DESTROYING THE EVIDENCE

                                               DESTROYING THE EVIDENCE

“I have loved you with an everlasting love.”  Jeremiah 31:3 

       “When my wife left me the week before Valentine’s Day, she also left me holding the surprise I had for her.  Who knows if she would have liked it anyway because she was so hard to please.   Every February was frustrating as I tried to top anything I’d done before, anything her friends’ husbands had done.  I have to say I won’t miss all that, even though I miss her because I still love her.

“When she left, she took a lot of our things, but I didn’t complain because I knew I wasn’t a perfect husband.  I tried, how I tried, even as she sometimes made it difficult to love her.

“Another shock came on Valentine’s Day when I went to my stash of beautiful cards she’d sent me in our five years together.  Sure, they were written by Hallmark, but I wanted to reread them and know that she used to love me.

“THEY WERE GONE!  It turns out she had destroyed them.

“I was angry, bewildered, and hurt.  Those were MINE.  How could she do that?  Was her love all a sham she wanted to erase from memory?”

When love dies, a part of us dies.  We were full of hope thinking we had married our forever Valentine.  But the heart was too easily torn apart, like a shredded greeting card.  Too soon crushed underfoot, like a candy heart begging, “Be Mine.”

Sometimes only in our distress can we hear God saying, “You are MINE and I’ll love you forever.  My expressions of love aren’t Hallmark trite, but personalized just for you, and I will love you even when you’re hard to love.  I understand your pain, frustration and imperfections, but we can walk through these together if only you’ll be my forever Valentine.”

MOVING ON:

What evidence of God’s love can you identify throughout the day?

When have you given earthly love so much attention that you missed God’s open arms?

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You can find my eBook

by clicking here.

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The One-Legged Dancer

THE ONE-LEGGED DANCER

“Praise be to . . .   the God of all comfort who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God.”  (II Corinthians 1: 3-4)

Many of the divorced feel as if their lives have been ripped apart, and they will never, ever recover.   Once they were whole, and now they are seriously handicapped.

Those of us who bear similar scars are best equipped to understand the wounded and to give them hope that there is life beyond divorce.

 

Cancer specialist Dr. Rachel Naomi Remen tells the story of a 25-year-old athlete whose leg was amputated at the hip in order to save his life.  After a long time when he was at last able to work through his grief, anger and loss, she suggested he volunteer in a cancer ward.

One day while working there this former athlete visited a beautiful young woman who was in a deep depression.  At 21, she thought her life was over because of her double mastectomy.   The nurses had left the patient’s radio on, hoping the music would distract her, but nothing mattered.

When the young man tried to talk with her, she wouldn’t even look at him.  If she had turned her face from the wall she would have seen his prosthesis because he was wearing shorts.

He began to tell his story.   When he was done and there was still no response, he wondered how he could get through to her with the message that all was not lost.

Finally in desperation he released his prosthetic leg, letting it crash to the floor.

She turned her head ever so slightly and saw him dancing awkwardly, though enthusiastically, on one leg.

When he noticed her barest hint of a smile, he stopped.

She studied him for a long time, and then said weakly, “If you can dance, I guess I can sing.”

Moving On:

What are the most valuable scars you have for understanding the pain of others?

When have you been comforted and seen glimpses of hope for the future?

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Excerpted from my eBook Moving On:  Coping with Divorce.   

You can find all of my eBooks by clicking here.


Unfairness

Below is one of several stories included in MOVING ON Past Uncertainty, excerpted from my ebook of readings–MOVING ON:  Coping with Divorce.   You can find this by clicking here.  

TAMING

“O give thanks unto the Lord, for he is good. . . .he satisfies the longing soul and fills the hungry soul with goodness.”  (Psalms 107:1, 9)

“I remember the day my ex-wife fell for me.   Or, at least, her fantasy of me.”

Walter met Sophie in college when he was writing for the student newspaper.  He was reviewing Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew when he saw her for the first time.  She was the sharp-tongued heroine, Kate.

“I was enchanted and went back stage to meet her.  When I introduced myself, she exclaimed, ‘Walter!?  Not Walt?’”

He didn’t care what she called him; he was smitten.  Backstage the next night he brought her his review.

“I saw it in the paper this morning, Walt Fox.”

Her winning smile made him ask her out.

That might make my boyfriend crazy-jealous,” she said impishly, “and I wouldn’t want to be responsible for what he did to you.”

Walter hung around to get a glimpse of him, and when they roared off on his Harley, Walt was sure she could do better than that guy.

“One day I invited her to go sailing with some friends from the paper.  ‘It’s not a date so your boyfriend doesn’t have to worry.’  Sophie told me she was getting tired of the guy anyway.

“It was a great day and I felt good when she was impressed with my Dad’s boat.  We sailed and ate and did a little fishing.   The highlight was when she watched me struggle for over an hour bringing in a 6’ marlin.”

“I felt ten feet tall when she said, ‘Hey, Fox, you’re all right.’”

After that, they were together all the time.  “My grades suffered but we had such fun.  She brought me out of my shell.  I don’t know quite how it happened that we ran off and got married.  It wasn’t like me to be so spontaneous, but I was very happy.

“I thought she was too.”  It was hard for Walter to say more.  “We had our problems, sure, like any couple, but after a while I knew something wasn’t right.   I got serious about school again, once it hit me that I was responsible for a wife.  She teased, ‘For a Fox, you’re awfully tame.’  I didn’t say anything but I was hurt.

“Then the sex, well—  Sure, she fulfilled my wildest fantasies, but I had the feeling I didn’t meet her standard.  She seemed so experienced, but I didn’t ask because I didn’t want details.  I was bewildered when she initiated rough sex.

“She liked risk, and I’ll admit there was a thrill getting away with doing it on stage.  But after a while it seemed like having sex was only a performance for her.  She was bored with intimate lovemaking.

“Then she complained that we looked like an old married couple.  In the end I guess she decided I was boring.  I like to think I’m just stable and reliable.

“I feel like the whole thing is unfair.  I never deceived her or pretended I was someone I’m not.  She’s the one who impulsively suggested we run off and get married.  This was no fling for me.  I was serious, so if she wanted something different in a husband, why did she jump headlong into marriage?  How fair is that?

“I don’t hate her, but I’m confused.  Maybe the divorce is too recent for me to be objective.”

Moving On:

How realistic (and fair) was your evaluation of who your mate was when you first married?

When has the temporary thrill of the new kept you from the permanent joy in what is good?

 

_fG3RiS3QVwoVa27fYFJAvSD3xRGgbiqXnC-0Ajx_8sAlso available as ebooks are Moving On excerpts about other topics—abuse, anger, betrayal, depression, fear, guilt, helplessness, loneliness, money, negativity, parenting, resentment, revenge, and uncertainty.

Two-thirds of this material was originally published in Moving On:  Quiet Moments for the Divorced, Servant Publications, 2000.  Recently I have updated and expanded this to an ebook Moving On:  Coping with Divorce.   You can find all of my eBooks by clicking here.


Uncertainty

Below is one of several stories included in MOVING ON Past Uncertainty, excerpted from my ebook of readings–MOVING ON:  Coping with Divorce.   You can find this by clicking here.  

A ROLLERCOASTER RIDE

“I heard this most gentle whisper from One I never guessed would speak to me:   ’I took the world off your shoulders, freed you from a life of hard labor.  You called me in your pain; I got you out of a bad place.’”  (Psalms 81:5-7, The Message)

Marlene had spent her whole 21-year marriage on the roller coaster of her husband’s bi-polar mood swings.  When he was manic, he could be so much fun, but his depressions were deep and painful to watch.  His extremes took their toll on Marlene.

“He would feel so stable on his meds that he’d figure he was cured of his mental illness.  But when he’d stop taking his meds I was terrified.  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had to hospitalize him for suicide attempts after he crashed into depression.”

She was afraid of other things during his euphoric times.  “Once in a manic phase he went out and bought a brand new car, but I was pregnant and we needed all our money for expenses.  Another time he just quit his job without any prospect of how to feed our three kids.  Living with his bizarre behavior was exhausting.  I was always picking up the pieces, always worried what effect this was having on the kids.”

Marlene had already suspected yet another affair the day he plopped down on the couch and hinted they might consider divorce.

She stared at him for a moment, less with anger than pity and resignation.  She took off her wedding ring and laid it on the coffee table.   Then she went over, sat in his lap and kissed him, saying, “I hope you have a good life because I plan to.”

Sure, there were uncertainties as a single mother of teenagers, but she found it easier than what she’d endured the past two decades.  Now she has a good life, with a healthier blend of stability and spontaneity.

While divorce brings sadness and loss, it often brings tremendous relief.  Gone is the embarrassment at being linked to one whose actions you cannot justify.  No more guarded days of tiptoeing around your own home.   Goodbye to the wishful thinking of what might be.  Farewell to the painful impulse to make excuses for one you once thought the world of.

Moving On:

What have you been glad to leave behind from your marriage?

What steps have you taken to create a healthier life now?

 

_fG3RiS3QVwoVa27fYFJAvSD3xRGgbiqXnC-0Ajx_8sAlso available as ebooks are Moving On excerpts about other topics—abuse, anger, betrayal, depression, fear, guilt, helplessness, loneliness, money, negativity, parenting, resentment, revenge,  and unfairness.

Two-thirds of this material was originally published in Moving On:  Quiet Moments for the Divorced, Servant Publications, 2000.  Recently I have updated and expanded this to an ebook Moving On:  Coping with Divorce.   You can find all of my eBooks by  clicking here.


Revenge

Below is one of several stories included in MOVING ON Past Revenge, excerpted from my ebook of readings–MOVING ON:  Coping with Divorce.   You can find this by clicking here.  

REVENGE

“See that no one pays back evil for evil, but always try to do good to each other and to everyone else.”  (I Thessalonians 5:15, Living Bible)

The Tales of the Arabian Nights opens with marital betrayal and revenge.  The Sultan of Samarkand found his wife in bed with one of their servants and promptly killed them both.

But as he brooded on them, “the world darkened for him and his soul grew sick.” Revenge wasn’t enough.  His hardened heart wanted to ensure that he could never again be betrayed.  Thus he decreed a cruel law that each woman he married was to be put to death the next morning.

After three years the only available woman left was Scheherazade, the daughter of the Grand Vizier, the second in command to the Sultan.  Sadly, the Grand Vizier told his family that she could not be spared, in spite of his wealth and position.

But savvy Scheherazade had a plan.

On the day of her wedding she told her father, “Early tomorrow morning I want you to bring my burial clothes.  When you do, also bring Dunyazade, with you.”  And to her little sister she said, “Now, Dunyazade, I want you to ask the Sultan very politely for a favor.”

“I’m too scared.”

“Trust me.  I have a plan and it’s the only hope for our family.  In fact, it might even save the Sultan from the madness of his revenge.”

The next morning her father arrived early, bringing Dunyazade and the burial clothes.  Very early to make sure they weren’t too late.

Dunyazade approached the ruler.  “Oh, Great Sultan, would you grant me one last favor before my sister dies?  She tells wonderful stories, and I would like to hear one last story to remember her.”

The Sultan granted her request.  What was a minor delay if Scheherazade could be killed in a few minutes anyway?

She took Dunyazade on her lap and began to weave a tale.  The Sultan became just as engrossed in the story which was long and drawn out, full of action and suspense.

Then at the most exciting part, she stopped.  “I’m tired.  Could I finish this tomorrow?”  The Sultan agreed, thinking it could do no harm to let her live just one more day.

By this method, she was able to hold the Sultan’s interest day by day and put off her execution for a thousand days. Finally Scheherazade won his heart and his trust.

Revenge is an insatiable animal that destroys and is never filled up.   Anger and hurt drive revenge, and sometimes it can be overcome only by a very creative solution that softens the hardened heart.

Moving On:

What hurtful behavior have you used in hopes of easing your own hurts?

What creative solution could you use to stop the cycle of revenge?

 

_fG3RiS3QVwoVa27fYFJAvSD3xRGgbiqXnC-0Ajx_8sAlso available as ebooks are Moving On excerpts about other topics—abuse, anger, betrayal, depression, fear, guilt, helplessness, loneliness, money, negativity, parenting, resentment, uncertainty, and unfairness.

Two-thirds of this material was originally published in Moving On:  Quiet Moments for the Divorced, Servant Publications, 2000.  Recently I have updated and expanded this to an ebook Moving On:  Coping with Divorce.   You can find all of my eBooks by clicking here.

 


Resentment

Below is one of several stories included in MOVING ON Past Resentment, excerpted from my ebook of readings–MOVING ON:  Coping with Divorce.   You can find this by clicking here.  

FITTING IN

“Let your conversation be gracious as well as sensible, for then you will have the right answer for everyone.”  (Colossians 4:6, Living Bible)

“As soon as the words slipped past my lips I knew I would pay, but I didn’t care.  I was so sick of that party I could have run out screaming.  We never should have gone.  In fact, we never should have gone to Hollywood in the first place.

“I’m not saying a Christian shouldn’t be in movies, but if he is, he’d better be very sure of his values and solid in who he is.  My husband was not.  He kept descending further and further into the loose culture around him.

“Like the night of that party.  He said, ‘Can’t you wear something a little more—’

“‘More what?’ I asked defensively.

“‘Come on, Angie, this isn’t a Sunday-School picnic.  Show a little skin.  I don’t want people thinking I’m married to a prude.’

“It was all ‘image’ with him.  He said that’s the game in Hollywood and we had to play it if he was going to get anywhere.  I resented how our life had changed—his wardrobe, the way he would flirt and say it meant nothing. His idea of fitting in was abandoning his values.

“So we were at this big party where I didn’t know anyone, and I could see my husband across the room with his arm around a wannabe starlet.  Then this big-name director comes up to me, working the crowd.  He asked my name, and before I’d barely answered, he began bragging about himself.  Finally he asked, ‘Have you seen my latest movie?’

“I don’t know what got into me, but his arrogance was too much. I answered innocently, ‘Yes, I did, and I’ve wanted to ask you.  I fell asleep in the middle.  How did it end?’

Angie sighed.  “When word got back to my husband, he shouted, ‘How could you be so stupid!  This is Hollywood.  Talk like that is career suicide.’  In the end he saved his career by getting rid of me, shedding me like an ill-fitting suit.”

Moving On:

When has resentment caused you to lash out?

How has fitting in been so important that you have abandoned your values?

_fG3RiS3QVwoVa27fYFJAvSD3xRGgbiqXnC-0Ajx_8sAlso available as ebooks are Moving On excerpts about other topics—abuse, anger, betrayal, depression, fear, guilt, helplessness, loneliness, money, negativity, parenting, revenge, uncertainty, and unfairness.

Two-thirds of this material was originally published in Moving On:  Quiet Moments for the Divorced, Servant Publications, 2000.  Recently I have updated and expanded this to an ebook Moving On:  Coping with Divorce.   You can find all of my eBooks by clicking here.


Parenting

Below is one of several stories included in MOVING ON as a Parent, excerpted from my eBook of readings–MOVING ON:  Coping with Divorce.   You can find this by clicking here.    

TWO ANGRY DOGS

“A wise man controls his temper.  He knows that anger causes mistakes [and] harsh words cause quarrels.” (Proverbs 14:29; 15:1, Living Bible)

 

They thought their little daughter, Anita, was asleep.

“We can’t finalize things until we decide on custody.  You try to block everything I do to get this sorry marriage over.”

He snapped, “It’s only sorry because you won’t listen to reason.”

Reason?!  Don’t talk to me about reason.  You’ve made my life miserable.  I hate you.”

“You’re no picnic to live with either, sweetie.”  His fierce expression threatened her.

But she prided herself that she could give as good as she got.  “Marrying you was the biggest mistake of my life.  The only thing you ever gave me worth remembering is Anita.”

“And there’s no way I’m going to let you take my little girl away from me.”

“Oh, sure, ‘your little girl.’  And how much time have you spent with her?  You’re never here for her, and now you want her after five years of not being a father at all.”

“You ungrateful bitch, I’ve been busy working my fingers to the bone to support your extravagant spending—”

“Extravagant!  I always get things on sale.  You just resent supporting your family.  What kind of father is that?”

He defended himself, “I’m a better parent than you are, spoiling her, and never disciplining her.  A kid needs limits.  She can’t grow up like some wild animal.”

“Don’t talk to me about limits, the way you drink.  I can’t trust you with Anita.”

“She needs a real father, not some loser lover-boy.”

“I’m—” She knew where this was headed.

“Don’t try to hide it.  I know all about that sleazy guy you bring here.  You have no right to do that.  It will confuse Anita.  I think she should live with me.”

“No way, you don’t even have a room for her.”

“I’ll make room,” he insisted.

“Not in some corner of a one-bedroom apartment.”

“I’ll find a way to make it work.”

“Well, she’s not sleeping with you.   I wouldn’t trust a lech like you for a minute.”

Anita heard the slap and her mother cry out before the front door slammed.

The child crouched deeper in the corner, whimpering like a wounded animal, fought over by two angry dogs.

Moving On:

What kind of accusations do you use to win at any cost?

What does your fighting do to your child?

Moving-On-As-A-Parent-FNL-1800Also available as ebooks are Moving On excerpts about other topics—abuse, anger, betrayal, depression, fear, guilt, helplessness, loneliness, money, negativity, resentment, revenge, uncertainty, and unfairness.

Two-thirds of this material was originally published in Moving On:  Quiet Moments for the Divorced,  Servant Publications, 2000.  Recently I have updated and expanded this to an ebook under the title Moving On:  Coping with Divorce.   You can find all of my eBooks by clicking here.