Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Selling The Past

In a few days, the home that my wife and I bought in 2002, will close escrow. To me, that house represented a big part of our life together. It was the place where our kids would finish growing up. I thought it would be the place where we, as a family, would call home until—well, until I died, at least. But circumstances changed.

Within the period of six years after moving into this home, my wife became disenchanted with our marriage. She never said anything to me, but she evidently began harboring some anger and resentment that she was unable to express. I noticed that her once avid church attendance became more of an exception instead of the rule. Shortly after moving into our new home, my wife gave up her decision to become a teacher saying there wasn't enough earning potential to support my retirement later on. Instead, she entered the field of Human Resources. It seems sarcastically poignant that the beautiful young bride I had exchanged vows with nearly fifteen years earlier, had become an at will wife.

The winter evening in January when she declared that she wanted a divorce, my world came crashing down around me. I was barely able to absorb everything she was telling me. It was almost as though this were happening to someone else and I was watching the destruction of someone else's marriage on some cheesy Lifetime Movie. As reality sank in, I was shoved downhill on an increasing cycle of insomnia, eating disorders, and an inability to concentrate. I played and replayed the recording of her complaints in my head, trying to make notes all of the issues that she had given for leaving me. It turned out that the charges relating to my marital dysfunction were largely the behavioral symptoms of an undiagnosed chronic depression that had probably been festering for years...maybe decades.

There are so many reasons for divorce. And for many, depression can be an immovable boulder that results in the eventual death of too many marriages. Vows regarding sickness and health easily find their limits when faced with protracted periods of isolation, detachment, lost libido, unrelenting pessimism and negativity. The only reasons I've ever been able to justify for leaving a marriage are either the abuse of the spouse and/or kids, or remorseless and continued infidelity. Unfortunately for me, my wife didn't share the same threshold of divorce justification.

I energetically sought treatment for my state of depression. Even though my physician and therapist said that overcoming the effects of chronic depression could take a long time, I couldn't give up on trying to save the most important human relationship in this world to me.

The past 19 months of my life have been a washing machine of volatile emotion. Not long after my wife filed for divorce, I made some discoveries that answered the biggest question that had dogged me. While my depression-fed behavior was a difficult thing to bear, I can't help but assume it was a secondary cause and certainly a convenient reason for leaving me. This revelation certainly explained why she rejected any attempts at marriage counseling or seeing if treatment for my depression would improve our outlook together and preserve our family.

As hard as it has been, all I could do is let go of her, move on and try to find healing and happiness. At first, the phases of shock, denial, anger, bargaining, and acceptance were repeated over and over, then again in no particular order. I would be at peace and in a state of acceptance one day, then the next day I would be so angry I could kill her. Minutes later I would be in denial that she was really going through with the divorce at all. I was a mess. Was? Hell—I'm wrecked. Loneliness has tempted to put my heart back out there for someone else, but the divorce won't be final until at least November and I'm old-fashioned enough to believe that pursuing a romantic relationship while I'm still legally married, is in bad taste.

I still hold onto the hope that God might arrange life's circumstances in such a way that could bring our marriage and family back together. However, miracles are seemingly rare commodity in a modern spiritual economy. Dwelling too intently on what could be regarding "us", is almost as futile as looking back at what we could have been. The reminders of our life together (our kids) are sadly a painful one much of the time. I hear and see my lost love in their faces, words, and actions.

The house that represented our past and our future will be gone in six days. A past memory in hundreds of photos taken over the years. A place we shared many happy times as a couple and a family. But to Lucy, they have evidently lost their ability to call her back from her decision. Some measure of healing must have occurred in my heart for me to exchange those hopes for a wad of money. With all of the pain I've endured anguishing over the past and projecting worry and anxiety into the future... I have decided that I have to begin living in the moment. God has shown me that the here and now is the only thing that is real and meaningful. Letting these moments go to waste while having too many backward or forward thoughts, is a habit I am anxious to lose. I'll let God take care of my future. I already know He has taken care of my past. In the moment that I can totally just live RIGHT THERE for God, is the moment I will have the perfect peace, joy and the irresistible love of God in my heart.

I welcome any responses, but I hope these posts will serve as an encouragement to those who are going through the pains of separation and divorce.

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