It is fitting that I should write this story on Valentines Day, for this is a story of two broken hearts, healed and mended, then melted together as one--in an instant. This is a story of True Love. Anyone who comes from a broken family understands the pain of divorce. I was twenty-seven years old when my parents divorced. While some people think that a person shouldn't be "affected" by such things once they are adults, I can assure you--I WAS! I was shocked when my parents divorced, and I had no forewarning of this event. On the day that my dad told my mom that he was moving out, I felt a great anxiety in my spirit, so great, in fact, that I told my husband, "Something is terribly wrong in California.
I want to phone home." Considering the fact that I was three thousand miles away on a remote island in Northern Canada when I felt this anxiety, you can appreciate that I was deeply affected. Pain and Confusion Ensue Pain and confusion became constant companions as I tried to "understand" what had happened: What right did he have to leave my mother? Whose standard was he using to exercise his right to leave her? What had she done that was so terrible that he could not live with her? I had questions and I asked them of nearly everyone around me. I asked God the same questions, and in so doing, I realized that my own life was in quite a mess.
I searched the Bible for "the answer" to all my questions about my dad. Since he had been a Baptist minister at one time, I felt certain that he would know and obey what the Bible said about such an important issue. About two years after the divorce, the whole family gathered in California for one of those BIG attempts to bring reconciliation. I felt certain that dad would listen to God's Word, so I reached for my Bible and said, "Dad, look at what God has to say about what you are doing." Before I could find the carefully selected passage of scripture that would straighten this mess out, he stood up and loudly cursed me, the Bible and the whole family. Then he walked out.
Needless to say we were all in shock. The shock of that cursing lasted a long time--eighteen years for myself, and twenty years for my brother and sister. Difficulty in Letting Go Eighteen years is a long time. Think about it. It generally takes eighteen years to graduate from high school. A whole "lifetime" of events takes place in eighteen years.
During those years, contact with my dad was minimal. A card from him on my birthday, Christmas cards, the odd phone call which always stirred up the pain. Someone would hear about something he was doing and he would again become the topic of our conversation for weeks.
My mother never stopped talking about him. She never let him go. My mom maintained her relationship with God throughout this long painful separation. She read her Bible, went to church, cared about us kids and loved her grandkids.
She worked as a secretary and saved her money so she wouldn't be a burden on anyone when she retired. But, always, she was obsessed with talking about my dad. I would say that most of our conversations about him were judgmental. After all, we read our Bibles; we knew what he had done was wrong. She had done nothing that the Bible sanctioned as reason for divorce. By the time of his third marriage, we knew he wasn't coming back to her.
Still, his actions and their effect on our lives were frequent topics of our conversations. After many years, I gave up hope for my dad to ever be reconciled to his family. I doubted he was even a Christian.
I felt he was a totally lost, immoral, unstable, unsavory person. That was a very dark time for me. Gradually, I got used to the darkness in my own soul--it seemed normal.
A Death Sentence Mother did retire and she moved from California to Canada to be near my family. She had missed out on much of the growing up of my five children, and she wanted to get to know them. She bought a condominium two blocks from my house and the kids enjoyed having "Gran" live so close. One year after moving here, she was diagnosed with Lou Gehrig's disease.
Lou Gehrig's disease was a death sentence. There was no cure. There was no treatment. I spent four months praying and asking God to heal my mother.
Finally, the answer came: "Help her die." I accepted her diagnosis and did all I could to help her. I wish I could tell you that I was a "good little Christian" who praised and thanked God every day for His righteous judgments, but the truth is that I questioned God. I really felt that it was unfair of Him to let my dad go free when he was the one who had done this great wrong to his family, and to allow my mother to die this cruel death.
Finally, I asked God, "How do You see this situation?" The answer He spoke to my heart would one day transform all our lives. About a year after my mother died, I felt something stirring inside of me--a desire to see my dad. In the long eighteen years of separation, I had only invited him once to visit my home. During that visit I had tried again--and unsuccessfully, again--to confront him with the Bible. I had no reason to expect that another visit would end differently, but I honored that desire regardless and invited him for a long weekend. Copyright (c) 2008 Rebecca Hanson.
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