I got a call the other day from an officer of the law. I knew what he wanted. I had nothing to say really. I did indeed purchase the Christmas present and I did indeed send it in the mail to her. I was guilty. And the threatened restraining order was commensurate of such a heinous act. It was treason. It sounds like sarcasm, and it is a little, but it’s really not, I committed treason.
I lied to her for years. James 3:8 says “but no human being can tame the tongue. it is a restless evil full of deadly poison,” and I let mine go wild like those girls who went wild.
I remember specific instances of lying where we were watching a movie and she’d ask who I was texting and then catch me in a lie. One night we watched Angels and Demons, I believe it was, and she got up to get us a snack and when she came back she asked who I was texting and I said my sister. Except my sister and I texted using iMessage and these bubbles were green. So she questioned, and I lied.
And then there was Disney, where I was in the bathroom at night for awhile just texting, or I was texting from the bathroom of the theme park that we were in. I should have just thrown my freaking phone away and enjoyed my last holiday with my wife. But I was too busy living a double life to consider her feelings. It was breaking me inside and changing who I was, but I didn’t care at that point because I was so conformed to this new identity I had actually identified with it.
I was listening to KLove the other day and they were talking about how the Dictionary people named the word of the year. And it was identity. And one of the announcers mentioned how “isn’t it amazing that we can find our identity in Christ?” And I took a moment to consider and evaluate where my identity is found and after years of being prodigal I am glad that I can identify with Christ as well.
I dined with the pigs. I dipped my head in their trough and slurped it up. I bathed in the filth. I was filthy.
Then there was the time we broke the phone together that I secretly bought online to text but she found it and hid it. We broke it when we were better but it was short lived. Then there were all the times I waited for her to go to bed and went downstairs into the garage because we lived in a 3 story townhouse and I chatted with another woman for hours and got such little sleep that I’m surprised I didn’t age prematurely, like Kramer in his smoke-palace.
I remember when friends came over and I’d steal away to text, or when I was with her and family and all I wanted to do was get away. God I would do anything to have those chances back.
There were so many lies they almost became my truth. There were so many figurative slaps to the face that I’m not surprised she called the cops. I abused her. Then there was the other Christmas. A couple weeks before that I had returned from my first stint in South Africa. I had lied once again about where I had been. She was done. I also had a dating profile with pictures that were meant to gain attention. It was all true. I couldn’t deny the mounting evidence and I couldn’t speak around it any longer… But there was a back story, there was something that happened that I hadn’t told her…
What she didn’t know was there was a moment, a night really, in South Africa, in bed, when I laid there and I had picked up my iPad and was looking through the pictures and there she was. Until that point I cared, but my heart was still distant. I prayed for it to come back, but it had showed no signs of it, there was very little remorse, it had packed its’ bags and it was in the international terminal. And as I was looking through her pictures, pictures that she took especially for me even though she had not felt totally comfortable doing so, she gave them to me with a smile and a heart that was willing. And like this moment, I sat and I cried. Gosh I cried so hard that night looking through her pictures. And that night my heart changed dramatically. It was a shift. It was as if my heart rested upon tectonic plates and they moved in such a way that my whole being was permanently altered. God was Dwayne Johnson and my heart was the San Andreas, it was shifting and The Rock had me.
And I came back ready to change… I was ready to be the husband I knew I could be. I was there. I was hype. But she confronted me in that car with pictures and evidence and I had nothing but a defensive heart… I could not be blamed because I was so guilty. And so I reacted with anger and with the threat of a divorce. And she took it seriously. And that was it. I brought her Christmas presents that year too but she threatened the cops also. I even went by the next day to apologize, but by then it was too late. She took my sushi as a violent threat and drove straight to the police.
And as I lie here in bed, the snow gently falling on the street outside, the mango candle flickering against the wall and reflecting in the mirror, I can’t help but remember the happier times that we had. Holding hands with huge gloves as we walked our little golden retriever puppy and her little old West Highland compatriot. Even finding each others’ fingers through the heavy cotton and Goretex. I’d look over at her, so cute in that hat, her little nose red and her adorable ears hidden underneath her fleece ear warmer. That smile practically lighting the path with it’s brightness and at the very least warming my heart.
And I think about the time we had two snowstorms in a row, as we lived in our heatless house. Digging our cars out and playing on the swingset at the Christian school that I worked at. Tackling and tickling each other and walking our dogs. Warming ourselves under the blanket and kissing each time one of us would get up. Her feet against my skin, watching a show and then talking about it. What I wouldn’t give for a regular conversation with her again. What I wouldn’t give for a chat with my best friend again.
But my ears are slowly forgetting her voice. Her whispers are like a ghost in the woods, distant echoes of what they used to be or where they are originating from. And I did a Google search the other day for hazel eyes and I saw hers. They were a delicate yet perfect balance of green and orange. Like the sun was engulfed in a lush field of grass, but it didn’t burn it up. They burned so bright my eyes could hardly believe I got to look at them every day. I still hardly believe that I got the pleasure of gazing into them each day for our ten years. But I am forgetting them too. I can still taster her lips and I can still smell her vanilla fragrance, but my body struggles to remember her touch and my fingertips barely remember hers. She was a treasure.
But I squandered it. I didn’t just squander it, I committed high treason. Proverbs 13:5 states that the righteous hate falsehood, but the wicked brings shame and disgrace,” and I did bring shame and disgrace to all those around me, especially myself. I lied like no man in history ever has before. At least that’s how I feel every day. And I’m teaching a class and all of a sudden something will remind me of her and I’ll have to hold back my tears so that my students don’t see it. And they ask me if I’m married or if I have a girlfriend and I don’t know what to say. I’ve never not known what to say. I’ve always said with pride and a smile that I’m married to a beautiful and wonderful woman. I’d call her my babe in front of the kids and they’d laugh and how much I loved her. But now I’m not anymore and the pain ripples throughout space and time like Einsteins’ theories attempt to define it.
And I can’t imagine what she had to say. I can’t imagine the shame she felt being married to me and still feels having been married to me. I read her letters over and over and I feel the heartache, but the shame must have been a horrible burden that I can only imagine bearing, even though I bear my own every day.
But I am William Joyce, the last man executed in 1946 for disloyalty to the Crown of England. I was disloyal to the crown of the King and I was disloyal to her. If there is any man that deserves to die it is I. Not really, but sometimes I feel like I do. Sometimes I feel like this world would be much better off without my lies, without all the crap I put them all through.
And since the Lord hasn’t taken my life yet, since He hasn’t seen fit to dispatch of me yet, I will persevere and overcome because He carries me, He is in me, He is working through me, He is my God and I am His people. I read a quote one time that said “it’s impossible for that man to despair who remembers His helper is omnipotent.” I have more than a helper and I know this because He says I’m more than a conquerer in Him that loves me. And proverbs 12:22 discusses lying lips being an abomination but those who act faithfully are His delight. I’m thankful that I am redeemed through Christ and one day I may once again be His delight. But until then, and even after that I am sure, I will miss my snow angel.