If you leave someone at least tell them why, because what’s more painful than being abandoned, is knowing you’re not worth any explanation.
Earlier today I read an article in a pet magazine dealing with the subject of how cruel it is to abandon one’s pet. The author headed his article with a photo showing a recently abandoned dog left in the middle of the road by his owner. The dog was anxiously glancing down the road, painfully watching his former owner disappearing out of sight. Dogs are social animals and will usually form a very close bond with anyone who calls himself the dog’s owner. That was a cruel act!
The longer I looked at the photo of that abandoned dog, the more aware I became of the dog’s feeling of just having been abandoned. I finally had to turn the page of that magazine. If that dog’s heart didn’t break at that moment, mine almost did! I wished that I could have run up to that dog, embraced it, and assured it that it was not abandoned: that it was loved! But, a greater tragedy is, how common abandonment is in our world today, and how negatively indelible such an experience is upon the soul … examples: a father abandons his wife and children often without explanation or forewarning; a student, having difficulty with a school assignment, finds the teacher disinterested in his problem—go figure it out for yourself; a young girl, madly in love with a young man is left stranded on the dance floor; or, probably worst case of all, praying to God for help and find that He has seemingly left you to face your problem alone. This happened to me once.
Many years ago when I was still in the military. We had just come home after spending six weeks in intensive military exercises. I missed my wife and children and, as I walked down the few remaining sidewalk steps to my front door, I had visions of being greeted by a loving wife and children. Also, I was tired and was looking forward to a restful night in my own, comfortable bed. However, as I entered my house, instead of finding the love and warmth of a family that I was anticipating, I found a note that my wife, along with my children, had left me for the arms of another man! My world crashed!
Because our unit had arrived back in camp from field exercises late in the afternoon, and we were all quite tired, our Captain said that we might as well just take our weapons home with us, and we could hand them back in to Ordnance Stores in the morning, so I still had my sten gun with me, our unit’s assigned weapon. I recall sitting down on our couch trying to make sense of a world that had just collapsed around me. What had I done to deserve this?
“Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani? that is to say, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” — Matthew 27:46
My sten gun held approximately 30 rounds of .9mm bullets in its magazine. I held the gun to my head. The trigger pull was about one quarter of an inch, then it would fire … in a moment, I would be able to ask my Maker, personally, why He had abandoned me, and what I had done to deserve such an unwelcome homecoming from military exercises!
But even in my grief, my trigger finger froze and refused to “pull.” Try as I might, I could not pull that trigger! In frustration, I threw the gun onto the floor and covered my face with my hands and began to sob. Then I heard it: that almost imperceptible voice in my head that quietly, calmly, lovingly said: “Is she worth you taking your life like this?” They were only nine simple words, but in that brief, calming moment, a volume of understanding unfolded inside of me.
My God had not abandoned me!
In time, my failed marriage began to heal and my life started taking on new meaning. I found that the experience with my failed marriage greatly strengthened my spirit, and as a result, was able to better handle many of the future challenges that life was about to bless me with. I learned that, when one door closes, God opens another, often a better one, just to the right of the closed door!
I found that life was really an adventure, and it was all the good times, mixed in with the bad, that made my soul blossom into the great person that I am today!
“Adam fell that men might be; and men are, that they might have joy” — 2 Nephi 2:25