I, of course, had no right to tell her what to do, nor to insist that she leave her husband. That had to be her choice. Whether I thought that choice good or not, she had to be left to make that choice. Often as a reader one can see that a situation will not work out, but one should never try to manipulate the person to make a choice. The choice has to be their own and nobody else’s. Someone wrote recently that there are no mistakes, only choices which take us in different directions. Whichever direction we take we learn from anyway. We never take a path that does not have any learning.
It is sooooo hard not to judge another and to criticize another. I have great sympathy with those who do because I know how hard it was for me when I was a teenager and my Dad was cursing all the black people moving into the country. Many years after that happened – as a young army wife in a barracks apartment – my neighbor was a young woman from Malaysia. I had, until then, never really known a person different from myself or from another country. This young woman taught me so much – I can never thank her enough. From then on I was never again afraid to communicate and be friends with someone different from me. I had only once allowed myself to do something with a black person. I had gone out to a club late at night and, as I was sitting with my friends, a black man had approached and asked me to dance with him. He was so dark – from Nigeria – and on holiday in England. I did not know what to do. If I refused I could look prejudiced, but if I agreed (a black man and a white woman at that time in the 1960’s was considered disgusting) I could have been termed a prostitute. I had one dance with him, sat down immediately afterwards, and left the club and went home. Thankfully, it was my first and last visit to the club, and I still remember the fear I felt on the dance floor at what people would think of me! I never spoke to another person like that again until I met my friend from Malaysia.