When my daughter was in kindergarten, her teacher introduced a new letter every week. One day, the teacher pulled me aside when I was in the room volunteering and asked, “Has it been a bad week at home?” Confused, I responded, “No. Why?” She proceeded to explain.
That particular week, the letter was “D.” As was her usual routine, the teacher asked the students to give her examples of words that started with “d.” Several kids threw out some words: dog, dad, door, draw, dig, doll, etc. My daughter joined in and raised her hand to offer up her own suggestion.
Instantly, sounds of horror and delight spread through the room. “Oooooo you said a bad word!”
Molly defiantly defended her word by stating, “It’s not a bad word! My dad says it at home!”
I love to tell that story because my daughter was in earnest and so proud that she had a word no one else had mentioned. Kids have a funny way of keeping parents humble in most every situation. The simple innocence of children doesn’t always mesh well with the crusty facade of adulthood, refined by years of experiences, both good and bad.
My own good and bad experiences have forced me to become all too familiar with a “d-word” of my own.
My divorce is not the first one with which I am intimately acquainted. My sister went through her own divorce close to 30 years ago. I witnessed her pain and heartache, while experiencing something similar, albeit on a totally different level, obviously, than she did. I, too, felt pain. My heart also broke. However, I had the happy circumstance of being young and not one of the injured parties. I was able to go on with my life and not be overwhelmed by all the crap that follows in the wake of divorce.
I used to get irritated with her for not being more joyful at the holidays, and I resented her desire to be as far away from family as she could. I didn’t get it. Now, jaded by personal experience with divorce, I am able to relate to what she was going through and to understand that desire to run away, far away. I can pull on those emotions like a snuggie and wrap myself in its choking, claustrophobic power.
Divorce is ugly. Regardless of why a divorce happens, it is always horrible. It chokes the life out of what was once vibrant and alive. It rips the very foundation of a family in two and forever changes what used to be normal into something called “the new normal.” It is messy.
I understand why God states in the Bible in no uncertain terms, “I hate divorce.”
My journey took me down the divorce path and I never saw that coming. I hate divorce, too.