You again?

I don’t know why God does some things. But there are times I know He’s served me the ball, and now I need to return it.

Kiddo#1 was diagnosed with Asperger’s about 18 months ago. I finally — after a boot in the butt by my spiritual director — arranged to take the introduction to Asperger’s lecture offered by the local Asperger’s group. One is offered every month. (As I suspected, by the way, I could have taught it myself.)

And I arrived to find I was in the room with a woman who despises me.

Back in 2000, about two months after Emily died, this person left my child’s playgroup. The kids had been together since birth, and once a week we’d all meet at one another’s houses. She sent all of us a “Dear Jane” letter stating that she couldn’t continue on in our group, for reasons that pretty much don’t matter. She’d never brought them up to us before.

I was already grieving losing Emily, so this was hard, losing a friend. But I also got angry. This was a person who had called me one week after Emily died — not to ask how I was coping, but to rant at me for an hour about her son’s special education program and how she was upset about this little infraction and that tiny omission and that therapist’s mistake and some easily-misinterpreted thing some classroom aide had said.

I remember sitting, back to the wall, phone to my ear, looking at Emily’s photo over the mantle and not hearing her at all. And then, I realized she’d stopped talking, and I played back the conversation in my head until I remembered, “So what do you think I should do?”

Time to fake it. I said, “I think you should follow your instincts.”

She said, “Oh, THANK YOU! I knew you’d say that!” and then proceeded to talk ten more minutes.

Two months later, she dumped me.

Her son never had Asperger’s-like symptoms, so I found it ironic that she’d dump me over my crappy parenting techniques and then her son had the same issues as mine.

But with God as my witness, I felt maybe I should forgive her. It’s not that I nurture anger against her. More like, I’d put her into a room in my mind that I never intended to enter again. Only here she was.

I positioned myself in the room so she couldn’t see me. But the instructor wanted us to go around the room and introduce ourselves, and when I said my name, I saw her head jerk up.

I left right after it was done, while she cornered the instructor to talk her ear off. It’s just as well. I had nothing to say to her for nine years, and now it’s no different. But I’m wondering why God let this happen, why we both got motivated to attend this lecture at the same time, and whether the unresolved past is a previously-unknown spiritual roadblock that God wants me to root out.


  1. Jason Black

    I’m not much of a grudge-bearer, but there’s this one guy from college, who really hurt someone I loved. Enough said about that.

    Now it’s like he’s my shadow. He later came to work at the same company as me (thankfully, one large enough that I didn’t run into him often). I passed him awkwardly in a hallway at the Seattle Aquarium a couple of years ago. I went out late one night to the grocery store on an emergency superglue run, and there he was in the checkout line.

    Whenever these things happen, it’s all I can do to not acknowledge him at all. I know that sounds mean, but I’m afraid that if I dared say anything, then I’d totally go off the wall and have to say EVERYTHING. And that just wouldn’t be appropriate either.

    Sigh. Six million people in this state. I never run into my actual friends while out and about, but this guy? Oh sure, he’s everywhere.

    1. philangelus


      You know, why is it that all those cool people you’d *love* to run into are never the ones it happens to? It’s always the person you’d want to hear enrolled in a five-year isolation study six time zones away.

  2. cricketB

    Looks like she didn’t even notice whether your door was open or not. Instructors have to wait around, so if she’d wanted to talk to you she would have cornered you first. She’s not ready to hear your forgiveness. Likely, she doesn’t doesn’t even know why you feel she needs to be forgiven — to need forgiveness implies she did something wrong. This is one of those cases where I’d ask the angels to carry the message, and hold onto it until the time is right, or to nudge you when the time is right for you to deliver it yourself. You’ve already said they’re used to you needing big signs.

    This might have been the preliminary warning, so your sub-concious has plenty of time to work on it.

    Maybe it’s a warning that she’s in the group, so you don’t end up in a small group with her for an hour with no time to practice ducking (and buttoning your lips).

    It might be a lesson for her, not for you. Maybe in humility since, despite her “better” methods, she’s still in the same boat you are.

    Three ideas for you — wrong more often than right.

    1. philangelus

      This would definitely be a case of unilateral forgiveness.I never tell someone they’re forgiven unless they indicate a desire for it. Otherwise, when I forgive someone, it’s between me and God.

      Because as you say, accepting forgiveness means an admission that one was in the wrong, and therefore offering forgiveness implies that I think the other person did something wrong.

      It might be for her and not for me. I have no idea, except I’d rather take responsibility for learning from whatever situation I’m put in. This one stumps me, though.

  3. stutterrockstar

    Ah, the whole forgiveness issue. It seems when I tune in here, you are talking about forgiveness.Must be a reason why I am turning in when I do, then, for I am still battling forgiveness issues.

    Its tough to lose a friend, especially when it seems not to make any sense. There’s always a reason for everything, though, right?

    1. philangelus

      Forgiveness is a perennial topic around here, yeah. Maybe twice a month? (Am I that predictable?)

      At the time she exited stage right, I was grieving for two family members so maybe it was easier at that point to just go numb and put her in that mental box where I never go.