As you can imagine, going through a divorce and finding out various things about your beloved mate of thirty years that are less than appealing, less than honest, can alter a girl's view on the entire species of men.
I started down that road, beginning to view all men through a skewed lens when the universe set down three men in my path to stop me from making that mistake.
They have all appeared, or reappeared in my life recently to teach me certain things, to make me understand that there are good, solid, decent men out there. They are my three wise men, bearing their own gifts and appearing just when I needed them to.
The first is rough around the edges, but with a heart of gold. He drives a big pickup truck and a Harley. He looks out for me, but never takes away my independence. He grounds me when I need it, and makes me smile with his bluntness and his honesty. He's been through similar circumstances and so, knowing the holidays would be hard, called on a regular basis to check up on how I was doing. He takes me for rides in his pickup to get veggie burgers, always makes sure I have a Diet Pepsi when I need it, and encourages me in the art of swearing when it feels good. He and I are unlikely friends, but we are indeed, friends.
The second is a man I have known for years and years. He now lives on the east coast. When he heard of my divorce he wrote me, sent me a box of healing presents, and a paper hug (his arms, traced out on paper, taped together). He is survivor of divorce and understands the pain of the process. He is also a survivor of cancer, of numerous surgeries, of many of life's trials. Through it all, however, he still maintains a sense of generosity and empathy. He may not know it, but he inspires me with his incredible courage. I recently spent time with him and sitting across from him, eating pizza and laughing, I was reminded how uncomplicated a good friendship can be.
A third man has recently entered/re-entered my life as evidence that smart, kind, patient men exist. Slogged down with all of the emotional garbage of divorce, and the emerging details that threaten my own sense of self-worth, I was beginning to believe some of the negative voices in my head. It was then this friend appeared to remind me that I am indeed a woman of substance, style, value and worth. He lives an hour away, and so I do not see him often, but when we do get together, we take long walks together and talk about everything under the sun. He encourages me on those days when I can't look at one more legal document. He writes me letters that make me smile. He is soft-spoken, and I am not, but we share the same sense of humor. He has brought back my smile, and optimism about men in general. He actually makes me think that maybe, someday, I might be able to trust someone with my battered heart again.
The world is filled with good people, and I am so lucky to be surrounded by them. In my family, and at my work, I have so many examples of good, sincere men of principle. However, I can't help but think that some force brought these three into my life to help me along this path at this time.
Each came, and in his own way helped me to learn a lesson I needed: not to take life so seriously, to face challenges with courage, and to trust in the future and all the incredible possibilities that await there.