Oh Those Shades of Gray
Updated: Mar 25, 2019
I’ve been mulling over the wise words my friend sent the other night about my relationship with my ex-husband. Because of my own black and white thinking, I believed that since he left me he must have never loved me; that I was just used by him.
The truth she made me face was that yes, I was an “opportunity” for him to have his needs met, but in his own broken way he did love me. Somehow knowing that helped to melt some of the anger I have been carrying around since he left. I’ve been angry at him, but angrier at myself for staying, and allowing him to use and abuse me; to not have been strong enough to put a stop to it sooner. But in the end, broken as he is, he did love me in his own broken way.
I have come by my black and white thinking honestly. It served me well as a child. I had to determine pretty quickly when something was happening if I was in danger or not to avoid being hit so much. A lot of battered children over-develop this skill to stay safe, but as an adult it traps us into thinking something is good or bad, right or wrong, black or white; there is nothing in-between.
The in between – the shades of gray, where most life happens, is such a hard concept for me, but one I must learn to embrace. Understanding the “gray” of my relationship with him, means understanding that while I was not loved in a way that I needed to be loved, or given not even a tenth of what I gave him in return, I was indeed loved. It doesn’t change the ending of our story, just helps me to feel a little better about our time together. I was loved. I need to allow that to sink in to my black and white brain. He left me, but I was loved.
I spoke to his adult daughter about it recently. She and I are very still very close. I asked her if she thought he ever loved me. As tears filled my eyes, she hugged me and said yes, he did love you; he does love you in his very broken way. I have to just allow that to sink in to my stubborn head…….he left you, but he did love you at one point. It was not all wasted time.
Gray….I need to become friends with gray of my life. I have made peace with my gray hair; I guess I will have to make peace with the gray in my heart and my head. Maybe it would help if I buy it a string of pearls .