I woke up this morning, insanely early, and all I could think about was you, my friend, and how crazy I am about you.
Three games of spider solitaire and a cotton-headed stroll through my FB feed didn’t put a dent in the buzz in my heart and mind so, I’m here, on my couch in the wee hours, 7:37AM (don’t judge me), my coffee is steaming companionably in the Krispy Kreme mug while I try to find the words.
Nearly 12 years ago, Brian and I stood on at a crossroads. “Should I stay or should I go now?” became more than just a weird song from the 80’s. The clash was real. folks, didyouseewhatididthere?
Incredibly, instead of us ripping our little family apart, God somehow made this home, these hearts, brand new and stronger. I don’t deserve that grace, I don’t deserve this home, this man, these kids, this life.
The gratitude I feel nearly every day for the brilliance and blessing of life is always overwhelming and sometimes embarrassing.
We will celebrate 20 years this next month. That’s more than half of my life with him.
But this isn’t a “My Marriage Is Awesome” post, this is about you and why you take my breath away and make me stronger and more aware of God’s grace and unfailing love.
This is about your shattered home, broken family, whispered pain… You imagined growing old and gray together, taking the grandkids for a week, travels and Finally Time For Us. Instead, you’re buying basic furniture on Craigslist because, at this age, with children broken and wild-eyed, this is what starting over looks like.
Both of you. Separately. Alone.
I grew up in a world where divorce was Evil and those whose marriages broke were compartmentalized as damaged good. Unwelcome in our society and churches, they were barred from leadership while being social and spiritual pariah. Too many left our world and our sanctuaries and disappeared from our lives.
I didn’t know then why marriages failed. I don’t always know why now.
Maybe you both just gave up when the sharpening became too hard and the restoration was more weight than you could bear.
I don’t have a checklist or Wikipedia for all the whys and I don’t need to, my friend.
I’m not looking for a justification or an explanation. You don’t answer to me and I can’t mend this broken-ness. You know Who can help you, heal you, restore you, and you press hard and wild into God’s arms.
I’ve seen some turn desperate and angry for a season. That’s ok. It’s a desperate and angry thing forced onto you and I applaud you for looking at the Jabberwocky and not backing down.
While the days and weeks and months turn into years, you stand back up, brush yourself off, gather the nearest and dearest close and live again.
Because you are a survivor.
Some of you reconciled with that broken covenant and new love came up out of the wildfire’s devastation like pine barrens and goldenrod. Beauty once nearly extinct needed a fire to reclaim a right to exist.
You give me hope.
The harshest reality I could imagine is having the fabric of hearts ripped to pieces and jerked from hands held out to connect and caress. The deepest wound I fear is being alone, without these three humans who share my world and with whom I find a great deal of security and identity, purpose and vision.
But you survived it. Many of you even thrived!!! You found new homes, new careers, some found new love, and I have witnessed simplicity and an authenticity of being shining from eyes and souls tempered by pain. To have experienced such deep loss, and yet lived, is a triumph.
Sure, you may have a few more gray hairs and your voice is hoarse from those long, long talks with God about the nature of love. Introspection can take all your effort as you examine and evaluate years, often decades, spent with someone who quit doing the work of marriage. It’s left an indelible mark but you aren’t worried about being Well Put Together anymore. Living moment by moment, in an Indescribable Now, letting go of the façade of normal to become genuinely, exquisitely, refined by both pain and overcoming, you deserve to stand proud and redeemed.
Frankly, you inspire me.