Happy Tyr’s Day
I always approach the subject of fidelity with a little trepidation. One the one hand, I have not been the most loyal of husbands in the very recent past. Having an affair kind of undercuts your credibility when it comes to lecturing anyone on the subject of fidelity. On the flip side, while I don’t recommend doing it this way, the lessons about fidelity I have learned from others and myself during that time were quite profound. So no lecture from me. I don’t have the moral authority here to tell you how to be loyal and show fidelity, but I do have a testimony here of some of the things I observed and learned that might help someone. That is if you are willing to listen before the shit hits the fan for you.
Before I begin though I want to share something my wife sent me on Sunday. When I saw this I told her thank you and that I loved her. What she couldn’t see, because it was sent via Messenger was the tears rolling down my face. I have no idea how she loves me so much. I just do not get it. She is the best example of fidelity I know.
I suppose that is the first observation I can make. That just because you are in the midst of being disloyal to someone, it doesn’t mean that they will automatically switch to being disloyal to you. That is the high road if you ask me. It is a rare person who can maintain fidelity to you while you are walking away from them. When you discover this, it can be a soul wrenching moment. I don’t recommend testing people’s loyalty to you this way, but it is very revealing who really loves you and continues to love you even when you are not being the most loyal person yourself.
I also can share the tale of two friends. I had two friends I would have considered very close at the time. Now, I want people to understand that as disloyal as I was to my wife at the time, I had this thing about loyalty to my friends and family that was still very strong. It was my marriage that was a problem to me at the time as well as my faith, but I would have marched through hell for my friends and family.
Not all the other relationships were problematic to me. I was actually depending on them to kind of get me through the crisis I was having at the time. One friend proved that his lifelong fidelity was true. He stuck by me, confronted me and loved me no matter what. He even kept a few secrets, although I knew he wanted to say something. I will give the man this, loyalty, that is fidelity runs through his veins like blood. He still remains my truest friend and for that I will be forever grateful.
The other who was a friend for almost a decade. He, on the other hand, deliberately set me up to look like I was trying to hide the affair to my congregation, and then came out and told the story himself to pass himself off as the ‘noble hero’. You find out who your real friends are in crisis moments and I never saw that one coming. I trusted him and that ended that day. I discovered very quickly that this person’s definition of friendship includes in his loyalty clause – “only if you agree with me and are useful to me.” He threw our relationship away as easily as tossing a piece of paper into the trash.
This was because I had become a liability to him and I was no longer useful to him. He not only abandoned me, but he had to kick me when I was down in his self-righteous sanctimonious arrogance. I will never trust him again. Even my wife, who had the greatest reason to do so, didn’t try to destroy me when I was walking away and hurting. This man did. He has nothing but my contempt now and anyone who trusts his friendship or loyalty is a fool.
My tale of two friends demonstrates fidelity in one and its lack in the other. In the end the first friend helped me see the light and the other just has contributed to my darkness. When you see a friend struggling, even with their own loyalty to someone, you don’t demonstrate fidelity and help them by being a disloyal prick yourself.
I suppose I have to say one other thing. Fidelity isn’t as black and white as people like to make it out to be. Sometimes you don’t know who to be loyal to at all. Sometimes you have to be loyal to a couple of people who are having problems with each other. There is a world of mines in this minefield you have to tiptoe around. Relationships can be toxic or one-sided. That is because I have also learned that fidelity is the strongest thing in the world when it is right. It is also the most fragile and explosive thing when it goes wrong. Handle with care.
To the Wolves and Ravens:
I have come to understand how much I need loyalty in my life. Not just people to be loyal to me but how being loyal makes me a better person. Oddly enough, I have been loyal to some of the people, even the above unfaithful friend, since all this happened. There is a professionalism to the ministry I maintain out of loyalty and respect for helping others and for people’s privacy. So I have a lot of confidences that were entrusted to me, that I still keep. I know a lot of things that could be damaging to others, but I keep them to myself out of fidelity. I refuse to be the same person my other friend was, that just because these relationships may have philosophical differences with me, or no longer have any use, I will not be a disloyal prick and reveal those secrets to damage people.
If I want anything right now, it is to strengthen my own loyalty to those who have proven loyal to me. I don’t know any other way to demonstrate my appreciation and respect for these people than to do this. I want a small group of friends that fidelity is strong both ways. I think I have a few. But I need a few more. I also want to get over the fear of making new friends, as new relationships cause me a little of the ‘who can a trust’ syndrome based on past experience. I want to get over that while remembering not everyone who says they are your friend is one, they only prove that with actions not words.
When I think about this rationally, Loyalty is difficult to intellectualize. It is much more something soul felt than rationalized. At the same time, I can see rationally that without it I won’t go forward. I just wont.
If experience teaches wisdom, then this last year is has a taught me the wisdom of fidelity. I can’t even put to words all the things I have learned. I guess I can say this mostly though. If you’re having a problem in your relationship with your significant other, the place you need to talk about it is with the other person. I also understand there are problems of pain and depression that keep you from doing this at times, so you have my empathy if you can’t. I get it. But if you can find a way, do it. It is far better to mend the fence than have to build a new one. Fidelity demands that.
I know I have little in the way of strength here at times. I am gaining new understandings of this virtue known as fidelity all the time. I really don’t see it as my weakest area and even last year going though my marriage issues, I still maintained fidelity with friends, family and others despite the fact it was strained in a couple of areas. One of those areas was my marriage and it is very much on the mend. The other was my faith and like my friend who betrayed me, I think I will say that this separation in relationship will be permanent. The real struggle now is to keep searching and walking to find the truth when it comes to faith and spirituality. But that is what this while blog is about.
The Rabyd Skald – Wandering Soul, Bard and Philosopher. The Grey Wayfarer.