It’s a word that was never a part of my vocabulary.
To be honest with you, I looked upon the whole idea with judgement and disdain. I know many divorced people. Most of them have what I considered to be good cause to leave their spouse. I just put my marriage and life up on a pedestal, you know the kind, super high, very rickety, and bound to send whatever is placed upon it crashing down. I just believed it would NEVER happen to me. It’s not like we didn’t have problems. We did. Every couple does. We clashed, we fought, we differed greatly in our opinions regarding certain things, but I always felt like there was a safety there. The safety I believed was there made me feel safe to clash and crash against one another. I was wrong. It wasn’t safe, in fact, it wasn’t there.
As our years together progressed the list of past hurts and wrongs grew. One day I woke up and looked at that list. It wasn’t a nice orderly list, it was everywhere. You could see the images and words of those past hurts like ghosts on the walls of our home. You could hear them echoing through the vents, rattling around angrily. You could smell them in the carpets and on the furniture, like an old odor that’s almost impossible to get rid of. They were written on my heart, they were etched into his. That day I woke up and realized it, I sought God. I sought help. He came alongside me, or so I believed.
I had this deep held belief, one that was so, so, so wrong. I told myself every day, “Just keep moving. Just keep moving. It will get better. It will go away.” I deceived myself with those words. And sometimes, I think, even worse than that, I deceived others with those words. No one was allowed in. No one. I told myself again and again, “We’re Christians. We love Jesus. We are missionaries. Our world is watching us.” In many ways I felt like we had been put on a pedestal as well. Even as we were falling from that height, I was clinging to the edge of it, praying that God would make it all go away, magically.
It wasn’t going away though. You see, that list of past hurts went back through my life. So did his. As I sit here tonight I realize, the scars on my heart were like scratches. You know, not too deep, and even at their deepest were fixable. The scars on his heart were like gashes, still open and bleeding.
So the options I had were to give in to it and live the rest of my life carrying my wounds and allowing them to define me or work on allowing those wounds to define who I become in better way. I gave in, in so many ways I gave in. But I sought help too. I started talking to someone. I started looking at the state of my heart. I started healing. The most interesting thing in all of that was that even as those scars were healing and my heart was ever so slowly being transformed, new cuts were being made. And I fooled myself into believing he was healing too. His healing might be different, or take longer, but he was doing it too.
And then my life as I knew it was over. Twelve years of marriage had come and gone…and so was he. In the beginning everything was hard. Everything reminded me of my life with him. I had thoughts for weeks of, “Oh, wait until I tell him, he’ll think that is so cool (or weird, or funny, or sad).” I had to constantly remind myself he wasn’t here. Most of my memories aren’t great ones. It’s not as if I’m re-writing history either. I am just finally allowing myself to see things as they were, and life with him was often very hard and painful. Life with him always felt like being on a rollercoaster, and if you know anything about me, you know how much I hate thrill rides. I like safety, comfort, peace.
Being back without him was okay. I have tried often to use the term, “single mom” in referring to my new life. I have reconnected with old friends. I am working on making new ones. I am moving forward. But this last week has been tough. I have grieved and mourned and screamed and yelled about it all more in this past week than I have since I left. Each day does not get easier. It’s hard. I’m pissed off. I am so angry with how he has handled my heart.
And then today I heard the word, “divorce.” My heart was flooded with relief, the same heart that couldn’t even fathom the concept was relieved to hear that word – relieved and scared. I have so many questions and worries. I can’t stop thinking about my boys. It dawned on me today, I must continue to work on living in the in-between space that is currently home. So many of you know the space I am referring to, the one between love and hate, anger and sadness, fear and relief, joy and grief. It, in so many ways, is the worst place to live, but I am learning in that space too. I am learning about myself, how to care for myself, and how to allow those who love me to care for me in healthy ways. I am learning about my boys, what they need, what they don’t need, how to love them while they live in that space.
This has been my longest, saddest, most tear-filled week yet. Sometimes in the pain the answers don’t come. Sometimes I just want to scream or go to bed until it’s all over. But where is God in this if I can’t seek him and find him in the darkest places? What does it say about me when my God is a God who only belongs in the bright moments, the moments of sheer blessing and joy?
He’s there, but He’s here too.