Silver linings

4 09 2009

Well, I guess it’s official enough to be talked about now: my mother has separated from my father and gone home to Ohio.

I was trying to calculate how long they’ve been married, but I’m not quite sure.  My sister would know.  She’s the official family records keeper and always knows how old I am even when I’ve forgotten!

Mom & dad married a year after dad returned from Vietnam.  He went to college and got an engineering degree before they started their family, so I’m guessing they were married about five years before they had me.  I’m now 36 (unless I’ve dropped a stitch- I’ve done that before.  I was accidentally 33 two years in a row), so I think they’ve been married over 40 years.

There’s always a lot of negative things about a separation or divorce.  But from my perspective, there is one good thing about this situation.  For years and years I’ve longed to have a conversation with my parents about issues.  I’ve wanted to talk about something deeper than the surface.  I’ve wanted to talk about feelings & perceptions & all those other gooey emotional things.  And in the past two days I’ve had no less than three conversations with my folks!

I know this stinks, and it’s probably tasteless of me to be enjoying any part of it, but I must admit this is a great relief.  It feels wonderful to have some of this stuff out in the open where it can be talked about.  Somebody finally took the table cloth off the elephant and said, “Wow!  There’s an elephant in the room!  How long has that been here???”  (Coni- I bet you know what I’m talking about.)

I’ve been praying for my parents for years.  I don’t know what’s going to happen next any more than they do.  But I have hope that God is going to use this shaking up to begin some good changes in our family.  May he reach out and touch each member of my family in the way that would be best for them.  May he give them the gift of repentance, draw them to his loving, forgiving, cleansing heart, and show them his salvation.

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One response

19 09 2009
Joy A.

Just wanted to send some encouragement during such a painful time. My parents separated and then divorced four years ago, after 33 years of marriage. I don’t think they truly understood the impact it would have on their five adult children. Both are Christians, and I will forever be grateful that they chose to stay together until we were all out on our own. It has been a difficult road these past few years, as the deeply-seated wounds were exposed to the light and we all dealt with the pain of a (newly) broken home.

And yet…there was relief. Finally, communication with my dad about topics that had been taboo. Finally, healing could begin when the wounds were held up for all to see. Never had both of my parents seemed more flawed, more human, than when that fateful word “divorce” was pronounced.

But still grace abounds….as each one of us, their children, had to come to grips with the new reality. And even joy….my daughter was born the summer that my parents’ marriage finally unravelled. And unexpected strength….the five of us siblings, each so very different and unique, banded together to support and love each other through the experience.

God is so faithful to exchange beauty for ashes when we come to Him with our heartbreak. I pray that He will do the miracle for your parents that we all prayed would happen with ours – healing and reconciliation as only He can do. In the meantime, cry when you need to and know that no hardship is wasted when we hand it over to the only One who won’t disappoint us and Who delights handing us something beautiful in return.

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