I’m getting divorced.
Three simple words. Three simple words that don’t convey the pain and messiness of this season. Three simple words that don’t feel real. Three simple words that represent an impossibly complicated emotional state of being.
How does one begin to talk about this? Celebrities famously announce they are consciously uncoupling, calling it quits, or parting ways. Slick and pretentious words for glamorous superstars. Still others use words like split or a breakup. These feel trite and juvenile, unfitting for the end of marriage that lasted three decades. For this divorce experience, the word rupture seems to best fit. It is a tearing apart of what was meant to be lasting. The terrain of my life is messy and dramatically changed by the events that tore our marriage apart.
Being single was not something I imagined nor wanted for my life. The beauty, complexity and significance of marriage is all around me being played out through enduring marriages of family and friends. I longed to be one of the couples who thrived through the decades between youthful newlyweds saying their vows and the gray-haired soulmates holding hands on the front porch. But this vision is not one that will be fulfilled for me. A dream ruptured; landscape forever changed.
We came together as teenagers so we “grew up” together, bonding our minds, bodies and souls in ways that feel unbreakable. My mind is still consumed with thoughts of him, and of us. My body yearns to rest its head on his chest and to be held securely in his arms. My emotions sweep dramatically from tender care to loud outrage and back again. I wonder when and if these impulses will change. The bond between is ruptured; terrain shifted.
My conversations with God have been intense as I’ve wrestled with my beliefs. We had love and joy in our marriage but we also had pain and sin. So does divorce mean that I didn’t trust enough, sacrifice enough, strive enough in order to earn God’s blessing? If God brought us together, am I supposed to endure the sin that plagued our marriage? Many want me to believe that; I believed it too. Old beliefs have ruptured as my view of God’s desire is rocked.
But I’m learning that rupture also creates a release that I wasn’t aware that I needed.
As my landscape changed, the toxic mess that was building up is gradually being expelled. I’m unlearning lies that I came to believe, to live, and to perpetuate. I’m letting go of my distorted perceptions of love and of God so that I may learn Godly love. And I’m disavowing the idea that the external appearance of marriage is more important than the love of God that He wants to live out in each of us.
Within the release, I’m also learning to hope differently. The idol of an enduring marriage is being replaced with a longing for more than can be offered on this side of heaven. I don’t know what singleness will look like, but I’m filled with hope that God will walk with me, grieve with me and feast with me as I travel this journey. I trust Him to recklessly pursue me so that I will know His mercy and His love in ways that I can’t yet imagine.
While I feel disoriented from the dramatic changes in my life, I am trying to welcome the release. As I emerge from the chaotic rubble, I’m beginning to imagine my new life. I may stumble and lose my way occasionally, but I hope to find a path that feels right and free and maybe even a little adventurous.
Yes, divorce is a rupture that has made a wreck of my well-groomed landscape. But in the mess, I’m finding my way. The terrain is different, but growth and life are taking hold. New hope is emerging and I trust that my landscape will display a glorious renewal of beauty once again.
Rupture. Release. Beauty.
Sharon Collignon has a small counseling ministry where she cares for the hearts of women. Her empathetic approach encourages growth and healing through exploration of personal stories in the context of God’s grander story. Sharon is grateful to be called Mom by two adventurous women, Taylor and Sydney. And she is finding enormous delight in being grandmother.