Alan and Elizabeth were a happy couple living a contended life with their two children, Tom and Jenny.
After about ten years into their marriage, Alan faced a few set- backs in his job while Elizabeth kept rising in her position at work. There was a significant difference in their levels of income with Alan's financial contribution to the home being much less than that of his wife. This resulted in frequent arguments and much unpleasantness in a once happy and peaceful home.
Elizabeth was an efficient and resolute woman who carried out her duties to the total satisfaction of the organization she worked for. As part of her duties she was called to travel much within the country and overseas, attending meetings and official functions. Her many accomplishments resulted in due recognition and rapid career advancement.
Along with the success came a total change in life-style that called for greater socializing with the elite of society. This also gave Elizabeth the opportunity to meet influential business persons who helped promote business for her company. Unfortunately, blinded by her success, Elizabeth failed to realize that in the making of a top career woman, she was rapidly drifting away from home and family.
Alan who was distressed and disappointed about his wife's behavior found it difficult to concentrate on his work anymore. This gave way to costly errors resulting in loss of business and money. Naturally when the company decided to trim down the staff, Alan was on the list and within two months he had lost his job.
The situation at home deteriorated further. Elizabeth was away traveling on business and Alan with no income of his own was left behind to take care of the family. Every time Alan attempted to talk to Elizabeth about home expenses she got agitated, took it on the children and was critical towards him.
Alan was ready to endure the situation for the sake of the children. His continuous search for work sometimes found him lucky with ad-hoc jobs that brought in some money. However his paltry earnings were insufficient and the troubles got bigger by the day.
Meanwhile Alan mad every effort to improve the relationship with his wife. This only increased her bragging about her career enhancement and her intensifying position in the social stratum. Whenever Alan was invited to accompany her for social events she provided excuses and avoided taking him along. She even told her colleague, Anna, "Alan doesn't even have a proper job, so how can HE associate with our board members?"
One day Alan mentioned to Elizabeth, "You are hardly at home. I don't remember the last time we had a meal together or for that matter we don't even go out as a family."
She chuckled, and snapped back "Can you even afford to take us out for a meal"?
Elizabeth's indifference towards the family and Alan in particular was very hard to endure
George was the CEO of a company with whom Elizabeth met regularly on business trips to Portland. He was a good-looking man of similar age; married with three children. On Elizabeth's visit to Portland, she would meet up with George and spend plenty of time discussing business deals that would benefit both companies. On this particular day they signed a multi-million dollar contract on behalf of their respective companies and since it was an occasion worthy of celebration George invited Elizabeth to dinner; just the two of them.
This meeting was to be the beginning and the end.
When Elizabeth returned home she was a totally different person. Her boasting about recent achievements and her so called elevated social status was incessant. She picked on Alan for the unpaid bills and school fees that were awaiting settlement. Though Alan took this opportunity to explain his position, it was of no avail.
Elizabeth had a long conversation in private with George. She said "George, I can't stay in this house anymore, I intend taking a week's leave so that I may come over there." George replied," You should know what's best for you. "You're most welcome."
The next day Elizabeth informed Alan that she couldn't go on sacrificing her entire income for the upkeep of the family and she intended filing divorce papers. Alan begged," Liz, please think of the situation of the family, even if you leave me please do not leave the children. They are helpless and innocent and they need you.
She adamantly said, "No, there will not be any change in my decision." Alan then said, "Elizabeth, if your decision is final, then I wish you well and pray that God will guide and protect you. REMEMBER, THE DOORS ARE ALWAYS OPEN FOR YOU"
Elizabeth left home the same day, met George and they spent the night together. George reiterated that he could move out of his home but would not divorce his wife because of the children and would have to go on living in the area because of his job.
Elizabeth got her divorce from Alan and George left home to live with her. What made George different from Elizabeth was that though living away from home he was thoughtful about his children, seeing them regularly and attending to their need while Elizabeth was clearly different.
Here was a distinct case of Divorce and Adultery.
In the meantime, Alan found a job and he along with his children relocated themselves in a new state. With time he felt the lost light coming back to his life; the children were excelling in their studies and his present job security encouraged him to purchase a house on mortgage.
Meanwhile the two children, both employed in part-time jobs, willingly contributed towards the family's upkeep. Both the children wanted Alan to get married again but he decided to remain single for their sake.
Time passed by: Tom read for his Bachelor's degree in Science, and Jenny got qualified in nursing.
Meanwhile the two year relationship between Elizabeth and George was witnessing chaos and unpleasantness. This was mainly due to, Elizabeth pressurizing George to divorce his wife and marry her.
Just after one of those "simmering" arguments George proceeded to leave the apartment, Elizabeth who saw him go ran after him and got into the car. George, who so badly needed to get away, unsure about were to go next, drove up to a way-out Pub.
Inside, George asked Elizabeth,"What would you like to drink?" She said, "Anything that will get me drunk fast". George continued to have light beers while Elizabeth was on Gin and tonic. The atmosphere was cordial until Elizabeth touched a sensitive note by saying "George, you cheated me and put me on the road". The argument continued on different aspects of the relationship, while more drinks were being consumed. It was very bitter moment for both when they decided to leave the Pub.
On their way home their vehicle met with a nasty accident: George was pronounced dead on admission to the hospital, and Elizabeth had an amputated leg. There was total chaos and confusion!
Consequently, Elizabeth lost her job but was entitled to a large sum of money as settlement for her disability. George's family lost him completely; the man, who preferred his paramour, but still kept his family for the sake of his children.
Just about three months after the debacle, Elizabeth started looking for her lost family. Even after numerous telephone calls to friends and colleagues, she failed to locate the family. She began asking God for forgiveness for all her sins and for putting George's family into this very sad and difficult situation.
One day at the doctors, she saw a familiar figure walk in. It was Alan's younger brother, surprised to see Elizabeth on crutches he came up to her and inquired. She related all what had happened and asked after Alan and the children. Having got Alan's telephone number she called him immediately. Tom who answered the phone was overjoyed to hear his mother's voice; Elizabeth broke down crying and could not speak a word.
A few moments later Tom called back inquiring after her "Mom, how are you and how is everything with you?" She did not answer but continued apologizing for leaving them.
Subsequently, Elizabeth called Alan and when he responded she cried "Alan, please forgive me, forgive me for betraying you and being treacherous". Alan said to her,"Elizabeth, let's forget the past, remember I still love you, "REMEMBER THE DOORS ARE ALWAYS OPEN FOR YOU".
In a matter of a few days Elizabeth was back with the family. Alan and the children were very sad to see her getting about in a wheel chair, and they made every effort to shower her with the best love and care. When she told Alan that she had received a large amount of money as accident claim, Alan suggested that 75% of it be given to George's family; who had lost him forever.
Life's a long yet tough road, and one should realize that in the midst of all the extravagance and rather artificial lifestyles that people get attracted to, it's important to grasp that, "The secret of a good life is to have the right loyalties and hold them in the right scale of values."
- Norman Thomas-