It's amazing the wisdom that comes out of Africa. Perhaps because it is an old country...with many generations of lessons. Or perhaps it's from having to endure such hardship over the centuries. As Buddha said, "Out of suffering comes great lessons."
Sometimes, though, I'd like to give Buddha a kick in his serene ass. We no doubt wish we could attain wisdom in ways a little less painful. Cause betrayal hurts like hell. The challenge, though, is in not letting it kill your soul.
It almost killed mine.
Though I'd gone through, I thought, my share of life's hurdles, all the wisdom I'd gained seemed to vanish in the face of betrayal. I can now see that I viewed my husband as more than he could be. Because I so desperately wanted to believe I was safe, that marriage would protect me from so much of the hurt I'd experienced in life, I had given up my own strength. Or at the very least neglected it.
Then came the day when it crashed. And I, always so calm in a crisis, was calm. And remained that way for about a week. Then the shock wore off.
And the lessons were forgotten: the ones about looking within for wholeness, about allowing others to be who they are without taking responsibility for it, about compassion for self. Poof. Gone. In its place were recriminations. I was either blaming him for letting me down...or myself for believing in him. Neither stance was very productive.
It was, though, necessary.
Our learning doesn't come to use in clear, easy-to-follow lessons. I learned that I was more disappointed in myself for not listening to my instincts than I was in my husband for his betrayal. Betrayal of self is the least forgivable.
But it is forgivable.
And now that I've pulled myself out of the shadows of betrayal, the lessons are clear.
Trust myself. Wishing people were different doesn't make them so. And that it's my choice whether to be my friend...or betray myself. I choose friend.