her. He helped deliver the child. But true to form, after the birth, even though he tried to work on the marriage with her, she kept pushing him away with sabotage and brokenness; moving out of their marital home.
His realization came - despite his unconditional love for her and strength in forgiveness, marriage does have boundaries and it was no longer being handled as a sacred treaty.
Divorce papers were inescapably filed. He asked for 7 wise men to help him uncover every stone of his character. Grace might come with healing, but he told me this was a decision to make. It was a decision in the darkness, in the stomach churning quandaries of how he could have got to this before he was even 31. The feelings of forgiveness followed once he made the decision to forgive. A decision he made the first night he heard she had slept with another man. He forgave before he was healed - a stunning rarity in this world of blame culture and the generation of one-upmanship.
I'm intimidated by such emotional intelligence. I'm intimidated by how he's flipped my head around, directing me to a level of man that doesn't excuse his reactions to someone else's behavior or even an insecurity in himself.
After not seeing him for 14 years (not since school), we caught up over G&T's. I could barely look into his eyes. Which was unlike me.
This guy knew his identity now. He gave me 14 minutes to tell him my life over the past 14 years. After hearing this story, he came to the end of his 14 minutes and laughing said 'I've ran out of time'. With my lip trembling, and fighting back the tears I responded, 'You're on no time limits now. Keep talking'.
No doubt his core values were built in his mind since he was a young boy, and he never changed them when he was being tested.
This girls, is what I'm talking about. A man of integrity, strength, love, grace, joy and who, in his words, had 'not even half an eye on the past'. He processed the pain face on. He broke the bondage of his memories by crying through them, knowing he did the best he could in the darkest of moments. It was this that made him lose only one night's sleep throughout the entire marriage.
Never before has Ghandi's line: 'the weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong' been so relevant.
That conversation, 12 days ago, lasted for 5 hours and as he winked and walked away in the darkness, I wanted to follow him, watch him, beg him to keep talking to me. He could do something that I often struggle with.
I wanted to chase after him but I bottled it. I wish I got the chance that night to tug him on the shoulder and tell him something I've never said to anyone - the words:
- 'you've just changed my mind - and you've changed it forever'.