“Jillian is pregnant.” His ex-wife broke the news by phone this past January. He said to himself, “Jillian, what choice did you have?”
They’d been divorced for 15 years and have two wonderful children. Their son is in college, Jillian in high school.
Truth is, the news didn’t surprise my best-friend Chuck. In fact, he shared a dream with Jillian about that very scenario several months before.
The First Voyage
Chuck stuck his neck out seven years ago, returning to grad school in preparation for a career change. He was 49 at the time, and he knew the risk was mighty.
Chuck completed his work and received his master’s degree. And the voyage continued.
Before long, job – financial – concerns presented. Again, Chuck knew starting from square one would pose a formidable challenge; however, he had no idea he’d find himself living with family some 300 miles away from Jillian and her brother. That was three months before he got the call from his ex.
Chuck continues to shake his head, saying to himself, “I never intended for it to be this way.”
Isolation & Guilt
Chuck spent months tending to his wounds and righting his career/financial ship. And though his family was 100% there for him, he often did so in self-imposed isolation. He couldn’t tolerate having left his children behind.
But when he found out Jillian was pregnant he found himself up to his eyeballs in guilt.
He never felt anger or disappointment toward Jillian. He knew Jillian and her boyfriend’s indiscretion wasn’t to blame. No, he saved those feelings for himself.
“What choice did Jillian have but to forge a relationship with a man? Where were you? And why wouldn’t she cherish what’s in her belly? For the first time, she has something no one can take away from her.”
It was the coldest and loneliest winter Chuck had ever endured.
The New Voyage
As often happens to good, learning, and hard-working people – the day came when Chuck set sail once again. As cold and lonely as the past seven months had been, he took advantage of the help he’d received and mended his boat – and himself.
He had to visit Jillian.
There was so much he needed to see, hear, feel, and say. But he knew he had to be careful, not coming off as though he was barging back into her life without permission.
Chuck and Jillian spent the weekend together. And it was sweet.
With the purest of intentions, Chuck shared so much with Jillian. Better yet, he listened to her and got to know her again.
Jillian was everything Chuck could have hoped her to be. First of all, she was healthy. And in her sharing she told Chuck she and her brother had long ago talked about his leaving.
And you know what? With great maturity and compassion, they both understood – and forgave.
Sure, Chuck had to tell me once again he never intended for it to be this way. But I’m thinking he was referring to the first voyage.
This one seemed to be much smoother sailing…