Last night while reading the Caring Bridge journal for Henry, the husband of a good friend, I came across a note written by someone else I know. Henry has recently been diagnosed with a serious cancer; a retired physician, he is supported in part by other good friends in the medical field. One of these is the father of this long-lost acquaintance, whom I'll refer to as CB.
CB and I were never close, but she is a life-long friend to another someone I once knew -- someone with whom I lost contact, after a dark period in our relationship, some five years ago. I'll call him CL. Yes, the degrees of separation are notable here, but press on.
I often wonder what became of CL. He left Minnesota in a perhaps desperate attempt to regain control of his life. Since those details should be considered private for now, let me instead say that it was a very difficult time during which I literally feared for his life, and to a certain degree his soul. Identity issues had led him to indulge in some risky behaviors, and the results were dire. I wanted him to be happy, but also safe, and I did what I could do. He slept on our couch once or twice when he genuinely feared he was a danger to himself. I went with him to the urgent care to get him some antidepressants. I listened as calmly as I could when he told me how much trouble he was in. I didn't give up on him when he lied to me.
In the end, though, as I found out later, my husband wasn't so patient. I had just given birth to our son; in this same period of a few months, my father died suddenly. When my husband found out just how risky some of CL' behaviors had become, he essentially forbade CL to have any further contact with us. I didn't know out west. I did receive a few calls from a number I didn't recognize, but no messages were ever left. I regret my decision not to pick up the phone when those numbers appeared on my caller ID.
Last night I emailed CB. I had heard from the wife of another old friend that CB had officiated a wedding, between CL and a new person, not long ago. I took the chance, and asked her if she had spoken with him recently; how he was, whether she could put me in touch with him. To my surprise and relief she wrote back right away, and responded that he's doing very well now and that she would agree to forward my message to him, and let him decide for himself what to do.
Even if he can't forgive me, for what I essentially permitted my husband to do (and my husband only wanted to protect us), at least I know that he's okay. Thanks be to God, and to CB, for letting me know. Now I'll wait, and see.