Thursday, April 23, 2015

THE SCARLET LETTER

We have spent time this week discussing life as a single--the church--divorce-social strata-and defining qualities.  I am beginning to embrace life alone-much better than fighting the unchangeable.  Alone time allows me to recharge, recount and regroup.  Too much alone time causes atrophy of my social muscles and activation of my depression genes.  Striking a good balance is the key.

I do not mind being labeled as single.  I detest--strongly resent--abhor the label "Divorced"  When discussing this in the context of the church, I stated my feeling of being at the bottom of the social heap since I am divorced.  You see, no one asks for the story of why you are divorced and I must admit I do not offer detailed explanations.  There is a scarlet D on my forehead and there is no room for explanation.  Suffice it to say I cringe when I am asked the question, "Are you married?"  At times I answer no without comment, but there are occasions when more must be said.

As my marriage did not complete me, nor does my divorce define me.  There is so much more to me than current martial status.  It is interesting that as soon as you marry again, you loose the "Divorce" label.  Almost as if it never happened, you are welcomed back into the throngs of the happily married.  You reclaim your spot in the top social layer and never look back to the days in the cellar.

I wonder if there are labels which you resent as well.  Obese, poor, ignorant, old, ugly,  low class--on and on are the labels we place upon our fellow sojourners.  We never look past the surface and judge the book by its cover.  We never turn over the front cover and discover the beauty contained within.  What a loss for us when we refuse to recognize there is a deeper story hidden by the labels we place over the heart of the matter.

I am no longer married--there is shame associated with the word divorce.  It proclaims to the world that I did not finish what I vowed before God only death would part.  It has left unfinished business--with no possibility of finishing it.  The story behind the divorce is painful, but the anguish of no possibility of finishing well is heartbreaking.

I pray you will look beyond the scarlet letter and see my heart.  I pray you will know how much I love The Lord, my family, and my friends.  I pray all of this is used for His good purpose.  I ask that you look beyond the labels and the surface before judging one another.  There is always more to the story than what you see and no one is defined by a single letter.

But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace toward me was not in vain.
I Corinthians 15:10

8 comments:

  1. I've been Divorced (with a capital D) and was involved in the church then. They where so unkind, so unfeeling, that that was the first cog in the I'm Not Going To Church Anymore wheel for me. For me, I fill my social needs with hobbies. There's no judgement when riding. I hope you can find a church "home" soon. Maybe pursuing a hobby would be more in-line for now? You have a lot to offer and would make friends with people who deserved friendship easily.

    Again, not looking for sympathy, this is just the past, a shadow that doesn't exist anymore. For me, the word that brings tears to my eyes is "stupid". It was one of the words that my father yelled in my direction before a hateful scowl, then a slap, followed by a profusion of curse words. He was such a vile, violent, unfeeling, dangerous man. I would spend hours in the woods just to keep from going home since any little thing could set him off. I'm grateful to God for getting me through those awful years. (Now it's known why I prefer dogs over humans almost any day.) ~:)

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    1. The damage others do to us is astounding ! I hear the pain in your words as you recount how those who should love us best disappoint & fail us the most! It is a huge indictment on the failure of man to live as we were intended. I am thankful for The Father's perfect love which shows us how we should be doing it. Praying today Sparky that God will redeem your past suffering and remind you of your elite status as His Beloved!
      Thank you for your willingness to share & add to the discussion as we all seek Him!
      Bless You, Friend!

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  2. OK Lulu - time for some straight talking. Even if it costs me your friendship; which I hope doesn't happen.

    In a previous post you describe yourself as daughter, wife, mother, grand-mother and so on. What you forget to mention is that you are a valuable and much valued member of society; placed on this earth for a purpose; and loved by your Creator. All of us have a value towards one another. When someone dies, or someone leaves for another town or country we miss them. We dread and hate their absence. The reason we do so is because their presence meant something to our lives. We are all a gift to each other and our mere presence, whether in person, or via the t'Internet is cherished more than we can imagine.

    Right now, you are making happy memories for your grand-children when they visit you and stay with you. When they grow up they will remember the fun they had at your house, the games you played with them, the sweets and goodies you gave them. Your daughter will also one day remember and cherish the times you took the children into your care to give her time to breathe and do something for herself. You're valuable and loved Lulu. Don't you forget that.

    This post talks about divorce as if it is something terrible. IT IS NOT. For a variety of reasons, some very sad, divorces happen. We all enter marriage with sparkling eyes, (actually I cried at mine - you should have seen how much it cost to get married - cheaper if we'd lived in sin); - anyway, as I was saying before I interrupted myself - wel all get married with sparkling eyes, and hopes and promises to live happily ever after. But the reality is not so. Divorces happen; and God is wise enough to realise that and to know that in some cases one of the partners is entirely innocent and the victim of circumstances. It seems to me the only people who don't fully understand this are the Catholic Church - but that's another matter of which I have already written on my Blog.

    So ... you're divorced. Nothing wrong with that. And anyone who can't see beyond the big D on your forehead is myopic and it says more about them rather than you. They are missing out by not getting to know someone who is wonderful and loved by many in her family. Being divorced (or single) gives you many opportunities which married people don't have - like the free time to look after grand-children and helping one's own children, volunteering in church, visiting the sick in hospital and so on. Even free time praying for people will earn you many +1 points in Heaven's Google account.

    Your post implies that being married is all happy and jolly. Believe me, I have seen many unhappy marriages where both parties are imprisoned in a jail of their own making full of hatred, suspicion and bile. Does God really want a lifetime of this, where children are trapped innocently amongst it all; to a divorce which might give all parties some respite?

    I pray for you that you come to know how valued and loved you are.

    (By the way - I looked carefully at your photo. Can't see a big D).

    God bless.

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    1. Victor, I always value your wisdom! Yes I have come to realize divorce can be God's solution to intolerable circumstance. I treasure my time with my family, but I am having to reinvent who I sm after 40 years of marriage. It is a work in progress . Certainly not all look upon the divorced as a lower class, but Victor, unless you have been there it is difficult to describe the stigma which goes with divorce. You cannot see the likes on Facebook when I put up the link to this blog but suffice it to say most are divorced women . They get it! So I am moving forward, but I am giving affirmation of empathy to so many who do sadly get it! I always welcome your comments and your truth telling will never cloud our friendship across the big pond. Bless you for caring enough to comment, Friend!

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  3. Lulu, I'm so sorry you're going through all this. Interesting question you posed about labels. I used to be in a career that seemed to require a certain age range, neither too young or too old. One of the top people in the field was a woman several years older than me who surprised me when she told me she dyes her hair because "you can't have gray hair in this business." She also took great care with her wardrobe so as to not appear outdated to clients. It's sad that so many view age as a negative rather than benefiting from the wisdom and experience of older ones.

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    1. Jean I am counting on His promise that Hw will use all things for His purpose & our good. We spend far too much time allowing our mirrors and the world to dictate how we feel about ourselves and not enough time remembering what He says about us. Thank you for commenting & blessings !

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  4. Loralu, Sorry you are going through this experience. People can often be very judgmental with other people's lives and situations having not walked in that person's shoes. They don't stop to think first and put love, mercy and grace into practice; something they would expect if it were them.

    Can I ask, do they actually say things, or are you feeling the rejection/stares, etc.? I'm asking because sometimes the things we feel most insecure and/or vulnerable about - the ones we have a hard time forgiving ourselves for and the ones we have regrets about - they are the very things we feel like others are also focusing on.

    You mention above in your post "there is shame associated with the word divorce. It proclaims to the world that I did not finish what I vowed before God only death would part. It has left unfinished business--with no possibility of finishing it. The story behind the divorce is painful, but the anguish of no possibility of finishing well is heartbreaking."

    Have you forgiven yourself for this ending yet, Loralu? Regardless of where the fault lies, sometimes we just need to ask God for permission to move ahead with our lives and leave the past behind. Could it also be that you are also holding yourself back because of how you feel, my friend. (Saying this only with the highest respect here) Don't let the enemy use your past to haunt your future by rejecting people you meet with this insecurity or by having them reject you. You are a child of God. You are no less loved than anyone else in His Kingdom...and this also means whatever church you decide to be part of. Hold your head high, Loralu. You have much to offer to those who want to increase their faith. A ring on your finger would not change this. Throw out the label of your marital status. If you want to talk about this more, I'd be happy to do some coaching with you to help.

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    1. Kim, there is some truth in the things you say, but I ask you to address any divorced friend and ask them how they are received in the world of marrieds. I was married for 40 years--so this has been a huge blow, for I never saw it coming. There has been a recent occurrence which I am praying will be the final hurdle to closure. The pain I have endured is one of the reasons God hates divorce. It is not the natural ending He intended for our relationships. Yes, I am pursuing God's direction and beginning to feel the "Go Ahead" to continue with my life. In the meantime, I have a wonderful family who love and support me well. Thank you for your offer to coach me through this, but I have a dear friend who is a counselor and has helped me walk through this. With that said, I welcome all words of wisdom you might have! Thank you for taking the time to comment constructively and allowing God to use you to encourage me.
      Blessings, Friend!

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Your comments keep my writing and often cause me to think. A written form of a hug or a pat on the back and an occasional slap into reality---I treasure them all!