A few moments after our meeting, my husband’s old friend (now my new friend) caught me alone and quietly said, “I’m sure you could tell from my reaction that I know who you are.”
Yes, I’d noticed.
He then went on to express his sympathy for all that I had been through. He told me the day he’d heard about my former husband’s Ponzi scheme, his heart had broken for me and my children and that he knew many people who experienced those same feelings of sorrow on our behalf. He took the time to ask about me, how my children are doing and couldn’t have been nicer. Unexpectedly, in the course of that conversation, something in me began to change.
I realized I wasn’t worried, or ashamed, of anything I’ve lived through any more. I don’t think I’ll be hesitant to meet anyone ever again, regardless of the name they associate with me.
A few minutes later, his wife approached and said something so unexpected it changed my world. She, also, was very nice and told me we had something in common. For the life of me, I had no idea what that could possibly be! Then SHE dropped a bomb, sharing something very unexpected that we had in common and I was absolutely stunned! I was caught so off-guard all I could think to do was joke, “WHERE have you been? WHERE were you two years ago? I SO could have used a friend like you in 2009!”
Better late than never, I guess. And for some reason, meeting a good woman who lived through something similar to me, who shared her experience with me however briefly, helped the last few scales of shame (or whatever it is I’ve felt but didn’t realize I was still carrying with me) fall from my eyes. It’s totally gone. I don’t think I’ll want to hide my head, ever again, to have anyone know I’m the former Andrea Merriman.
I don’t think I’ll be cringing any longer when my husband introduces me to people; I won’t be afraid of what they’ll think of me—or him, for choosing to marry someone with past experiences like mine.
After all, “…let us never forget that mankind constitutes one great brotherhood; all born to encounter suffering and sorrow, and therefore bound to sympathize with each other.” (Albert Pike)
And to think: if it weren’t for karaoke, I wouldn’t have met my new friends, my new “brotherhood,” born of adversity and facilitated by empathy. Additional proof that life is unexpected and…amazing. Every encounter an opportunity to bless the life of another.