Thursday, August 9, 2012

UP FROM THE ASH

I'll never forget the relief.

The decision was made April 27, 1984.  For two years I had struggled over whether to allow a divorce, because so many aspects had become more and more physically and emotionally dangerous, for both me and my kids.  I prayed, sought counseling, cried, screamed, threatened, made possible plans "if" -- and all the time hated the thought of giving in to the failure of a marriage, a definitely not OK Christian choice.  It truly was the last alternative I wanted to face.  In fact, I had gone to a women's conference in Tulsa, asking only one question of God -- "What do YOU see needs to be done about this?"  [I knew HE knew the future and could pour hope into my heart.]  Before the conference was over, all the pieces were joined together, and I stopped churning and tossing and was at peace.  Momentarily.

I reached home late that Saturday.  Wasn't sure what to say or when, was willing to wait for months if that was laid on my heart; still hoping for miraculous marriage-healing to occur. [In spite of what I'd "heard" in Tulsa, I knew God could bring anything to pass.]  Then, within half an hour, details my kids told me when I got home, confirmed that waiting was not an option.

Even knowing this, I was nervous about telling Lowell.   I needn't have been.  When I told him I was going to file for a divorce, he, true to pattern, shrugged his shoulders and said offhandedly, "Whatever."

After the relief, euphoria enveloped me.  I spent about 10 weeks operating in an unreal fantasy realm--not knowing, at that time, that it was fantasy.  I thought I was done crying forever and ever and now could joyfully go on with life.

I was wrong. BUT...

I...was...flying.  It was greatMy friends would have told me I'd crash if they thought I would believe them.  Months later, I remembered an Emergency! episode from the television show in the 1970s.  A man at a loading dock was pinned by a truck from his chest down.  He was smiling and said he was fine; he didn't understand the fuss.  The paramedics standing to the side said, "We better be ready, because when they move that truck the pain is going to hit."  Well, they were right.  The truck moved and the man screamed in pain and passed out.

In the next life-changing phase, my "truck" moved, too.  And the pain hit...but I couldn't faint, and I couldn't die, and I couldn't understand why I had so much pain or what caused it, or what to do with it.  All I knew was it was there--all the time-- one L-O-N-G contraction, broken occasionally by a painless moment, just long enough to allow me to catch my breath and steel myself for the next onslaught.

Gradually, that, too, changed.  After a few months, a swing began.  A few days without pain--a few days with.  A few weeks of dull pain; a few days with extreme pain, with a slow return to normalcy.  Nearly a year later, I felt more complete--most of the time--although I was aware of the enormous hole in my "self", and VERY aware of the loneliness.

But, in spite of everything, through the Lord I had HOPE.  The hope buried deep in my heart that I had a real future; that, just as in nature, there would be growth and beauty from ashes. 

"He gave me beauty for ashes; the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness."  Isaiah 61:3

And, like the aftermath of Mt. St. Helens, and the destruction of that indestructible rock, when lichen and ferns and wild flowers began to push their way through that gray, brittle, gritty ash, so my "life" was returning.  It was never the same.


One lesson I learned through this:  No matter what the future holds, I know my God. And I know that I know that I know that there is always growth and I will always  rise "up from the ashes."

[A year and 3 weeks after the divorce decision, on May 19, 1985, God dropped Dave into my life.  For 27 years, he has been a blessing to me and my kids (and, now, grandkids), a giver, a God-server, a truly appreciative husband, a stability -- something I had rarely experienced. I am an extremely blessed woman!  And another heart-pounder?  He believes he is blessed, too!  WOW!!]

2 comments:

Crystal Mary said...

Isn't it strange to read someone's story and its like reading your own?? I was married for 30yrs the first time, and never ever wanted to be divorced. Ten years later I married Ray. and yes, God turned my morning into dancing and my sorrow into joy. At times I feel sad about not being in one marriage. But, God knows all. xxxx

Beth said...

I love this. You describe so well how it felt for me---that initial excitement of being set free followed by excrutiating pain.
And of course you know that a wonderful man came BACK into my life and being his wife is a continual blessing.