A Hard Share Pt. 4

Accountability

Summarizing a moment in time for an outside audience presents numerous thoughts. Personal life mixed with public attention on any level is a gambled recipe. I’m still a little shocked that I’ve talked through so much, knowing how private a person I am. The responses I’ve received over this [now] four-part installment have been humbling, kind, apologetic, and insightful. You are all amazing.

I genuinely wonder what we could do as a society with a little foresight into our immediate futures. Perhaps not a direct vision, so to speak, but maybe more of an area-of-effect type of sight. If we could see the fallout, good or bad, from what we’re about to do, how would we use that information?

Again, you guys are amazing, and I thank you for putting up with my vents, rants, and rabbit-hole emotions. I made a point to hold accountable those around me for their actions toward me during this time, and now it’s time I hold myself accountable for my actions against them.
One of the hardest lessons to learn in this life is to resist removing sections of life from another human being. This is unarguably wrong. Yet we try to do it. When someone we know goes through particularly troubling times, and we resonate with the trouble, which gives us some insight into what this person is headed for, most individuals want to intercede on this person’s behalf. And I would say that most of these desires and intercessions are benevolent and meant for good.

Parents watching over their children. Friends going through heartbreak. Families dividing due to divorce, death, or the law. Consequences of war or politics. Natural calamities.

Everyone is so familiar with suffering that we don’t like to witness another going through it. Especially if we know, or love, that person. And the second part of this equation describes efforts made to save or help, but only in ways that the giver can understand. We know what we know, and we begin where we begin.

In recent years, I’ve become aware of my actions when I dated and married my ex-wife, and what they did to those around me. Everyone felt like they could see so clearly what we had, and it wasn’t going to end well. And to their credit, many did everything in their power to bring it up, call it out, come to my aid, or try to sound the horn that the enemies were at the gates. Trouble was, as I was invested and interested in protecting my soon-to-be wife and ensuring we had as strong a foundation to start from as possible, I doubled down for her and against everyone else.
I don’t apologize for standing with my wife, as I believe that’s how it should be, but I’m so sorry that the degree to which she and I did this alienated so many people. I may have wanted to believe my marriage could succeed, but everyone else shouldn’t have been part of the cost.

I think I knew what was going on to a certain degree. These wonderful people around me wouldn’t just “roll over and take it,” which meant I didn’t have the chance to completely ignore it or sweep it under the rug. I appreciate this now, though it definitely was hard to handle at the moment. I made the mistake of turning so far inward into my relationship, wearing blinders so I could pay attention to and hopefully solve the significant problems that everything and everyone else either felt like a nuisance, unhelpful, mean-spirited, or “bad friends.” The problem with that was since the major problem was the marriage—and it only got worse—that meant that as long as I was in it, and as long as it had all my attention, I lacked the desire or ability to give back and show love to those around me.

I apologize for this with all my heart. I’ve worked hard in the years past to show my friends and family how much I love them, invest in their lives, exercise forgiveness, and repair the damage. Specifically, with my mother, father, and sisters. My ex and I really did a number on them, and if I bear shame for anything, it’s knowing how much division happened because of our actions. As a matter of fact, my father and I had a talk about this only a few months ago. For the first time in over ten years, he felt comfortable sharing some of his personal and intimate feelings around it all, and some of what happened in his life because of it. To think that it took ten years for us to not only bring it up again but to delve into the questions and emotions of it anew and look for resolution and healing. Since my divorce, I have learned that I failed to really sit down with my father and explain some of the inner workings. I was so busy feeling butt-hurt about what I felt the world did to me that I forgot to pay attention to those around me yet again.

Dad, again, I’m so sorry. During our conversation, I eagerly opened up about issues that had brought so much heartache. While my dad and I don’t see eye-to-eye on a lot of things—which definitely came into play as I explained some of the reasoning and details—it was one of the best conversations I’ve ever had with him, and we both got to know each other so much better. He listened to the crazy justifications of his son with an attentive ear and every effort to understand. After I talked, he took some time and walked me through what had happened on his side, and it broke my heart. When all this was going down, his son was hurting, lost, and trying so hard to make something painful work. And despite his best efforts, that son wasn’t listening or paying attention, and couldn’t see what was in front of him.

I can imagine what that’s like, but not from the perspective of a parent. I’ve had to accept that I instigated this and that we’re overcoming it and improving.

I’ve also had talks with my sisters, and they love to share the horror stories and tell me how stupid I was. Ha ha ha. I love them for that. They found it hard to watch me be so unhappy, yet so invested in the misery. I understand that, and I offer no excuses. My relationships with them have also improved over the years, for which I’m grateful. Once I acknowledged my part in it all, they felt comfortable opening up, and the repairing has been steady and profound.

The next level of impact here happened to my grandparents. Certain events that I don’t have the heart to get into here brought them more into the game than they ever intended. And to their credit, they accepted and played selflessly, and with the hope it would help. I was the one to ask them to get involved, and once again, a situation appeared that became distorted and contentious, and another rift was created.

The backlash from this was much more extensive. But I’m optimistic it’ll be repaired. It’s going to take a lot of effort, and I need to play my part, which I’m more than happy to do. I’ve sat down with my grandparents and apologized for the pain I introduced into their lives. They were always in my corner throughout the whole ordeal, and they made every effort to provide support, love, and help. They gave during a time where all I could do was take. I’m grateful they accepted my apology.

I need to apologize to my extended family. I can’t imagine what it was like to look in from the outside on this, and I also can’t imagine what the effect was for you. Intense or mild, I apologize for my defensive nature at the time, if I took advantage of anyone, or if I took you for granted. I love you guys, and I hope you know that. I’ll do what I need to do.

My friends are the only ones I feel that came out of this relatively “unscathed.” It’s almost a blessing and a sadness to say that I didn’t interact with you much while this was going down. To my brothers, know I’m sorry for staying so far away and thank you for being there when I needed you. I’m sorry for not extending more trust and not spending time with you as often as I should have.

And if I’ve missed anyone specifically, please know it’s not because I’m not apologizing to you. I do. My sincerest apologies to those I’ve hurt, belittled, ignored, or committed any other unsavory action between 2008-2010.

As I end this blog, I have a few insights to pass on. I’m a firm believer that regrets are a choice, and they’re designed for self-destruction. While guilt brings awareness of those issues that need our immediate and active attention, wallowing in them does absolutely nothing for us or the world around us. My first marriage provided a textbook of personal development, self-awareness, the construction of relationships, God’s interaction and involvement in the world, and more. In the years since all of this, I’ve made every effort to demonstrate a clearer approach to life and understand myself better. If tough things are going to happen, we might as well use them productively, right?

But awareness, theory, or insight only go so far. Action, application, effort, and example are at the forefront of evidence for where a person is at; if they’re learning at all. I’m open to feedback on how I’m doing. If you knew me ten years ago, I’d love to hear about who you see now. If you have something to discuss with me, I’ll talk about anything, hard or easy. If you want to call me out for something, or I need to apologize, then please don’t be afraid to hold me accountable. I’m trying to stay on top of all that, but I’m human and don’t always get it right, as you can imagine.

Here ends part four. Sometimes saying thank you just isn’t enough. Have a grand weekend, get up to some insanity, find your courage, face your hard things, and onward and upward we go.

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