I am divorced, though I rarely think of myself as a divorcee.  It occurred so long ago that I wonder if it was someone else’s life rather than my own.  Maybe it’s just another memory slipping from my grasp.

Not that that would be a bad thing.  Divorce is not pleasant.  In fact, I wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy.

You vow to stand beside someone forever–for richer or poorer, in sickness and in health—and then that someone asks for a divorce.

Can’t very well stand beside someone who is kicking you out of his life.

Thank God there were no children’s lives to shatter.

One shattered life—my own—was enough.  It wasn’t just the rejection by my husband that did me in, but the rejection by a large part of my community.

My Southern Baptist upbringing was firmly anti-divorce, regardless of the reason.  Many of the people I had known for years began to pass me without speaking.  Even my church’s music minister, for whom I had long served as an accompanist, would not talk to me, though he had to know my heart was breaking.  My best friend remained true, as did my parents and their closest friends, but there, the grace ended.  I no longer seemed to exist to most of the church, so I left.

Then there was the out-of-state cousin and his wife, with whom my husband and I had enjoyed many a vacation, camping in the mountains.  The guy was actually my cousin whom I had known my entire life.  They were upset when I called to break the news—shocked and, I think, a bit concerned that if it happened to us, it could happen to them.  They never called or wrote to me again.

Just like that, the relationship ended.

Goes to show it’s difficult to have a relationship with a nonexistent person.

I was raised to place a lot of importance on appearances, on doing and saying the right things, on being at church every time the door opened to teach Sunday School, or to accompany the choir’s rehearsal.  My marriage was supposed to be solid as a rock and completely Christ-centered.  I was married to a preacher’s son, a strong Christian leader.

Who wanted a divorce.

I didn’t darken the door of a church for five years, eliminating from my life what had long been the focus of my life.  Shattered.

I tried to refocus on work, on moving ahead with my career, and I began dating a guy I met through work, a guy who went to church only occasionally, who freely used curse words and who drank alcohol.

Heaven forbid.  All three of those things were serious sins according to the Southern Baptist Manual.

But the longer I dated George, the more I saw of his character and I liked what I saw.  He didn’t condemn me for being a divorcee and for not going to church.  He was amazingly honest, which I appreciated after being married to a man who so easily lied.  George had more integrity than any man I had ever known.

In spite of the well-stocked liquor cabinet in his apartment.

There comes a time in everyone’s life when they have to reevaluate what matters, when they have to seek truth.  So I prayed, seeking truth and comfort from the God Who had always been an integral part of my life.

And He, in His great love and faithfulness, showed me that I needed to forgive those who had hurt me, not for their sake, but for my own.  My anger and pain had created a deadly cancer in my soul.  So I began to let go, using the phrase, “I forgive you,” as my mantra each time I thought of those who had hurt me.

Gradually, my pain lessened.

God also showed me that it’s what’s in a person’s heart that matters, that honesty and integrity matter more than what a person drinks.  This created a new me.  Since nearly every one of my coworkers drank, I had previously kept my distance from them all, avoiding their sinful activity.  But now I saw the sin of the deceitful heart.  And I saw my own sin, my failure to love these people well.

My world is in desperate need of grace, love and understanding.  Christ made these things available to me when He paid the penalty for my sin and for that, I am eternally grateful.

Perhaps the fact that I have trouble remembering I am a divorcee has less to do with the onset of Alzheimer’s disease than it has to do with the fact that I have been forgiven.  My slate has been washed clean.

Praise God.

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