Air Kiss (part one)

This entry is a bit raw but it is honest. There is not intent to offend and hopefully over the next couple of days its purpose will become more clear.

A few weeks ago I darkened the doorsteps of a group called Divorce Care.  I will be honest in that I’d been completely resistant to it.  It’s a great idea but it was introduced to me at the wrong time and in the wrong way.  Within days of my ex leaving I was sharing the news with some women at my church.  The first response I got was, “Have you heard about Divorce Care?  It’s a great group and will help you handle your situation.”  I was completely floored. Divorce?  Who had said anything about divorce?  I’d said that he’d left.  Where was the accountability?  Where was the coaching about reconciling?  Was no one going to call him and stand in the gap for a marriage in trouble? Who said it was dead?

The last thing I needed or wanted was a video series and a notebook.  I told the very kind lady that if anyone handed me a notebook on dealing with my feelings I would gleefully beat them to death with it.  I felt an outrage at being handed a happy face band aid to fix having my guts ripped out.  When the second person had the same reaction I didn’t hold back on my feelings about how much I was repelled by the idea.  She handled me calmly and said it could give me some coping mechanisms. Who needed coping?  I didn’t want to cope.  I wanted this not to be happening.  I wanted this fixed. I was told that the church was uncomfortable dealing with issues like divorce. Really? Then what good were they in dealing with real people?  I wanted my church to rise up and deal with the marriages suiciding all around them, but no one ever called my ex.  No one ever held him accountable.  My option was a course in a box. Not community, not a personal touch, no connection.  After a while I couldn’t look at the faces in my church and I left.  It wasn’t real, at least not for me.

As you can imagine it was a long time before I ever considered the group.  I established myself at another church where my son had friends and wanted to go.  I found a warmth and acceptance of me in my situation and they allowed me to be a part of the life of the church.  I was grateful.  As my divorce came and went I decided to check out Divorce Care.

It was difficult to walk into the room especially since the course was already three weeks in but I knew if I didn’t go now I never would.  I didn’t suddenly develop a love of sitting and watching videos but I was drawn in by the leader and the other members.  The part that resonated for me were their stories.  Truthfully it would have been a disaster if I’d walked into this at the beginning.  I would have been too frozen and volatile to sit and listen.  I am a peaceful person, really, but filling out questions about my experience when I am traumatized would have been completely wrong for me.  The good news is that two weeks ago I went to a class that offered insight into a biblical truth that allowed me to move forward as a Christian and may have saved me from a world of frustration and hurt.  Next post I’ll share what I learned about my place as a divorcee in the church and God’s community.

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7 Comments

  1. 03/11/2011 at 2:37 am

    Where did you get that photograph? It is gorgeous. Has it been photoshopped together, or did those creatures do that?

    Also: I think the problem with your previous church is that they wanted you to be fixed immediately, rather than to go through the process of healing, and also doing such fighting as you needed to do. I sympathise. I like people who seem fixed, but it ain’t always so.

    • 03/11/2011 at 9:17 am

      Hi Clare,
      The photo had been sent to me. It looks real but I assume it is photoshopped. It reflected how I felt when things happened and the dove was a perfect representation of what I needed to hold on to. I agree that we all love a happy ending. It is so satisfying. I would have loved to have been able to fight for my marriage, and I did in as much as I was able but sometimes you aren’t given the choice. The really good part is that even when we have no idea why things have happened or why we are where we are God is not lost or confused. In that way I am fixed. If I follow I will be where I’m supposed to be and if I trust and listen I will be who I’m supposed to be and for that i am completely grateful. I love that I don’t need to know why.

      • 03/11/2011 at 10:47 am

        Hi Clare. I did a little snooping on the photo and found this:
        “From The Daily Mail UK dated September 27, 2007

        The abandoned monkey who has found love with a pigeon

        The macaque nestles his head against his feathered friend.
        They’re an odd couple in every sense but a monkey and a pigeon have become inseparable at an animal sanctuary in China.

        The 12-week-old macaque – who was abandoned by his mother – was close to death when it was rescued on Neilingding Island, in Goangdong Province.

        After being taken to an animal hospital his health began to improve but he seemed spiritless – until he developed a friendship with a white pigeon.

        The blossoming relationship helped to revive the macaque who has developed a new lease of life, say staff at the sanctuary.

        Now the unlikely duo are never far from each other’s side, but they aren’t the only ones to strike up an unusual friendship.

      • 03/11/2011 at 6:17 pm

        Thank you. It is beautiful, more so that it is a friendship rather than a momentary thing.

  2. caracarn3 said,

    03/11/2011 at 6:29 am

    I found this post interesting, as I went through DivorceCare and not help lead several groups. it seems like people did not know how to explain the process, as it is to be used for separations to try to reconcile as well. I agree that the value is in the other people, stories and coversation and you need a good leader. One group I am in now has a very poor leader and I think the group suffers because if it. She lets the video do the work and then does nothing to facilitate the conversations. No one is really healing in my opinion and I do what I can to help guide the conversations to do that, but I can tell she’s getting uncomfortable like I’m stepping on her toes.

    I do also agree that the church does a terrible job in handling divorce. They do not know what to do with people and church is normally not confrontational so calling your spouse out is difficult. DivorceCare actually covers this at the end. It is called “church disclipline” and it is when the church body points out the inapporpriate behaviors, but I have yet to see it actually used. I think the pastor needs to be strong to do that, and too many churches are headed by poor leadership just as many governments are. Everyone wants things fixed, but no one wants to fix them. Welcome to the frustration in my world. 😉

    • 03/11/2011 at 9:30 am

      I’m so glad you are willing to step on some toes in order to help the people in the group. It is the conversations that let people know they are not alone. People can lean too heavily on tools like videos and books when it is the human connection we crave. We need others to come along side and help us. Each person may need something different so I can only speak for myself. I needed to know what to do with the hash that had been made out of my life and how to function as a Christian in my new and unwelcomed role. For that I wanted to hear from others. I can’t ask questions of a tape.
      When it comes to church discipline or authority I am really worried. Men and women are leaving their marriages in droves, often with reasons like “We don’t click”, “I’m not in love”, “I’m bored”. What is happening between marriage and vows to God and this? I am worried that the focus of the evangelical church is so tuned to being socially relevant, and seeker sensitive that they are forgetting to grow mature Christians. There is not the maturity and depth to go beyond, “I’m not entertained today. I’m going to find something else to amuse me.” I think it is a crisis and the church need to address things and be willing to have someone not like their phone calls. It is not anger but real worry for the future of the church. I am so sorry for the frustrations of your world. Hopefully the more we all talk there can be the beginning of change. Thanks so much, D.

      • caracarn3 said,

        04/11/2011 at 5:54 am

        My concerns are very similar and spread beyond just the church. I believe their is a general lack of responsibility in adults today and this is getting passed on to children. As an example, I recently received an e-mail from my son’s Cub Scout leader about the behavior of the boys at the last meeting. The leader listed all these outlandish efforts he was going to take, such as roping of areas of the room because they were “too tempting” (we are talking about couches). Nowhere did he suggest that the parents actually discipline their own children and let them know this behavior is not acceptable. I sent a very direct response and copied all the parents. I heard back only from the leader and the pack leader saying they wished they had more parents like me. Only one other parent approached me at the next meeting and supported me. The rest have just been quiet.

        We seem to have gotten concerned about making everyone feel good instead of doing the right thing. Confrontation, even healthy confrontation meant for good, is skirted, and so you do not have a church leader asking to meet with a straying spouse and lecturing them on how their behavior is biblically unsound and how it effects their relationship with Christ. Instead, you are right, they prefer to coddle everyone and say “it’s OK, it will all work out”. I come from originally being a Catholic so I know the guilt thing can be taken to far, but the lack of guilt can also go too far, and letting people just do their thing is ruining our world.


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