Wednesday, March 4, 2020

And Sometimes the Giants Smash Us

Eight forty-five in the evening and I'm resting after a bath, in bed. Forty-five years old and alone. Twenty-five years of marriage has come to a quiet end. I brought myself here step by step, her and I growing farther and farther apart in tiny bits... and still, this result fills me with bewilderment. I am sure it was only yesterday when we sat at Frisch's at an ungodly 8 AM breakfast appointment with our pastor, completing a pre-marriage checklist of who would complete what daily tasks. I remember that I was in charge of garbage. At least I remained faithful to that. 

I saw her when I dropped off our youngest at her apartment two nights ago. I met her at the door. The porch light overhead cast shadows on her face. I time-traveled some 27 years to nights at Anderson University when I would wait for her on the outside of Morrison Hall. We'd take walks that lasted for hours. We'd dream of navigating the world and adopting babies. We saw those dreams fulfilled.

We conquered the world together. There was no goal too big for us to tackle. We raised up an incredible young man, adopted two baby girls from foreign nations, we abandoned jobs and security to become missionaries, we planted a church, and we allowed our faith and belief in God to  use us to change lives. Our work together is a testament that extends into eternity. And still, we lost ourselves. Ah, the enemy is a bastard. And yet, the enemy is also myself. 

I survey my constructed landscape and I see the destruction of my own neglect. I see the timeline of my mistakes and the moment that I stopped loving. I walked away from my love on a wooden dock at the happiest place in the world, Disney World. Thanksgiving 2018 was the day it finally crashed.  Years of conflict and mistrust, of unhappiness, of nights spent listening to my wife cry... and me feeling somehow both angry and guilty with the sounds of her quiet sobs and the trembling bed. Nights without end. I have no stones to cast.

And so here tonight I am alone. I sit in a swanky apartment, fourth floor overlooking a beautiful city. I don't have much but this place is clean and simple and ordered. It is fully my own. But do I feel better now that we are separated? I have no idea. Sometimes yes, sometimes no. Sometimes peace, sometimes madness. Sometimes I am a sinner saved by grace and sometimes I am the thief on the cross... but which one? That is all the difference.

I fight back that I am still a child of God. I am only broken. I ask God to make something beautiful again. There can yet be redemption... and yet reconciliation is not to be. Possible, sure... with God, all things are possible. And yet fire falls, floods come, furnaces blaze, lions prowl, and sometimes the giants smash us. 

Epilogue: March the second, two-thousand and twenty. After 9,053 days, our marriage has ended. Divorce decree issued as public record, 3/2/2020.