85% of my friends are married. They were my friends when I was married.
So when I asked, "What are you doing on the 14th?" the breathless silence was sucked out of the room.
Sometimes going through a divorce feels like a death.
For an entire year, you experience the "first" everything all over again. (As if the cold breeze on your empty ring finger wasn't a daily reminder.)
First Valentines Day. (Just give me my cookie dough and I'll see you on Tuesday, mmkay?)
And there seems to be this gaping sinkhole surrounding that area that used to be your marriage. Anything that used to be sacred and special, that was once shared inside those walls, now has tumbled to the bottom of a black pit. To find it again is fruitless. To rebuild on that hole is unwise.
But to find redemption elsewhere is God.
I use "redemption" lightly here, because in my case, I'm not talking of reconciliation.
I'm talking about God taking the broken pieces that scattered in the fall out, and putting them back into the cool mud that spins on the wheel. The shards that are too tiny and sharp to be used again. Breaking them down again. Molding them back together.
I stumbled upon one of these sinkholes today. (They really swallow you up quite quickly if you're not careful.)
Cleaning my apartment, packing up belongings, doing the dishes, and suddenly someone says something or I find something in the piles that makes everything inside of me scream and scratch at this tomb of a world. My heart snaps shut, closing in on everything that was growing, threatening to choke out any further life.
Everything in me, at that moment, wants to wrap my little girl up in my arms and promise to protect until the day I breathe my last. That I'll never again allow pain like that in her life (even though my Father gave me grace and allowed it in mine.)
Like Elizabeth Gilbert said going through a divorce is like "having a really bad car accident every single day for two years."
I don't entirely agree. But somedays, I couldn't agree more.
This is not a bitter diatribe before Valentine's Day.
This is an admonition.
This is me saying, "It's ok if you're not ok yet."
But you and I both know, love is not confined to romance. In fact, the best love exists beyond romance. Even, yes even, in spite of romance.
Love. With your broken pieces. While tip-toeing around your sinkholes.
Love in your imperfections. Without snapping shut. Without strangling fear.
Love your kids. Love your parents.
If you're married, love your spouse.
Love your family. Your friends. Your neighbors.
Let love be a seed you plant this year. Stop waiting by the sinkholes in your world for some mysterious flower to suddenly burst from the abyss.
Instead, look for the soil of redemption. And there, plant love with tears and bloodied fingernails.
I will meet you at the river, where there we'll wash our hands.