The kindest man I’ve never met.

It’s been a minute since I’ve done any writing, so this week, I wanted to give y’all a little update to my last post.

That was a pretty tough post for me all around. Took me a really long time to get there and even when I knew I was there, there was still some part of me, that stubborn prideful part, that didn’t want to release it into the world, a part of me that still didn’t want to give her the benefit of my forgiveness, forgiveness she’s never given me the benefit of asking for. I can’t tell you how many days I sat on that post, not quite being able to bring myself to press that publish button. I needed to be sure. Sure that I was ready. Sure that I was being truthful. Still somewhat conflicted because although I felt like I could honestly say that I didn’t hate her anymore, I still definitely hated what she did, and I still definitely didn’t like her, at least not the person I knew her to be. It’s a fine line. But not holding on to hatred for a person doesn’t mean you have to like them. And you can dislike a person for who you’ve known them to be, and you can try to understand what kind of brokenness made them become that person, and you can forgive them for it, and you can hope that they are truly the different person they claim to others to be now, and you can wish them well, all at the same time. But it definitely takes some real effort to figure all that out and keep all that straightened out in your head, ha, because honestly, IT’S A LOT.

Even though I meant all of it, every word, no part of that came easily to me. But, when it came down to it, I knew it was more for my benefit than hers.

Real forgiveness is never easy.

But it was necessary, and it was sincere, and I felt better for having done it.

Now for the interesting part of the follow up… y’all remember how torn I was about how we’d both been attending the same church? Not because seeing her bothered me, but because I worried about how her husband felt about seeing us?

Well, that very next Sunday after I wrote that blog, we were walking down the long sidewalk to go in to church. As we approached the building, we crossed over the driveway and walked beside the building. Just as we were about to make the turn to go up the stairs to the entrance, out of the corner of my eye I see her husband, alone, on the other sidewalk, about to cross the driveway towards the stairs.

Oh my goodness.

I mean.

WHAT ARE THE ODDS, Y’ALL???

I mean, we had all seen each other, on several occasions there over the last few months. But there was always space in between us. It was in a passing car, or across the foyer, or a sanctuary section or two over. Close enough to make eye contact, but not side by side, not close enough to speak or for any type of real physical contact.

How was this going to go? It all happened in a matter of seconds.

Before I even really had time to fully process the situation, there we were, side by side. Him, myself, and Jeff, all approaching the stairs…literally, together.

I slowed and let him walk ahead. I see his eyes dart towards us quickly as he passes. I was so torn. Do I acknowledge him? No. I can’t do that to him. Not with Jeff right here.

What happens when we get to the door? Does Jeff hold the door for him? Will he hold the door for us? Oh, this is just awkward.

And then, OH THANK GOD for door holders. I forgot there’s always a door holder! God bless you Mr. Door holder. Today you are truly doing the work of the Lord! 😂

In my head I’m thinking, there’s probably a thousand people here today, and what are the odds the 3 of us end up in the EXACT same spot at the EXACT same time? Normally, there are groups of people walking in at the same time as we are. But not this day. We are literally the ONLY people in this particular space, walking in. It makes ZERO sense that this is happening.

I tried to read his face, but couldn’t decide what he was thinking, or how uncomfortable he was, if at all. I’ve felt torn for months between feeling like I should approach him and also feeling like maybe it was more appropriate not to. Not really knowing which was the right thing. It’s an odd thing, him and me. We are two people that have never actually met in person, that don’t really know each other at all, yet in some ways, know each other better than anyone else could because we went through a traumatic, life changing experience together. He’s someone that on one hand, for both our sakes, I wish I’d never known, yet on the other hand, am so thankful to know. So here we are, two people with no real connection to each other outside of the fact that our spouses had an affair together, forever connected in a way that’s hard to explain other than to say that we are similar types of people, that we both have the same beliefs, and share many of the same values. We had a good bit of contact with each other those first few months after finding out about the affair. At the time I was still struggling with whether or not I even wanted to reconcile with Jeff, and was leaning more towards not. He on the other hand was very much set on trying to reconcile his relationship with his wife. And since we both still had so much anger for the other’s spouse, it was difficult for us to support each other in reconciling our marriages. Although our conversations were also supportive and encouraging of each other and what we were going through on a personal level, they also always ended up including discussions of the things they did and the lies they told, and that was not conducive to healing. So we knew it was best that we disconnect so as not to bring that negativity to each other and interfere with that process. So we wished each other well, and had not talked since that last conversation.

And although we don’t really know each other, I think we both immediately felt a kindredness in our spirits, from our very first conversation, and have both wanted the best for each other since day one. So I say all that to say that when that happened that morning, walking in side by side with us, the thought that our being there, in that close of proximity, may have caused him distress…all day it just weighed so heavily on me. Because he’s a good man. His happiness and well being matters to me. I guess the best way to explain it is that when I think of him, it’s like he’s another version of me, if that makes any sense at all. Like a mirror image, with the same hopes and the same scars. I want him to have the desires of his heart, for his family to be whole, for him to have all the goodness and happiness as surely as I want all of those things for myself. And doing anything to cause him any pain is just not an option. I couldn’t stop thinking about it. So a couple of days later I decided I needed to reach out to him. To apologize for that awkward walk into church with us. For not talking to him sooner about it. To clear the air and find out for sure how he felt about everything.

And his response…was completely unexpected.

“There is absolutely no apology needed for anything at all. This may sound crazy, but Amy, you could walk into church next Sunday, sit down in the seat right beside me, and I would not have a clue who you were. I have no idea what either of you look like. I never looked y’all up. It was just easier for me, not having a face to go with the man in the visions in my head of my wife with someone else.”

Wait, what??? Wait, wait wait. Did you just say you have no idea what we look like? Like, for real, you have no idea?

Y’ALL , I have no words.

I’m just kidding. I obviously have lots of words. So let me start with saying this:

That, I did not expect.

Wow. Just wow. I did not see that coming.

It never, EVER occurred to me that he didn’t know what we looked like. I mean, I knew basically everything, every detail about her, him, their families, their friends, their work… everything, within a couple of days of finding out about the affair. I’m an information girl. I have a need to know, even when it’s sometimes maybe not in my best interest. In some ways I think that is just an innate part of me and my personality, of who I am. But I think it also comes from my deep seated fears of having no control. The more informed you are, the more in control you feel. Although that isn’t necessarily true, it creates a sense of control whether it be real or imagined. So between my natural born personality traits combined with my fears, I’m basically an information, fact finding junkie. Sometimes it serves me well and is an asset to myself and even others, and other times, it’s probably slightly unhealthy. But the thought of having the self control to not look them up. Like at all. In over 3 years. That was mind blowing to me. He knew what was best for him. And he stuck to it and never gave in to any temptation to veer from that. That takes serious resolve and strength and I’m a bit in awe of his ability to do that. I would never have been capable of it. It would have made me even more crazy , the not knowing. But for him, not having the image of Jeff’s face in his head helped keep him sane.

I told Jeff what he said. Jeff’s first response was “No way. There’s no way. I mean, I don’t need to know things at the level that you need to know things but no way would I, in his position, be able to keep myself from looking him up. I would be too curious not to want to know what the guy that my wife cheated on me with looked like.”

But I explained to him that it would make no sense and serve no purpose for him to say that if it were not true. I mean, this was his opportunity to either reply that yes, he had seen at church and he’s fine with it, or yes he’d seen us at church and he hated it and to please never ever come back. There was absolutely no reason at all to say that he didn’t know who we were if he did.

And now, it made sense, the reason why I felt like I could never quite read his reaction to us, is because he CLEARLY WAS NOT HAVING ONE, because he didn’t know who we were!

Y’all. Never would I have come up with that, in any scenario I had imagined in how this might play out.

So, anyway… long story short. He’s doing great. He says it had been hard, as I would well know, but that things were good and that she truly is a changed person and that they are happy. I didn’t ask him if she was sorry for the pain she caused me or why she never apologized to me. A small part of me kind of wanted to. But that’s not a question he should have to answer. That’s between me and her, and like I said, if I never get an answer on that, that’s ok, because my forgiveness no longer hinges on her asking for it, and so ultimately, it’s really between her and God.

We had a great conversation. We discussed the miracle of redemption, the miracle of both of us making it through all of this with our families intact. And how grateful we were to be able to have this conversation after all this time and to know that the other was doing well. He said hearing from me meant the world to him, because he had thought about me and the girls and wondered if we were ok and that he had prayed for us all this time, that God would make sure that we would somehow come out ok through all this mess. It meant a lot to him to know that we were doing well.

He’s ok with us being there, and since he has no clue what we even look like, he would never know us if he saw us anyway. (Guess it’s a good thing I never approached him after all, ha. And especially a good thing I resisted the urge to go hug his neck. That would have been really, really awkward.😂 Also it occurs to me that the several times we did lock eyes and I thought he knew who I was, he must have been thinking “what is this woman looking at me for?”) 🤦🏻‍♀️

He also told me that he felt strongly that my faith could be a real encouragement to others that are going through this. Side note: before he said this, he had no idea that this blog existed or that I had ever shared our story. He was happy when I told him about it, and said he really believed God could use it for the good of others. It encouraged him that God was using our pain for something bigger than all of us.

Anyway, it was a good talk, something I think we both needed to move forward. It did our hearts good to know the other was doing well, and I would say that he is most definitely the kindest man I’ve never met. Ha.

So although the odds of us walking in side by side that week were pretty slim, 3 out of a thousand or more, it was no accident. It was God prompting me to reach out to him, so we could have a conversation that God knew we both needed to have, to have the assurance that the other is doing well, and to move forward in this situation and to give us both some peace.

God is in the details y’all.

So, now that y’all are all caught up, stay tuned for my next post. This stormy, lazy day inspired me to write, so today I’ve written two! Making up for lost time, I suppose. It’s somewhat difficult to work a full time job, manage a family, keep up with all the household stuff and somehow find or carve out time to be a writer too. I know I need to devote more time to it, so I’m gonna work on that. Thank you, my sweet friend Susan, for the unexpected encouraging message you sent me last week. I think God knew I needed a little nudge to get back to it. And thank you to the kind stranger in another state that sent me a Facebook message this week. I kind of forget how far these posts go sometimes, and your message of what my posts and our story meant to you brought me to tears and reminded me of the importance of continuing to share our story so openly. To know that our story and my words here on these pages gave you the hope to press forward and made a difference for you, means more to me than you’ll ever know. Occasionally, I check the stats on the blog, the number of views, the countries it reaches all over the world, and those numbers go up and go down, and so I don’t think much of it. Now that the more dramatic part of our story has passed, it doesn’t get viewed quite as much as it did when the stories were slightly more shocking. Over the years I’ve gotten lots of messages on and off, similar to this one. And there have been local people that have reached out, that we have personally invested in that I know we’ve been an encouragement to. So I know God has used our story for good things. But it’s been a while, since things have died down a bit, since I’d gotten a message from anyone far away, and this message came shortly after Susan’s message in which she said she felt strongly the need to encourage me to keep writing and that it had more of an effect than I would ever know. So when I received this message from a stranger a few days later, I sat at my desk in tears at the thought that my seemingly, in my eyes anyway, small platform, somehow, divinely, no doubt, found its way to this couple, and God used it to give them exactly the hope they needed. That verse about how God leaves the 99 for the 1. This is the meaning of it. God cared enough for that one person, to put my little blog in front of him when he needed it most. And if that was as far as it ever went, then it still served an amazing purpose. It’s the 1 that he cares about. And every single one of us are His 1, and He will always, always show up for us, bringing us what we need to find our way.

I may or may not ever grow to have the following that some others have. I may or may not ever have a book published around the world. I may or may not ever speak from stages to crowds of people. And truly, it doesn’t matter. To know that it made a difference, even if it were just for this one, makes it all worth it. I’m humbled and blessed that God would use me to make a difference in anyone’s life, and to be the messenger of His goodness.

And to think that this guy actually apologized for bothering me on my personal page with his message. Those kinds of messages are never, ever a bother or an intrusion, and they bless me more than I can ever put into words.

So thank you, and know that all of you out there, you all give me back every bit and more of the hope and encouragement that you say I’ve brought to you, and for that, I am so thankful.

The subject of the next post is triggers, smoke monsters, what arguments are really about, downward spirals, breathing in the truth and staying on course. I’ve got a little more editing and fine tuning to get that one ready, so come back tomorrow for that one.

Love y’all.

❤️

Amy Thurston Gordy

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Of Grace and gas bills

It’s been one of those days. You know the ones. The ones where something goes wrong. Then something else goes wrong. Then you’re ready to cry, but you tell yourself you’re being silly and overly sensitive and to suck it up and pull it together and then lo and behold, you guessed it, something else goes awry.

It all started after our 6 AM alarm went off. I went to the kitchen to get Anna Kate’s cereal from the pantry and we were out, so I settled on microwaveable oatmeal. I popped it in the microwave and went to wake her up.

Come back for said oatmeal, and find that it has puffed up and overflowed all over the bottom of the microwave. Yay. That’s fun. No biggie. I’ll just wipe that up. Jeff comes into the kitchen, and then into the pantry, and is leaning way back over in the corner where the hot water heater is.

“What are you doing?”, I ask.

“There’s no hot water. I’m looking to see if it’s on. It isn’t. Try the stove burners and see if they will come on.”

So I try, and it’s a no go. No flame. No gas. Hmm.

He says they must be working on the line somewhere and shut it off.

I think to myself, “wouldn’t they have notified us of an outage..”

He says, “you paid the bill, right?”

“Yes, I paid it.”

A minute goes by. I’m thinking.. I did pay it right? So I look in my checkbook. The entry is there. I look through my “paid” stack of bills. There it is. In the “paid” stack. So I paid it…right?

Jeff takes a cold shower and goes to work.

I decide to check the gas account online, just to make sure they posted my payment. Certainly if I had not paid it I would have gotten a disconnect notice.

Account comes up… red letters..Past Due. Umm. Huh?

I look through payment history. It’s not there. I look at bank account. Never cleared. Oh boy.

I’m an idiot. I remember sitting down to pay it and some other bills, but apparently never actually entered the payment. I always write down the confirmation number when I pay online. My checkbook entry had no confirmation number under it. Oh no.

I must have gotten distracted and walked away, and forgotten that I never actually entered the online payment. Oh geez.

I call the gas company to make the payment and reconnect the service.

They can come Tuesday.

TUESDAY.

Y’all. That’s 5 days with no hot water. No gas for cooking. 5 days of cold showers and pizza delivery. Because I’m an idiot.

Ugh.

I was supposed to be off today. But now I’ve decided to go to work for a few hours to make up for some of the reconnect fees I just cost myself.

So I go get ready. Decide to run my round brush through my hair with the hair dryer to smooth it out. What I didn’t realize is that the heat setting had gotten bumped up to high. I never put it on high because it gets way too hot. I run the brush through with the hair dryer pointing at it, and as I pull it down I see hairs falling on the counter.

What??!!

What just happened? I look up to see a nice little area of singed hair, broken off about an inch from the scalp.

Dear God in heaven.

What. Have. I. Done.

I immediately put some conditioning treatment on it to smooth it out. But the damage is done. Thank goodness it was a fairly small amount, and mostly just noticeable to me. At least that’s what I keep telling myself.

I only teared up a little. And maybe laughed at myself. Because seriously. Who does that? Me. That’s who.
So I pour my coffee, and head off to work.

I’m almost there and I realize I left my coffee at home.

That’s ok, I’ll just run through the drive thru and get some.

“I’d like a small coffee, no sugar, 4 French vanilla creamers, please.”

(Don’t judge, I like a little coffee with my creamer. Ha)

She hands me the coffee,but no creamer packets.

“They already put it in the coffee for you.”

Nice!

I get to work. Take a sip.

Mud. It tastes like mud. So I open the top. It’s straight up black coffee. No creamer.

Sigh.

Then I get a text from my daughter. It’s a pic of the cat, who has decided to catch a chipmunk, kill it and proceed to eat it right outside my back door on our deck. Ughhh.

What even is this day?
I text Jeff. Tell him why we have no gas service. That it’s 100% my fault. Then I tell him the terrible awful news that it’s out until Tuesday. I expect him to be upset with me. To tell me I need to be more careful and pay better attention to the bills.

But that’s not what I got.

Instead I got this.


Sweet right? Like, I’m kind of melting over here y’all. 😍

And my wonderful co-worker heard about my coffee catastrophe. She says, “hey, I think I actually have a brand new container of French vanilla creamer in my car.”

For real? Is that angels I hear singing?

She just happened to have some of the very kind of creamer I wanted just randomly in her car? Why? Why would you randomly have a single bottle of creamer in your car? And that specific flavor.

I’ll tell you why.

Because Jesus, y’all.

He knew I was gonna need it. He doesn’t miss the details. I kid you not.

That bottle of French vanilla creamer was providence.

That’s how much He loves us. Not just in the big things, but He loves us in the little things too.
I text my sisters about the events of my morning. They offer their showers and their ovens. Because that’s what sisters do.
This day started off badly.

But just as quickly as it had turned ugly, the goodness started to show up.

Grace upon grace upon grace.

Jeff could have chosen to be mad at me. Instead, he chose grace. Kindness and love and encouragement and grace.
And the creamer. Try to tell me that wasn’t a modern day miracle. Coffee is important, y’all.
And my hair? Barely noticeable and a funny story good to give y’all a laugh every time you picture my face when I saw that hair falling.
And the chipmunk and the cat, well… I’m not sure what I could say that would be redeeming about that. Circle of life? That’s what the Lion King would say anyway. RIP chipmunk.
I guess you could say I’ve handed out a good bit of grace over the past year. And I guess I shouldn’t be surprised that grace is what I got today. I’m a firm believer that what you give away is what you attract back to yourself. Positive energy begets positive energy. Kindness begets kindness.

Grace begets grace.
Who do you need to show grace today? Maybe it’s someone you love that disappointed you. Maybe it’s someone you don’t really even like. Maybe it’s a stranger.

Or maybe , just maybe, it’s yourself.
My immediate reaction to my screw up with the gas bill was to speak negatively of myself. “You’re an idiot. This is your fault. You are doing a bad job at managing this household. You are causing everyone else to deal with the consequences of your stupid mistake. You’ve disappointed everyone.”
But then Jeff’s words brought me back.
“It was just a mistake. Everybody makes them. You have a lot on your plate. You do so much. You do so much and you’re doing a great job.”
It’s just that I like to take care of my people. I hold myself to sometimes unattainable standards of perfection. I expect so much of myself. I like to make people happy.

The worst feeling in the world to me is to feel like I’ve disappointed someone. That I’ve let someone down.

But no matter how much I try to keep those standards and expectations I hold myself to, I’m not perfect. I can’t be everything to everyone and get it right 100% of the time.

I needed that reminder today.
Sometimes it is ourselves that we need to learn to extend grace to the most.
It started out a bad day. But I am constantly reminded that even when things don’t go right, whether it’s a big thing like your marriage or a small thing like your coffee, there are lessons to be learned there. There’s beauty in the brokenness. There’s beauty in our imperfection. Because that’s where the growth happens. That’s where your relationship with God goes deeper. And it’s also where miracles happen. Miracles in marriage, miracles in other life struggles, or maybe even miracles in a bottle of French vanilla creamer.

I’ve said it before , and I’ll keep saying it every day for the rest of my life. There’s goodness here. In the things that go right and in the things that go wrong. There’s goodness everywhere. So let’s all show ourselves a little grace today, and choose to see the goodness.
Amy Thurston Gordy