Sunday, May 07, 2006

Sunday, May 7, 2006. A really good day.

I am not a morning person. Never have been, and despite my best efforts, whether I arise early or not, I will never be one. When I have to be somewhere early I have trouble getting to sleep the night before. I don't know whether I'm afraid I'll oversleep, or what, but I just can't relax into that blessed state of slumber. So last night, despite attempting to get to sleep by 9, I finally fell asleep after one. My alarm was set for 5:00. I tried. Seriously I did. But, I wound up getting up at about 5:45, needing to leave by 6:10. I know myself well enough that I had planned my wardrobe and done my hair before going to bed. Bleary-eyed and grooming are not a good mix.

I woke with the songs from the worship set running through my mind. I woke singing "You were. You are. You will always be." What a great way to start the day. I began praying for the morning and the people who would be there on a difficult morning, when the sermon was on divorce.

Anyway, I arrived at church at the appointed hour--6:30am, mocha latte protein drink in hand. The morning went well. We had Sean and John step in from New Life School of Worship (?) on electric guitar and bass. They were amazing! With a shortened worship set of three numbers, Unchanged, You Said and Give Thanks to the Lord, it was a beautiful and wonderful message in music. The message leading into the sermon was that God is the same yesterday today and tomorrow, he has promised that he will answer when we call and that he is a God of healing, and that we can thank and praise him for that. A great way to lead into a message telling folks that no matter how difficult your marriage, barring physical abuse and serial adultery, you need to make whatever effort it takes to work out your marriage, because God hates divorce, he blessed faithfulness and keeping your vow, it is a legacy you leave to your children and builds character--in you.

When you are in pain, it is tough to hear "stick it out", and "work harder". It seems so much easier to walk away, to ease a weary and wounded heart. We tell ourselves that the kids will be fine, but studies show they bear lasting scars. And we do too. I've seen it over and over, women, men, children--devastated due to divorce. It rends the fabric of self apart.

I don't mean to sound self-righteous, because I certainly am not. I left Steve--twice. I didn't believe in divorce, but prayed for his death or mine to release me from this painful state. I can only tell you that God honored my feeble prayers, when I would add, don't do what I want, do what you want and help me to want the same thing. I used to pray, God help me to Want to want what you want.

The separations tore the kids up. I believe they have lasting scars, lasting insecurities. Oh how I wish I had found another way. I wish someone had come along side me with wisdom and discernement early on.

It wasn't until Alex was 4 or 5 that we were flooded out, taken in by our friends Craig and Kathi (we didn't even know them at the time), and they began to show me how a marriage could look, and I began to see what was wrong with ME, not Steve. They were gentle with me, because I was the walking wounded and could only hear so much.

It took many difficult years. I tell people that the first seventeen years were rough, but since then they've been pretty good. I occasionally get really irritated, and am occasionally really irritating, but we work it out. Some things will never change.

Back to this morning. Practice, Run through and two services later, I believe there were people who were hit between the eyes. I only hope that they reach out for help through the tough times. The church wants to be there for them.

After church was the small group leaders meeting. Lunch, talking, a challenge, discussion and prayer. Then (after eating fried chicken and getting really sick) home to sleep for the next 4.5 - 5 hours. So now I am awake, having had a delightful video conference with my parents. What a time we live in.

Mom and Dad have been married for... is it 49 years? Steve and I just passed our 24th anniversary in December. Grandma and Grandpa Carlson must have been married for around 50 years. It is an accomplishment that two people from such disparate backgrounds, different personalities and hot spots can work through the tough times and stay married.

Having gone through the tough times together gives us a shared history that I would never have with another person. Plus, as I like to say, Steve remembers me skinny, and I remember him with hair. We could never have that with anyone else.

A really good day. Steve and I have gotten over our quarreling and ugliness earlier this week and I managed to keep down some beef and brocolli. It doesn't take much for me to be pleased.

1 comment:

Beth said...

Too funny - "Steve remembers me skinny, and I remember him with hair" - boy that's a great quote that sums up one reason for longevity!

Your openness about your own experience is refreshing. My dad (going on 55 yrs married now) used to say that people who stay married may go through just as much conflict as those who eventually part. And my parents just recently started sharing more of these stories. I think we who are happily married could probably stand to be a bit more vulnerable with those around us. The pain of conflict with Mitch is agonizing, but it is usually over quickly, because we both can't stand to be in that condition and do everything we can to get back together again. I cannot even imagine living like that over a long period of time, having no hope of change. I just learned of another friend's divorce yesterday, and my heart aches for her and her kids - about my kids' age. For my own marriage, actually the first maybe 7 or so years were like a honeymoon and then it started getting tougher - before that we really had little to disagree over, ludicrous as that may sound :-) So far we've never spent a night apart due to conflict, although we came very close (he came back to bed about 2 a.m.) That was alarming enough!