An Affair

Today I am sad. Very sad. A friend of mine left his wife and children and went to live with another woman. There are so many who do it nowadays, you may tell me. And yet I really feel bad. This man is my friend. I have spent hours trying to help him. And yet all to no avail…

I tried to call him several times. He does not answer my calls. I even went to his workplace. He refused to come out and speak. I feel bad… I suppose I can go to the house where he is living. But I feel awkward. And besides, one can force a horse to the spring of water but one cannot make him drink!

When I was growing up, 'adultery' was a word one whispered. Today we use the word 'affair'. I suppose 'affair' has an air of mystery and romance and excitement. We have a tendency to change even the language to suit our immorality!

The media seem to assume and encourage it. It is easy to fall into this trap. Everyone is doing it. So it cannot be that bad. Why should I keep living with this nagging wife/vicious husband who do not love me anymore? And the children?, sometimes I dare to ask. Hard luck to them! Perhaps they are better off without their parents constantly battling against each other… Stupid!

We may change the language, but the reality is the same. Dishonesty in its crudest sense. The Scripture does not balk from speaking about adultery and its consequences. The story of David and Bathsheba stands out.

A king sees a woman naked taking a bath. He desires her in his heart. He makes love to her. She finds herself pregnant. She tells the king. He is worried that others may find out. So he maneuvers the death of her husband. Bathsheba joins the king in his household. Problem solved! Or is it?!

A very deep story. This king is a man of God - chosen, blessed and commissioned by God to a mission. And yet he fell badly. No one is immune to sin. No one is immune to an extramarital affair. Even people who are near the altar and go to Church frequently.

Not even the past guarantees the future. David was a very successful man. Anyone, regardless of how many victories he has won, can fall disastrously.

The whole point of the story (our story, included) is that these things do not just happen! There is always a history behind them. A history made up of uncontrolled desires, thoughts, and fantasies. A tiny sin here, a tiny sin there… lead to the big sin! Our body that is supposed to be our servant becomes the master.

Yes, we may try to excuse, rationalize, and conceal sin when we do it. We can deceive ourselves. The problem is that even though sin can be enjoyable, yet it always leaves deep scars, not only on those who perpetrate it but also on the people close to us and whom we claim to love. One night of passion can spark years of family pain.

David had to pay a very high price. The child born out of this adulterous relationship died. His daughter Tamar was violated, Ammon his son was slain, Absalom his favorite, was later slaughtered! You cannot play with sin and win! One ALWAYS loses. Tears are shed. Hearts are broken. The other partner is traumatized. Children are scandalized - the rug has been pulled from under their feet. Everyone suffers. I know. I can see the pain written on the faces…

Is this going to be another story with a sad ending? I do not know. I hope not.

There was an elderly man riding on a bus holding a bouquet of roses. A young woman sitting in the seat across the passageway kept taking a quick look at the flowers. The bus came to a stop. The man got up looked at the young woman and said, "Here, I can see you love these flowers and I think my wife would love you to have them. I'll tell her I gave them to you." The girl took the flowers and watched the old man get off the bus and walk through the gate of a small cemetery.

May the Lord give each married couple that loyalty and devotion 'till death do us apart' and then a lot more...

(c) Fr. Pius Sammut, OCD. Permission is hereby granted for any non-commercial use, provided that the content is unaltered from its original state, if this copyright notice is included.