For her Birthday my friend Ann asked that we spend some time loving someone who is difficult for us to love. She said we didn’t have to forgive or hang out with them – she just wanted us to think loving thoughts and humanize someone we dislike for whatever reason. She ended her request by saying: “Nothing would make me happier than imagining a bunch of you spending even 5 minutes focusing real love, compassion and understanding on an enemy.”
Somehow I believe it would have been easier to just send her flowers!
However, I respect this friend so very much so I decided to focus my energies on someone who betrayed my trust over 20 years ago. Someone I believed was a friend – someone I loved as a sister – someone I trusted with the deepest secret I had.
In a moment of bearing my soul – I told this friend I was gay. I told her how I have struggled to live a “normal” life but I wasn’t happy. I told her I had always known I was gay but also knew that I could never talk with my family – well because where I come from – being gay is simply not done. I told her that as much as I cared about my husband – I just couldn’t love him. Certainly not the way he deserved to be loved – I was trying – I just couldn’t do it. I was struggling on what to do – and how to do it.
My “friend” decided that her loyalties were really with my husband – and she told him everything I had told her. She outed me to my husband – my father – my little community where I grew up.
My life exploded – and I ran away. From my husband – from my hometown – from my family – from my friend. I’ve never seen or spoken to her since the explosion.
It wasn’t her place – It wasn’t her life – It wasn’t her secret…
Life didn’t end – but for a long time it was hard and hurtful as many people who I thought loved me – apparently didn’t love the gay Barb – they wanted me to be who they wanted me to be and anything other than that person wasn’t welcome in their world.
I have heard through the hometown grapevine that this person’s life the past 20 some years hasn’t been easy. Her husband divorced her and she’s had to start over. Every time I heard something bad about her life – I thought that she deserved everything bad that has come her way.
I thought that way until Saturday when I was sitting silent and thinking of her. In was in those moments of quiet clarity that I understood that this person did betray me in the worst way – but in another way – her betrayal was a gift. For all the running that I did lead me to where I am at this very moment in time. It lead me to this complete happiness – to this life I only dreamed existed.
So – I thought of her with kindness and released my anger and felt gratitude for this life I have – for the friends that I have – for the love which surrounds me and fills my life.
In my moments of quiet clarity, I also thanked my friend for wanting us all to find some peace and love on her Birthday. In my mind I sang Happy Birthday to her and was happy I could give her what she asked for. It was a gift for her – but really – it was more of a gift for myself. Happy Birthday, Annie – and Thank You. ♥