Still, I was unprepared for the feelings that washed over me when the answer presented itself. As it turned out, my preparation was insufficient for the hurt and confusion that surfaced and the uncertainty that lingered.
When I was working as a school counselor, and a student sat in front of me, bathed in regret or hurt over a choice he or she had made, I sometimes told them to remember that feeling. I didn't mean it in an unkind way. It's just that sometimes the only way we learn not to do things again is to remember how we felt the last time we did them.
And so I let the pain hang around for a while. I didn't push it away or try to shift blame. I did give in to other distractions, perhaps sooner than I should have, because I had deadlines to meet, and missing them would only create new problems.
I'm not sorry I stuck my neck out, and I'm not angry at the outcome. And now that I have my answer, I can put the matter to rest. I can box up all the unanswered questions that remain and remind myself that answers can't be gotten from those who don't want to give them.
Sounds simple enough, doesn't it? But the reality is that even when we get an answer, it's often not the one we were hoping for.
Letting go is hard. But for me, uncertainty is harder.