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12.19.2011

NOT IN MY LINE OF VISION

Saddened I was today.  Probably also disturbed.  It's still rattling around in my head.  I am trying to not let it settle in my spirit and heart.  In conducting some financial business with an old friend of 20+ years today, I was caught off guard by his words to me.  22 years ago, when I was married to my first husband - a pastor, this man and his family were part of the church we pastored.  Our pastorate at that church created a long and deep relationship with them.  He handled our investments and life insurance all through the 25 years we were married.  There were years we vacationed together, ate at each other's houses or met for dinner when our geographic proximity to one another widened.  After our divorce, this friend of ours became more my ex-husband's financial advisor/friend/support than he was mine.  He helped my ex move out of the house and then make another move after that one.   I needed to change some life insurance issues and went to him for that transaction.  He had written the original policy some 20 years ago.  I thought it was logical based on our history both professionally and personally.  The business ready to be completed, I stopped at his office to leave a check and sign a document.  Sitting across the table from him he appeared not quite himself.  Conversation seemed forced.  He was present, but not really there.  "Would I have your permission to tell Chuck (my ex) that I helped you with your life insurance?" he asked me.  I work in the financial industry so I know that he could not share with my ex that I was a client or doing business with him unless I gave him permission.  In those seconds many thoughts flashed in my head.  I sensed he felt like he was betraying Chuck by representing me as well.   "Yes,
 I said, "you can tell Chuck you helped me rearrange my life insurance.  He has a similar policy so I assume you have done the same for him as well."
  I went a bit further.  "Does this make you uncomfortable?  I mean, doing professional work for both of us?" I asked.  He went directly to explain and over explain mode.  He never had this situation before where clients who were close friends had divorced.  It was new territory for him he told me.  He kept talking.... he didn't want to make Chuck feel like he was betraying him.  My mind whirled and my heart ached.  What about how I felt betrayed?  What about how I felt!  I felt betrayed by yet another friend.  I was being ditched again.  I wondered if he really knew how his words sounded.  I wondered if he knew how many people in front of him had already done the same thing - either abandoned me post divorce or flocked to my ex-husband.  Here was yet another one.  I fought back tears realizing that I am probably hyper sensitive to this issue based on what I have experienced.  I wanted to give him grace.  The benefit of the doubt.  I knew he was in foreign territory and just didn't have a point of reference to respond to this situation.  I tried to be normal in my response to his confession of sorts.  I said if he would rather I go somewhere else I could do that.  The funny thing is I had just sent he and his wife a Christmas card Saturday.  He would go home from work today and it would be in his mail.  I wondered if it would make him feel guilty or bad for his inability to keep a life long relationship.   I felt deep sadness as I graciously thanked him for converting this life policy into what I needed.  I thanked him for always taking care of things regardless of whether he made little to no money on the transaction.  I told him to tell Kim, his wife, I said Merry Christmas.  I left his office.  Opening the car door I climbed in and sat there for a few moments letting what had just happened sink in.  It didn't make sense to me.  I still loved he and his wife.  The cool handed distancing behavior should be familiar to me.  Yet no matter how many times I experience it from those who were part of our lives, it takes me by surprise.  Divorce seems like terminal illness at times.  People just don't know what to say or do.  They think you are somehow different than you were before.  I continue to find it difficult at certain junctures.  Today was a reminder.

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