Thursday, May 20, 2010

There but for the grace…

"There but for the grace of God go I" ~A phrase attributed to sixteenth century writer John Bradford. Defined as recognition that others' misfortune could be one's own, if it weren't for the blessing/kindness/luck bestowed by fate or the Divine.

I talked to a friend of mine today. We were coworkers for about two years and stayed in touch. Ironically, she married a guy I dated on-again, off-again (mostly off) for a year. He and I grew up in the same "circle" and if you can believe this, his bouge was bigger than mine. My parents knew his parents and a bunch of bougie friends were encouraging the match. On a very superficial level, we matched. He was in medical school, I was beginning my climb up the corporate ladder.

I realized very early on that he was not the brightest bulb in the lamp. I'm serious, he wasn't a smart guy. Sort of sweet in a simple adoring way but not smart. Like not smart enough to date me and not grab other women's asses and think I wouldn't find out about it. Not smart enough to realize that he left me a voice message meant for another woman (wrong name and all). He wanted to be a player and wanted a woman to either not recognize it or look the other way. He had the wrong one. We parted ways no harm, no foul. I moved to California.

I recall that he came out the Bay Area for a convention and asked to see me. I offered to pick him up from the airport and take him to his hotel (thinking that would fulfill my obligation). Somehow that translated for him into "Come stay with me while you're in town." When I picked him up from the airport and asked him where he was staying, he replied, "With you." I tried (unsuccessfully) to get him into a hotel that he could afford near his convention site. I got him into one for the next night and agreed that he could stay in my guest room. We met my older brother (who was also in town) for dinner and that two-hour time period cemented our incompatibility (if I had any doubts). BougieOlderBro and I chatted, bantered and played our usual game of conversational tennis. Dude never even got a racquet in his hand.

Back at my place, I reiterated my "we're just friends, enjoy the guest room" speech and retired for the evening. Please tell me why this ninja tried the midnight tiptoe, sliding into bed move? I never moved but whispered to him what might happen to some of his extremities if he didn't slide on out the way he rolled in. We never spoke of it and I dropped him at his hotel early the next morning.

Fast forward to present day, close to a decade later. My friend is a quite a few years into her marriage with him (turns out they were dating when he tried the midnight creep) and has two kids. He's on the creep again and not doing a good job of hiding it. For reasons unknown, he is not practicing medicine but working in hospital administration which he apparently hates. He's miserable and making her miserable on top of her misery. By the way, I never told her that I used to date her husband. I just told her we were friends from childhood, which was true. So it was a little jarring when she asked me what I would do in her position. I opted out of answering by using my no motherhood-never married card.

I couldn't help but thank my lucky stars that I bailed when I did. It's one thing to be miserable with a shady dude in a casual dating relationship. It's a whole other thing when it's the father of your kids that you promised to have and to hold forever and ever.

Anyway, I know this was kind of random. But I was talking to ASmith86 about the show Snapped and why it's crazily addictive. I said it was a case of "there but for the grace of God…" and somehow the phrase fit this situation as well.

So Bougieland – ever feel like you definitely dodged a bullet? Watched someone going through something and though you empathized "there but for the grace" popped into your head? Random thoughts on exes you don't miss AT ALL? Thoughts, comments, insights? The floor is yours…

22 comments:

Javalicious said...

My roommate from college was laid off a year ago. Lost her condo, moved in with her parents, traded in her lovely hybrid for a hooptie and spent some time as the only double-degreed person folding pants at the Gap. We worked for the same company and I was on the layoff list as well. I was fortunate to transfer to a different department in a different city for a slight pay cut.

So yeah... I'm feeling this one.

Sasha Stiletto said...

My last relationship? Near the end? I felt I was one rainy day away from an episode of Snapped. Literally had the Grace of God moment.

JeffK said...

I read your blog but this is my first comment. Hit close to home. I smiled reading your first question becuase I literally dodged a bullet. coming out of a club, fool rolls up and starts shooting for reasons unclear. I ducked left, my friend ducked right. He was hit, I was not. He's alive but with diminshed mental capacity. I think about it alot. Was is fate, divine intervention or luck of the draw?

diamond life said...

So the underlying morale to your story - be happy with where you are today because you could be so much worse off... cosign!

ASmith said...

Ahh yes... but for the grace of God... #letthechurchsayamen

When I was a 13 year old 9th grader at a prestigious day/boarding private school, I joined the community service program. That same year, the community service program began working at a site unlike the other after-school sites we worked with. This site was for older students -- teenagers. Kids my age. All of the after-school sites we worked with were located in one of the city's housing projects. So ya'll already know what we're dealing with.

I showed up at this site on the first day and fell in love <-- whole other story...

However, what struck me almost immediately was that these kids weren't different from me, except that I'd had the fortune of attending a really good college prep school. They looked up to me even though I was the same age, and in many cases younger, than they were. My fortune surely didn't come from having wealthy parents. It was literally the scheme, scheme, plot, plotting of my mother aka the grace of God.

I really see that in a lot of situations. I'm not but one misstep from a lot of really sad situations. It helps keep things in perspective when you see a homeless person asking for money, or hear about families who struggle to keep food on the table. It could always be you...

Sarah said...

It is really sad when kids are involved. You know those kids know Mom and Dad are not happy and they absorb it all and suffer from anxiety and maybe depression and anger as a result. Hopefully there is a counselor involved somehow.

The only one of my exs that I some times miss is the one I was with in my 20s. We were really good friends and I miss the friendship. I haven't spoken to him since 2001 when he told me he was getting married. If I saw him today, I don't know what I'd say. I do hope he is happy wherever he is out there, though. I really don't miss the last ex. He had my mind so twisted when I left that I thought I might want to see him again, but now when thoughts about him cross my mind, my brow furrows, my lips form a tight line, and I feel like kicking the chair or throwing my tea cup. *sigh*

glamah@cococooks said...

Sigh... Befor CS I had this brief crazy bad boy relatonship or "thing" s he would say. Anway it was turbelent and he was creeping and drinking, and Lord knows whats else. Seems he eventually married the girl he was creeping on me with ( some chic from Target) and she 'tamed him" and they had a baby. It took a while but they got married and she moved to Australia with him. I thank the Lord it wasnt me and I pray he doesnt get drinking and creeping again with the sociopath alcoholic. There would be nothing worse than being trapped in OZ living with that. So "There Before The Grace Of God Go I " indeed! But through his network, I met my CS, and wouldnt have it any other way.

UDK said...

I've been thinking about this a lot lately - did you hear the story of the Wes Moores?

OneChele said...

I did - saw him on Oprah, bought the book but I haven't started reading it yet. http://theotherwesmoore.com/

MeetCharlieL said...

I'm reading it now. Life is such a series of choices and consequences.

Vnss said...

Longtime reader, first time commenter. Just wanted to say thanks. I REALLY needed this today.

maureen palmer said...

I feel this topic; my ex ,who now indulged me with his friendship on facebook. The things I have seen on his page has me saying thank you Lord. Never mind when he broke off the relationship I was so distraught and almost lost my mind. One occasion that is vivid in my memory was me driving home and crying so hard to the point I could not see where I was going, to make matters worse it was raining cats & dogs that day.

OneChele said...

Thanks for commenting! And you are welcome ;-)

OneChele said...

Thanks for sharing... wow, you are definitely blessed.

maureen palmer said...

Thanks for the link, will check out now that school is out for 2 weeks.

taut_7 said...

i think i've dodged a couple of bullets in my day. the biggest one i can think of is this girl i really, REALLY liked in high school. she kind of played me to the left. we went to prom but she two-timed me for this local drug dealer. i was hurt at the time but in retrospect i should have been like good ridden. fast forward about 6-7 years and now i'm away from home. i came home for my birthday and while home i had to renew my licence (i will always have a MD licence). while in the MVA i run into the same girl who was there with her baby's father (the drug dealer). i think she had a cold because she was looking kind of bad and her baby's father is like 5'9" (i'm 6'6") so i kind of had to look down on him. lol so glad i dodged that one. *sigh of relief*

happinessisme said...

Had a boyfriend from high school who I was with for close to two years. He was a total lush and druggie with multiple other side chicks. After breaking up a few years later her gets some 16 or 17 year old pregnant at 21. Now he has a three year old that he can't/won't support because of his selfishness and addictions. I've meet the B.mama and she seems cool but i always think, "better her than me."

sunt97 said...

I told my kids fathers ex when I bumped into her a year few years ago. We chit chatted and she was not surprised at what kind of man he had become. She really dodged a bullet with him. Unfortunately I can't say I have ever had one of those moments. I seem to run head on into them.

Peace, Love and Chocolate
Tiffany

soulsistah02 said...

A few years ago, I dated a man with an impressive on-paper personality. He had all the "right" qualifications: an educator, intellectually curious, divorced, no children, homeowner, attractive, double-degreed, and to boot he played semi-professional football to stay in shape. So, what was the problem? Actually there were several: (1) we subscribed to different religious beliefs (I'm Christian, he's Muslim...Nation of Islam Muslim); (2) apparently he wasn't used to dating someone who could match wits with him and wasn't impressed by his status; (3) the man tried to slip sexual innuendo every chance he got; and (4) always tried to discount my considerable academic and professional achievements.

BougieLand, it's dangerous to be desperate; you'll accept almost anything.

We went on this rollercoaster of arguing and putting each other down for about six months. It had gotten to the point where I began to doubt myself and my abilities. One night, as I was sleep, the Lord showed me exactly what would happen to me if I stayed in the situation. It scared me so bad until I afraid to return to sleep. Even though I was scared, I still waited several days to tell the brother I could no longer see him. (Yeah, real stupid.)

Anyways, I got up the nerve to call him and tell him that it was over. His response, "F--k you." Dial tone. But that's not the end...

The NEXT day I was talking to my sister and she informed me that she was having a conversation with an acquaintance of hers and the brother (I had just broke up with) name came up. The acquaintance revealed the reason why the brother had left his job at a local private college to work for a community college because he was found to have had sexual relations with young female students! You could imagine my shock and horror over this news! I couldn't believe that I was dating a quasi-pedophile! I thank the Lord that I never gave him any.

From what I heard, he's married again and giving his new wife headaches. Better her and not me.

OneChele said...

You DEFINITELY dodged a bullet... Thank GOD you got out while the getting was good

Michele said...

I've been divorced for almost nine years. I saw a recent photo of my ex (he's 38 years old) all hugged up with his woman and they were wearing matching t-shirts that said, "No Bitch Ass Ness". Matching shirts? Seriously? I definitely dodged a bullet with that one.

Nadette@Eat, Read, Rant! said...

Chele, oh yes, I have definitely been saved by the grace of God. and the story goes like this:
just a few short years ago, I was an undergrad in college, and was madly infatuated with one of my guy friends (i had many back then, not so much these days). He was attractive, he was smart, and funny, and kinda cool (because i'm still that nerdy girl with the big red glasses on the inside) and He seemed to really enjoy being my friend. He also like to send me mixed signals, which only enabled my infatuation. He was a year ahead of me, he graduated and that summer we hung out with a group of others several times during that summer. there was a notorious "drunken white girl" incident that happened a bday party in baltimore--there was lots of alcohol involved, a dance floor, perhaps some lip action--i'm still embarrassed. He left for grad school in OHIO (really, son?) and left me destitue and heartbroken on the east coast during my senior year. (important info of note: NONE of my other guy friends ever liked him, and didn't even want me to be his friend. there was question about his sexuality, AND he dated a girl i wasn't close with but knew her well enough the summer before we became friends and apparantly wasn't a fan of using protection). We fell out of touch while he was away, and then he came back to the east coast during my first year of grad school and I needed a roomate for my second year of grad school. At this point, i was mostly over my devastating infatuation with this fool, but not wise enough to think that us trying to be roomates was UNWISE. fast forward to the week of our move in date, the FIRST DAY classes to be specific and d and he calls me around 6am saying he was bailing on me and apartment which i've already signed the lease for and paid half the security deposit--YES i'm serious! After my life fell apart and was put back together again in a matter of days, I had already decided I was DONE with this guy. Then I learned some really interesting information about him in the coming months--like that he had a almost two year old daugher that he WASN'T claiming--NO BULLSHIGGITY! that he had been fired from his job at the Univeristy, that he had been trying to get at TWO of my closest girlfriends from college, AND that he was most likely on the down low. There but for the Grace of God! I never did get to any of the things I wanted to do with him, all to my benefit. I can't say that about the girl that I wasn't close with then, but am quite good friends with now. I'm quite sure she regrets that shiggity. But for the Grace...

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