There are some characteristics of my personality that clash completely with my Christian beliefs, and some of the hardest ones to control were sorely tested this week.
Personally, I blame my parents.
My father is mainly of Irish and Scottish descent. Dirt poor and in an abusive home due to several different stepfathers, he spent most of his childhood living on the streets. As you would imagine, this shaped him into a tough, street-smart man who learned to
survive in harsh conditions. I have a million stories he’s told me, most of which make me laugh my butt off. I tell some of them here. But there are other ones, too, that aren’t so funny. He dealt with a lifetime of substance abuse, alcoholism, and broken relationships. One thing my father hates is to be made a fool of. That humiliation and embarrassment can cause him to fly into a blind rage. And boy, do I share that trait with him! A few days ago, some of the former employees of Chef’s, and the co-workers of T, his girlfriend, stopped by to visit with my daughter. Some things were said about the two of them when they were having their affair there at the store, and how Chef had been systematically trying to lay most of the girls working for him, to the point of actually showing up at some of their homes in the middle of the night. I was livid, reliving that hellish period again in my mind, and I had to really wrestle with my mind to get it back under control. I was able to take it down from a full boil to a steady simmer, but I was hot, hot, hot.
The second problem is what I blame on my mother. My mother’s heritage is Italian, from Sicily. We have plenty of mafia connections in that part of the family, and I swear, revenge must be a genetic characteristic. To be blunt, I’m gifted at the fine art of cold revenge. So, even though I was able to let the anger die down for the most part, the other part of my brain was systematically and coldly covering just how to humiliate Chef and T right back for humiliating and embarrassing me so blatantly. I had some beauties simmering in there. Yet, at the same time, I kept trying to make myself stop going in that direction, knowing that no good ever comes out of revenge and God would frown on this line of thought. Frankly, it was emotionally exhausting.
So basically, I’m a woman with a quick Irish temper coupled with a penchant for boozing when I’m angry, mixed in with the uncanny Sicilian ability to brilliantly trash a person’s life if really pissed off, yet maybe lacking the obvious necessary inhibitions to go through with the anger-fueled plan until it had been well thought out. Really, it is the Perfect Storm of personality traits in a situation like this.
Enter, my Christian beliefs. Even a baby Christian can quote, “Vengeance is mine. I will repay, saith the Lord”, and I wrestled hardily with this statement after hearing what Chef and T had been doing and saying. Through this whole debacle, I’ve had strong moments in the Lord, but I’ve also blown it, too. I’ve called both Chef and T a lot of names, flew in rages at some of the humiliating crap they’ve pulled, got intoxicated enough to warrant an intervention, and about a million other failures. But, as the sting of everything has been wearing off, I’m able to hold off on my instant reactions a little better. I’m really tired of having to crawl back to the Lord with apologies for behaving so badly.
The Bible tells us to not let the sun go down on our anger, and of course, God would know. The whole next day, I would start to think about it again, and the rage would come back. I don’t know how many times I asked God to please help me just think of something else. I tried convincing myself that I don’t have to be embarrassed by my husband’s shoddy words and actions, but that didn’t work. Of course I’m humiliated by his cheating, which he wasn’t even bothering to tried to hide when he was at work. That is a very public, humiliating act of betrayal. So, that line of reasoning didn’t work. I pulled up a picture of him as he is right now, in all of his tweaking glory and tried to convince myself that it was T who needed to be embarrassed, but that didn’t work either because despite his physically damaging descent into all of this horror, I still love him. It isn’t the same kind of love I once felt, but it still doesn’t allow me to see him the way he really is anymore. I still see him the way he used to be. Every thing I did to trick myself into calming down failed, and finally I gave up and went to bed. So much for not letting the sun go down on my anger. Hey, I tried.
This morning, I woke up fine. I don’t know where the anger and thirst for revenge went, but I have a sneaking suspicion God let something happen yesterday that reminded me that I’m actually much happier now than I would be if we’d stayed together. And it made me laugh, which is a plus.
Remember when I told you that Chef had tons of secrets, always changing passwords, hiding his cell phone, locking things in lock boxes, and putting a lock on the spare bedroom door? Well, he still does all of that, plus there are more lock boxes than ever. I’ve seen the Secret Room with all the various Lock Boxes in it, and it still creeps me out. Only now, he is guarding his secrets from T instead of me.I don’t know what all he’s up to these days, but I know that when he is around me, he turns his cell phone to vibrate only, and carries it on his person like it has the antidote. You can hear it when it vibrates, which I find funny. I’ve made fun of him a few times for hiding it from me, asking him what I could possibly find on it now that would matter. Would I find out that he’d been having numerous affairs with workplace employees for the last year, had left his family, and moved one of his conquests into my home to be his little sugar mama? Oh, please. I don’t know why he doesn’t find that funny. I sure do.
A few weeks ago, he was in a particular snit about T invading his privacy. On and on, he raged that he was a grown man and should be allowed his privacy without question. In other words, any woman in his life should take him at his word that he was telling them the truth and just trust him. I tried to explain to him that when only two people live in a home, and you lock stuff up or hide a cell phone, you are basically broadcasting to the other person that you are doing something they wouldn’t like. Who else could you be hiding stuff from. For decades, I never bothered to even look in that phone’s direction. But the minute it was obviously being guarded, it was a huge red flag. Plus, if a man will cheat with you, he’ll cheat on you, and T has to be struggling with those kinds of doubts. He refused to acknowledge that I might be right; instead he informed me he was 54. Really, why do I bother to try to reason with him?
Anyways, now that I’ve laid the foundation, a few days ago my brakes went out on my car, and Chef had to fix them. For days we have had to deal with each other, and I did let him know what those co-workers had told me, and that it really pissed me off. Of course, he accused them all of lying, blah, blah, blah, and I just let the conversation go because really, what would the point be now? What is done is done. Well, that and he was working on my brakes. No good would come pissing him off while he had my life in his hands. Finally, the car was fixed, and he brought it to me late, late last night. On the way to taking him back to his house, he was in a foul mood, moaning and complaining about T, his life, his home…everything. I couldn’t wait to get him out of my car. But first, I had to take him to two stores. At the first one, while I waited in the car, he went in and then quickly exited. I watched as he opened the passenger door, and fish out his cell phone that he’d hidden. LOL!! He returned to the store and finished his shopping.
The second stop was at McDonald’s and he threw an actual, physical fit when I didn’t order his hamburger correctly. It was like watching a toddler in the toy aisle who can’t have what he wants. I corrected my mistake, got his food, and dropped him off at his house, sincerely glad to be returning to my own apartment.
About an hour later, this random number keeps calling my phone, and I kept hitting “ignore” because I didn’t recognize it. It is so insistent, calling over and over, though, that Rebekkah tells me to just answer it. It turns out to be Chef. He is in an absolute panic because he left his phone in my car. He, he. I started laughing on the phone as he is giving me orders to not touch it until he gets to my apartment. And of course, I go to my car, call his phone, and sure enough, I can hear it vibrating under his seat. The dork, when he’d had his childish fit at McDonald’s, had knocked the thing onto the floor and under the seat. And now his prized secret cell phone was under my control for at least 20 minutes before he’d be able to come and collect it. He lives pretty far away. The funniest part of this is that had he just not bothered to call me and threaten me if I looked through his phone, I would have never even known it was in my car. I ignored his demands and threats and took the sucker back in with me.
The kids and I laughed and laughed because we just knew, his head had to be exploding wondering what I’d do with it. I made sure it was unlocked and lit up when I handed it to Dj. He knocked on the door, and Dj handed to him and shut the door. He called me a few minutes later, but I just ignored his call. Let him wonder.
For the amount of rage I felt from the recounting of his betrayals a few nights before, it really didn’t take much of an incident to make me laugh about it all again. That has to be God, right?