18 August 2009
On the Healing of Hearts
Something remarkable happened a few weeks ago. I forgot my tenth anniversary.
31 July 1999 was the day I married FW in my home congregation. So, a few weeks ago the date that would have once been our tenth anniversary came and went, and the first I realized it was just last night while driving home from Theology on Tap.
Now, by no means am I suggesting that the date is inconsequential or unimportant. Nor am I proud of the fact that FW and I were unable to keep the vows we made to each other on that summer day ten years ago. I've blogged about the divorce before. It's something that continues to have an impact on my life today, in positive and negative ways.
To me, this is remarkable only because at one time I couldn't go an hour without thinking about the fact that I was divorced. Then it became a few hours, and after a while it was a few days, then a week or two. And all the while, the twist of pain and regret would lessen ever time the fact surfaced in my mind.
Nebraska is in the midst of pre-season practice at the moment, and a few of the players are back at practice after having suffered significant injuries. Some of the coaches note that they are only all the way 'back' when they can move at full speed without considering the knee, leg, or hip that was once injured. Everybody gets to that point in a different way and at different speeds, but the goal is always the same - to reach a point of fitness and well-being where past injuries can no longer limit present performance.
The same year FW and I got married, I was playing church league volleyball and landed on another player's foot. My ankle was badly sprained and the bone itself was chipped. It took weeks before I could walk normally again. Today that ankle is still somewhat problematic for me; there's some spurring and swelling in the joint that will likely never go away, but it's functional and rarely a problem for me. That past injury doesn't really affect me anymore, at least in a limiting fashion, but it definitely gives me an understanding when others are injured. In the same way, our divorce is no longer a limiting factor in our lives (I feel pretty certain I can say this on FW's behalf), but it gives us an ability to understand and remonstrate with others when these kind of things go wrong in their lives.
I'm not happy that I missed that tenth anniversary. It's a significant date in my life that should have been noted and remembered. But I am pleased that my heart has been healed to the point that my life today is not limited or hindered by that particular failing of our past. I hope the same is true for FW, and for all who live as divorced persons. Sometimes wounds leave scars, and life with them can never be the same as it was before the injury, but healthy living is best accomplished when the scars are not the whole of our identity, and love is possible, even better, because of what we learn from the past, mistakes and all.
Grace and peace,
The beautiful mandala is a painting by Jan West.