Yesterday, I did one of the most difficult things I have ever done…….
Less than two weeks to our wedding, Hun and I had a nasty fight. I even cried. Ok the fight wasn’t all that bad, it just happened that the reality of the d-day drawing nigh had left me an emotional mess. I broke down at every opportunity, including when the time came to bid farewell to our security guard, the loyal ‘askari’ who had enthusiastically greeted me with a smile almost every morning for the past four years, and who always informed me on new developments in the Estate and any new rules by the Estate Association Officials that he thought I should observe. I wept when I saw children playing outside my house, the children who had often driven me crazy with their noise on those days I had wanted some much needed peace and quiet, I realized how much that noise had become a part of my life over the years. I digress. So anyway, the man I was going to marry in a few days had wronged me and he wouldn’t see things my way. I therefore decided to ‘retaliate’….. that made him furious, he walked out on our reconciliatory meeting…. now he had two wrongs!! That led to a standoff…. Hun wanted me to apologize but ofcourse he started ‘it’ and so it was all his fault. He made me do the bad, he should have just apologized and we get on with the final touches for the wedding. I couldn’t get why he was being stubborn. At some point two of my close girlfriends tried to arbitrate but clearly even they couldn’t see that he was the one entirely on the wrong, and I only did what I did, to….you know, just to show him that I can be bad too. If they wanted to step back to the 50s, I wasn’t about to go that road with them. A few days after that, we had some counseling sessions with the officiating Pastor and the matter came up and the good Reverend took Hun’s side and even recommended a book for me (the innocent party) to read!!!! Ofcourse he did. He was male and also I had already realized within the first few minutes of the meeting that the two of them had quickly established a certain rapport. Other than the fact that they were both from the same ethnic community, they chatted away about Uganda and Kampala and soccer and politics, never mind it was the first time they were meeting. Hun still convinced I was on the wrong, bought me the book Total Forgiveness by R.T. Kendall, as if I needed it!
A few months into our marriage, as I have mentioned in earlier blogs, we met a group of amazing friends, all of them married longer than we. And everytime we would be in discussion regarding marital stuff, my point of having been on the right weakened more and more. At that point, I decided to give the book a try. I started reading it. It was tough, really tough for me. I didn’t think any of the things proposed there were possible, unless ofcourse I pretend and I was not ready to pretend. Well, a few months down, we had a ‘Forgiveness’ themed lesson series in our children’s church for a month. I wrote the lessons and I even taught during some of the Sundays but my turning point came from learning about forgiveness from the children. It was humbling! I remember telling them that I admire them because at their young age, were able to ask for and freely offer forgiveness! I told them that they should hold onto that virtue for as long as they shall live…. I even told them their marriages would be much happier….. I said that to 10 year olds! By that time I had come to realize that since it was difficult for me to apologize, it also made it difficult for me to forgive. I usually thought that for an apology to come out so easily from someone, there is no way it could be genuine. I must say this has been a humongous-septic-pus-filled blister in our bliss.
Yesterday early in the morning, I needed to do some transactions at the bank – a stone throw from where we live. So I got there and queued. I then stepped aside for a second and when I tried to get back on the line, a high heeled, sharply dressed young lady told me that I needed to ask her nicely or else she would not let me back…… my mind went oooohhhh I know she didn’t just challenge me!!! Anyways I told her – not in a nice tone – that I am not about to beg her to get back to where I was and that I WILL be served before her. And I was. But then for the first time, that ‘victory’ didn’t feel nice…. at all! I just realized how true what we’d been reading about last week is. That often, our responses during conflicts – whether to fight back or run are based on ‘FEAR’. At that time I was afraid of looking weak and vulnerable to her and everyone else who witnessed the little cat fight. You see, I was afraid that the lady would look down on me because she was sharply dressed, and I had just jumped out of bed and into the first piece of clothing that was near me. I was afraid that she will never know that I do also dress just as sharp! But then I got convicted by the prayers we had said in the morning to ‘not give the devil a foot hold’. At that point it occurred to me that I had nothing to prove, that what she or others perceived of me would never change who I really am. I felt terrible…..as soon as I got served, I walked upto her and apologized. I said the words…. I am sorry…. to a stranger! It wasn’t easy but it was worth it, and felt great afterwards. Contrary to what I have thought all along, it didn’t make me feel weak! I realized it takes a big person to apologize, not a ‘small’ person!
And so on this day, more than one year later I want to publicly say to Hun….. I am really sorry, I got back at you for you-know-what. It was wrong. I was afraid that if I had apologized on that day, I would live apologizing for the rest of our lives whether or not I was on the wrong. I was afraid that after moving away from home, I’d have no one else to fight for me but ‘ME’ and so I needed to be ‘tough’, foolishly taking the place of God. I had fear of the unknown, I was getting married in a few days and was afraid of how that was going to change my life, so very afraid that I was not in control of the future. Hun I was afraid, but I was still wrong regardless!