Technology and social media have this lovely little trick of reminding you exactly what you were doing on this day in past years. These last few days have been interesting to relive.
Last year I was walking through the heartbreaking tragedy of divorce. Divorce can be such an isolating thing, causing a tidal wave of rejection, doubt, regret, and grief. Yet, the memories I am seeing paint a different picture. The picture is of a deep and abiding love. It shows a kind of affection that is perhaps difficult to find in this world. It is a picture of a heavy grace.
The day before Valentine’s Day I went to court and had the mediation that would finalize my divorce. What timing. A friend took me to my lawyer’s office, waited in the car, and when it was over took me lunch. The emotional exhaustion and anxiety caused such a sharp dip in my blood sugar, I was physically shaking.
When I was steady again, I picked up two of my big kids and drove to northern Maine to see another friend. I was so tired I laid on the bed and crashed. When I woke up I realized he had covered me with a blanket. We had a refreshing visit, drinks, and let ourselves laugh.
The next day, Valentine’s Day, I went to a cabin tucked into the woods. My friends wined and dined me. They had a six course meal, paired with drinks and music for each. Their kids were the little waitstaff and we were cozy and joyful and talked freely about our sorrows. They tucked me into bed when the last cocktail went to my head and left a note that said, ”Words cannot describe how much we love you or how much trouble you will be in if you wash the dishes.”
I slept the deep sleep of one who is has embraced her greatest fear—being alone. And found that in the alone there were her people.
The next day I chatted online with my bestie from California and we dreamed of the future and made plans. (Even if you don’t accomplish them all, making plans is a hopeful thing to do when you are leaving behind a rusty past that no longer serves.)
Then around brunch another friend came over. It was actually Fat Tuesday. So we drank coffee and mimosas and double fisted it into the afternoon. We snow shoed over a beaver bog and I made him promise that whatever I would say when all was said and done that he would remind me of that day and my resolve to embrace my aloneness.
We all cozied up in the cabin and sang angsty songs and smoked clove cigarettes and let ourselves feel all the things that cannot be named.
And I was loved. I was deeply loved into healing.
When your heart has been broken—like someone ripping apart of braided loaf of bread—it is a comfort to know that there are friends (so many in my case) who go around collecting the fragments like the disciples in the miracle of the loaves and fishes lest any of it be lost. (John 6:12)
I got divorced.
At first I thought it was a defeat. Now, I know it was me overcoming—or rather the Holy Spirit overcoming in me.
I was told when he left that no one would love me and that I would be alone the rest of my life. Instead I found more safety, communion, healing, and love than I knew what to do with. I have known acceptance in the heart of my community that is the stuff of strength—solid, abiding, and reliable.
The memories of this week last year tell the story of divorce, certainly. No one every wants that to be their story. Yet, more importantly they tell a story of love. You can read the story in the people. And the story is hopeful.
That’s what I need to read—a hopeful love story. It’s my life.