Yesterday at the end of a meeting a woman I know through business asks if she can speak with me as we walk to our cars. Somehow I know right away what she needs to say. She asks me, “Was John in your life before you separated from your husband?” She is having an affair.
What has been a source of shame for me becomes valuable to someone else. She is suffering. She is afraid and confused. It’s a very lonely place to be. I talk with her for an hour. I tell her the process and the stages of our relationship. I tell her about my struggle and the to and fro. I tell her about breaking up, going away and coming back. I tell her how I prayed and wrote and prayed some more. I tell her all the ways I felt and the thoughts and feelings and grief of the year before we “came out”. I suggest ways to discern what is right for her. I have no idea what that is. She asks me if I am happy now. I say yes. She asks me if I love my husband and again I say yes. She asks if I had doubts when I heard about the cancer and I tell her that truth too. Yes, of course.
In Alcoholics Anonymous one of The Promises is this:
“No matter how far don the road we go we will see how our experience can benefit others.”
It has been and is a bumpy, painful road. I’m grateful that something of this pain can benefit someone else.