There are times when Truth is important –
When my students use verified geometric theorems to prove triangles congruent.
When my husband tells me where he’s going on a Tuesday night.
When my doctor asks about my family history of cancer.
And then there are times when Truth really doesn’t matter.
A person reached out to me yesterday with the concern about their place in their former partner’s view – did they love me or did they use me?
As I sat on the bench in the gym locker room typing out a response, I was transported to a time when that same question consumed me. As the details of my husband’s other life began to surface, I couldn’t help but contrast what I was feeling at that time (loved) with what he was doing at the time (anything but loving). There was no doubt that he was acting without concern for me towards the end, but did that mean that he never cared for the entire sixteen years?
I was obsessed with answering this question. I would consider evidence in the form of memories or discovered facts and dutifully enter a mental tally mark in either the “He loved me” or the “He loved me not” column. And yet, I never seemed able to settle on a true answer. For every indication that he loved me at some time, I could find a counterclaim that I was merely a pawn in his game.
I was looking for definite proof. For Truth.
But what I really wanted was for the pain to stop.
And Truth, assuming it could even be ascertained, really didn’t matter.
I made a conscious decision to retire my search for Truth. I accepted that he had used me in the final few years of the marriage and I chose to believe that the love I felt prior to that was real. Maybe I’m right and he did have the capacity for love until he collapsed under the pressure of shame and addiction. Or, I may be completely off base and he may have been a manipulative sociopath from the beginning.
It doesn’t matter.
The marriage is over. I don’t need this information to make any decisions in the present moment. My views don’t impact my ex one way or the other. I’m not presenting this conclusion as definitive and I’m not deceiving anyone. There are no judges evaluating the evidence for my claim and no real-world repercussions either way.
It only matters within me.
So I choose to believe the truth that brings me peace and allows me to hold onto some of the good memories instead of throwing sixteen years of my life away.
Oysters developed a resourceful strategy for handling unwanted and irritating invaders. In order to reduce the pain from a wayward grain of sand or grit, they surround the unwanted particle with smooth coating of calcium carbonate.
That’s how I see my resolution to conclude that I was once loved by him – a pearl enveloping and softening the pain.
And it may not be Truth in any real sense, but it’s real enough to me.