Stories about an ‘Ex’ can seem juicy when you walked away with the better deal; but not so much when you are the one who got dumped or dupped.
Being an ‘Ex’ anything, still associates you with that thing, implying it is a part of your story, even though it is no longer a part of you. I guess that is why an Ex-Con will still struggle with employment, or an Ex-addict is still advised to stay away from whatever he/she was addicted to. Even an Ex-President still enjoys certain presidential benefits. The status is in the past, but its scent somehow lingers in the present, whether good or bad…
I heard a story recently – I am honestly not sure if it is fact or fiction – which made me ponder on a few things. The story was of a woman who had taken her two daughters and walked out of her marriage because she believed her husband was sleeping with the girls, even though he denied the allegations. Three years later, the girls confirmed that they had lied and their father had never touched them. They just wanted to leave the country with their mother at the time. By this time, their father had moved on and was about to get married to someone else. Yes, I know, it probably borders more on fiction than fact, but I’m sure we can think of a time when we or someone we know took a major decision based on the facts around us, only to find out later that we didn’t act on the truth… those moments when “I’m sorry” doesn’t come close to sorting the issue. What emotions would the woman be feeling? Guilt? Shame? Stupidity? Why didn’t she believe him? Why wasn’t a proper investigation conducted? How does she move on with this knowledge?
I remember an event that happened to me in junior high school. Back then I seemed to always be hungry, I was always looking for something to eat. I was in class one afternoon and I wanted to eat something, but I had already demolished all my snacks. I saw a classmate with some biscuits and I wanted to ask her for a couple, but she really wasn’t the giving type of person. I must have mentioned it to another classmate and said “…well, let me test her…”. I walked up to Larna and asked for a biscuit. She immediately said no. so, I turned to my other friend and said “I told you”, I had barely made it back to my seat when I noticed Larna also telling one of her friends the same thing! She was also testing my reaction. So, we were both testing each other and we both failed the tests, but I was the one who went away hungry, while she gave her biscuits to others. I was only twelve when this happened but I still remember how silly I felt at the whole thing, as I became the butt of the joke. Larna was one of the more popular girls in school so her version of events was trending for a while. I learnt a lesson that day though, not to react so quickly, no matter how right I think I am.
I am a strong advocate for learning from every experience, and if we can admit when we are wrong, first to ourselves, and then to whoever we have wronged (if it is appropriate), we will certainly be better for it. One more story. Have you seen Tyler Perry’s Diary of a Mad Black Woman? What a title! It’s the one where the guy throws his wife out the house for another woman, but when disaster strikes, the newbie runs away and the ex-wife comes to save the day, but what a twist at the end. I know many church leaders will not agree with Uncle Tyler’s script but here again is an opportunity for a life lesson. “I’m sorry” is not always enough, sometimes it is just too late, no matter how sincere. We can’t always take back what we have said or the effect it had on our intended victim. We can’t always act like it never happened, and forgiving someone for hurting you doesn’t always get rid of the scar caused by the hurt.
So, when we share our ‘Ex’ stories, let’s also tell the “I messed up” stories, particularly to the younger generation around us. They really don’t need to make our mistakes.
Just my thoughts