My sister pinned up my hair in a gorgeous white flower and delicately hid it under the lace mantilla veil. I remember that moment before the Church doors opened- I was breathless, beautiful, brimming with love and life. The doors swept open as The Giving ushered me into marriage.
That was twelve years ago today. Today is my Ex-Anniversary. One full year after The Divorce.
All the happy Anniversaries on social media – we like and praise. All the Deaths, we mourn, cry and console. Divorce as a person of faith, a pastor, has felt like a death I cannot mourn. It’s like a military “dishonorable discharge.” I have carried the stigmas of failure, lack of faith, a lost spiritual “battle” and the like. There cannot be public grieving. We are sent to solitary confinement to reflect on the choices we’ve made. There is no meal train for divorcees.
Did I initiate my divorce – yes I did. Let’s not try to figure it out. Time will tell.
Did I fight for my marriage? Yes I did. Did I do couples therapy and interventions and mentors and time and sabbatical and individual therapy and fasting and prayers? Yes I did. If the answers hadn’t been yes, would you have disqualified me?
Ex-Anniversary. Years of memories arise, they make me smile and cry. My eyes will be puffy when I step into Church work tomorrow. I feel grateful for the best of times. I feel relief that the worst of times has ended. I feel the ache of aloneness and loss of my dreams – a potent cocktail of past, present and future.
Every marriage and divorce has its own unique story. The common thread is pain for all involved; pain in some way, in different ways, but in powerful ways. Today, I still bear witness to it in the form of a long and jagged scar on my heart. And I’m resiliently alive.
To those closest who saw me and created side corridors of comfort, I am indebted.
To you going through it today– I extend my deepest love, may your pain be seen and healed and not judged; may you emerge resilient.
To my Ex, which I said to you today when we spoke, may new and different doors sweep open for us as we walk away in paz.