When Jack and I first began to talk…and it was very difficult at first to go back over the past…he gave me his perspective on everything that had happened during the stressful strained relationship (which was not a romantic relationship) that we had as both colleagues and housemates.
It was interesting to hear what had been going through his mind and compare that with my own perspective of the situation. But what moved me tremendously was hearing Jack talk about what happened to him when I mysteriously vanished from London.
He said the hardest thing was that he kept on hearing rumours that I had left because of an affair with a married man, the husband of one of my co-workers (you may remember that I attributed those rumours to originating with Jack, but he said he would never have said something like that about me). But worst still was the tiny drips of information the few people who did know what had happened allowed him to be aware of.
First he was told I had to leave London because of an emergency. Then he found out I had been in hospital. Then he found out that I was not going to be coming back to London anytime soon. Then he was told that I had been the victim of a violent crime. Eventually, someone let slip that I had been sexually assaulted at the same time.
Jack told me he was horrified and felt utterly helpless. The situation weighed on his heart. I know Jack is perceived as always laughing and joking, always affable and gregarious….but there is another side to Jack. He can be quiet and contemplative, he is a man of deep feelings and profound conviction. He had no idea where I was, but he wanted to reach out to me….yet he had no idea what he could possibly say to me.
Jack said the anxiety he felt for me ate away at his joy. The worry lingered on and on. He had to get on with life…and Jack’s life is a full and exciting one, travelling, socialising, creating, and lots of public appearances. That way of life suits him, he has always given lots of energy but also felt energised by his lifestyle. But he said with the burden on his heart, he was perpetually exhausted. He lost a lot of weight. His hair changed colour. He struggled to sleep. His judgement was impaired. His temper was sometimes short.
I know I had a tough time dealing with the traumatic challenges that effected me. But Jack also suffered. So just as I have felt immense relief since we made peace, he says he has healed and regained his joy and energy.
Love – isn’t it wonderful!! Two people who were a source of great pain to one another, who were estranged….can make peace, fall in love, and decided they want to navigate the rest of their lives together. I can honestly say that being Jack’s has made me more deeply happy and content than I could ever have imagined. He has breathed life into me….and I hope I have done the same to him. The energizing force of forgiveness should never be underestimated.
Absolutely yes! Wow, yessssssssss! Of course! The main reason for giving people second chances is that surely we appreciate it when someone gives us a second chance.
I am imperfect. I make mistakes. People forgive me. They give me second chances, third chances, fourth chances and more! There are very very very few situations where I would refuse to give another imperfect human a second chance. Look at what happened with Jack and me! Goldfinch once said to me that he marvelled at my powers of forgiveness (in regards to Jack). I think later on in this post, I will recap the basic outline of the contact between Jack and I.
I am not saying this just because I am a softie. I see a legitimate basis for people being forgiving and extending second, third, fourth, fifth….chances to others. We are all imperfect. None of us have had a completely perfect start.
Even if our parents were lovely and did their best to rear us well, they may have inclined us with mistaken thoughts and habits. It is hard to find the right balance in all things. Even the best make mistakes. Some people had a terrible start in life without love and kindness and patience. The cumulative effect of cruelty and abuse are impossible to measure.
I can think of a hundred, nay, a thousand reasons why someone might let you down, make a mistake, tell a lie, break their promise, take something that is not theirs, forget something important…and all manner of other mistakes. I can think of even more reasons to look over their mistake. Stress is a big cause of mistakes. People say and do things when they are stressed – it is so important that people are allowed second chances.
I guess there is a balance to find. Some mistakes are minor, but others are more serious. If someone has deliberately done something wrong, it may be that we have to have some words with the person to make it clear that it is not something we can condone or approve of. But finding the balance is important. Quite rightly, we might despise certain wrong acts – but the truth is everybody makes mistakes. Most of us do wrong things due to weakness, not wickedness.
I know some people might not believe in a Creator, but if you do, you know that our Creator has arranged to give a second chance to almost the entire human race. At great cost to himself, he has bought back what Adam threw in His face. Adam was perfect. There was no basis to forgive the wicked decision he made. Yet he was allowed to have offspring. All of his offspring had an imperfect start.
But soon the human race will have a chance to work towards the purpose our Creator gave to Adam – fill the earth and make it a paradise…take care of it’s creatures. Mankind suffers because of Adam’s decision. The world system has damaged human health, our environment and other creatures. But soon disease will be eradicated and death will be undone. Mankind will have a clean slate, a fresh start, a second chance.
Eventually all mankind will be perfect. Then they will have to choose whether to be like Adam and choose to think they can rule themselves better than their Creator or whether to be like Jesus, the firstborn of all creation who has always been obedient to his Creator. Jesus has been given a special role. Effectively he becomes the adoptive father of the human family that Adam severely damaged. In his role, he will patiently teach and guide us to thrive and to care for our responsibility on this planet properly.
I mentioned earlier the relationship between Jack and I. I have written about it a lot, and I didn’t want it to dominate my post. But here is a basic outline of what happened:
2010 – I became an international volunteer.
2011 – Jack became an international volunteer.
People started to talk about Jack and me (we had worked on similar projects and been at the same social events). Over the next couple of years this went from mild teasing to people I did not know being fascinated about whether he and I were romantically involved.
2013 – Jack moved into our apartment.
The rumours intensified. Photos of the two of us (still have no idea who took those pictures) spread online. People said whatever they wanted about us, there was no limit to their imagination and in some cases their depravity. People I hardly knew would joke with me about what they were sure was a sexual relationship. The worst of comments were on social media.
Meanwhile, inside the flat, Jack and I were hardly speaking. I asked him repeatedly to try to stop the gossip. He is used to being in the limelight and his response was to tell me to be more thick skinned and to assure me that people would get bored and move on to some other celebrity.
2014 – I couldn’t take anymore, I moved out of our apartment into another apartment in the same complex.
The rumours became worse than ever. People said very cruel things about me specifically. Names like tart, slut, slag, whore and others were used about me…with all manner of prefixes and accusations.
Jack and I were estranged. I did not trust him anymore. He was hurt by my decision to move out. The tension became worse and worse. I thought he was openly hostile towards me. He thought I blamed him for everything.
Rumours began that I was having an affair with a married man, whose wife was one of my close colleagues. I suspected Jack as being the origin of these lies.
2015 – One night I was so overcome with despair after being the subject of cruel taunts and damaging slander for several years, which had affected my work and social life, and eroded my self-confidence, I didn’t want to go home incase I bumped into Jack (I had seen him four times that day). I went to a park. I was the victim of a serious crime that night. The following morning a security guard found me and called an ambulance. I received serious head injuries that night which still cause me challenges five years later.
My sudden departure from London sparked more cruel rumours. I got rid of my smartphone because my heart was so utterly broken at what people were saying.
2016 – After a year of recovering from my physical injuries and the emotional trauma of my attack, I returned to London. My first boss was more than inappropriate on several occasions. I had to leave. My second boss was better. But the part time job (20 hours) I signed up for turned out to be 60+ hours each week. I was exhausted. One day I had an accident at work (my head!) and they had to take me to a local A&E. I was told I was not fit for work.
I had to go back up north to be with family for a couple of months.
2017 – I returned to London. I found a safe little nest, hidden away behind two huge security gates. I found suitable work nearby. I was able to resume my voluntary work activities and have expanded them so that I work for charities on an unpaid basis for more hours than I am engaged in paid work.
At the end of 2017 I met Goldfinch ❤ He returned to Australia 14 months after I met him.
2019 – I lost my little apricot. I visited Australia to visit Goldfinch.
In August, Jack and I just happened to be on the same road in London. Within two weeks he called me. He called again a few days later. Within a week, me met up to talk…twice. We talked a lot about the past. There was a lot of forgiveness and letting go of hurt and making peace. The next time we met, he told me his feelings for me.
In December, we told our families that we were now a couple.
2020 – In January, we started letting close friends know and socialising with our friends. We went to a couple of big events together. We walked through local streets and had coffee in cafes without feeling we had to hide from the world.
In March, when many people were desperately trying to get back to the UK because of travel disruption, Jack left the UK for Africa where he is working with international charities. (I am currently cross with him…but at the same time proud of him.)
JACK AND I WOULD NOT BE TOGETHER IF IT WAS NOT FOR SECOND CHANCES. I AM SO GLAD THAT HE GAVE ME ANOTHER CHANCE AND I AM VERY GLAD I GAVE HIM ANOTHER CHANCE.
My mind and heart are at peace about the past. Despite all the damage, despite it seeming like an impossible situation that could never be resolved…Jack and I are together (obviously not physically at the moment) and he and I make an amazing team. I treasure him all the more for knowing that we both blew our first shot, so we are both prizing the second chance we have extended to each other. I am thrilled that Jack and I have each other despite all that went before. In fact, the pain of the past has faded completely. I still remember what happened, but it no longer hurts like it used to. When Jack puts his arms around me…I feel joy that we beat all the odds!
My gorgeous Jack has finally made amends for his decision – I was not happy with him at all for going out on his African circuit.
Yesterday morning I was off work, and Jack finally rang me at a convenient time. I had strong words with him about not ringing me when I need to be sleeping. I told him I need my sleep before work because it is so demanding.
Well…we chatted for a long time yesterday. Jack is being wonderful. It is probably a good thing that he is not trapped in his London flat. It would drive him crazy. Where he is working, there are no restrictions on movement etc at the moment. However, they are educating people that there is an virus more threatening than Ebola and training everyone to wash their hands etc. There have only been a small number of cases where he is, all in connection with travellers from other countries. But so far no spread amongst the general population.
Jack has a been shooting lots of footage and he emailed some files to me which I watched last night. It was yet another reminder that happiness does not mean material possessions.
I do love Jack. I was upset that he left England at a stupid time. I don’t like being cross with him. If you know the story of Jack and Caramel, you know that a lot of forgiveness and love has already been applied to the damage done to our relationship. But I did make it clear how I felt about him leaving England when others were desperately trying to return. I have spoken to him about the possibility that he might not be able to get back when he is scheduled to.
But I guess we are both in a good position. I can be busy working as part of the NHS. He can be busy doing what he does, training and educating and equipping people in areas that need a bit of help. He always says, and I know what he means, he learns much much more than he teaches.
There are several charities he is doing some work for while he is out there. One of them send an enormous amount of medical equipment and other much needed supplies.
I miss Jack. But he is in the right place. I had to tell him though…e-mail is best at the moment. He is never going to catch me on the phone, and there is a risk if I did the answer the phone I would be tired and grumbley.
Oh Jack! What am I going to do with you?!!!!!!!!!!
He and I have been having fun, but from time to time we have had a serious discussion about the past. Some of what we have discussed has been easy-ish. I have asked him questions, he has asked me for questions. Hearing each other’s explanations has been helpful. We have both found the replies we have received made sense of things and we were satisfied,
However, there are some things, which neither of us have a real explanation for. We just had both at times lost control of our feelings, and spoke out of turn, and behaved badly. Both of us did that. It was a pressure cooker back then. It was very intense. We both made mistakes.
We have both expressed sorrow and regret over what we bear responsibility for. It’s been up to us to decide whether we could let the past go, whether we could forgive. Ignore the mention of marriage in the quote below (we are not rushing into that quite yet):
Goldfinch said to me a while ago that he was scratching his head wondering at my powers of forgiveness. But Jack has a lot to forgive me for too. We hurt each other back then. But I think we have both agreed that the reason why we lost control and said and did hurtful things, was that we had strong feelings for each other, which we couldn’t act on at the time because of the huge invasion of privacy that surrounded us.
I am more than ready to let the past go. Why would I want it to dominate and dictate my future? All I want to do is draw closer and closer to Jack, to let trust and love flourish. I can only hope he feels exactly the same way about me.
I am not as much of a deep thinker as I used to be. I used to think and contemplate a lot when I was a younger. But now I am more of a “liver”. I’ve already made sense of so many things in my head, it has provided me with a wonderful foundation to live with gusto! Having things sorted in your head does make for a better life on the whole.
But I find myself contemplating again of late. I met a wonderful man you know as Goldfinch, who has helped my heart to heal so much. He moved back to Australia. I went to Australia to visit and there I met a girl with a Bible in her hand, and we chatted for some time. We met a few days later for a coffee and I asked her many many questions.
She gave me her e-mail address. She recommended to me that I go to the London Excel Center at the end of August to listen to a program all about what a force real love is, how real love behaves. I sat there thinking of my ex-flatmate almost the whole time. I started praying earnestly about him after that.
A couple of weeks later I went for a walk across London and ended up on the same little side-street as he was. I was overwhelmed and walked past hoping he had not seen me. He saw me. He managed to convince one of my close friends to give him my number (I had expressly asked my close friends not to give out my new number to anyone after what happened with social media a few years ago.) He rang me. I just happened to have the day free (I don’t normally) and so I was home when he rang. I was relaxed. We talked. It was a very positive conversation, we even laughed. He said some lovely things, including offering an humble apology. I agreed to meet him.
And here we are weeks later…I can hardly believe it! I find myself contemplating everything, fascinated by the twists in this saga. It was almost as if I had to have some preparation for my heart and my mind to be ready. I mean to ask him if there was anything that prompted and prepared him for this. I feel as if I have been around the world and come back again. I have been travelling along this road of life, and although enjoying the journey, I was always wondering about the destination. Right now…I feel as if I have found him again. I can hear his voice in my sleep, it’s him whispering in the night. I can hear his heartbeat when I am resting in his arms. We are at peace, that’s amazing. Everything else that has happened has been an unexpected and wonderful bonus. It was the sense of peace I was searching for all this time.