I woke up at 44.  Literally.  I began to be honest with myself, wrestle with my views of who God really was, looked ahead and realized there was more time behind me than was probably ahead of me.  I stopped the cycle of taking care of someone and carrying the weight of responsibility, grappled with grace and what that really meant-what it looked like lived out.  I dealt with deep anger at myself for subjecting myself to harm and hurt and a loveless life because of guilt and a sense of deep responsibility.  When I could no longer do that without a deep cost to myself any more, I woke up.  There is probably not a day that has elapsed since my divorce last year, that I am not aware of its ramifications.  No doubt, that probably will never ever totally go away.  I am acutely aware of how it affected people closest to me - my daughter, sisters, brother-in-laws, parents and nieces.  I still am.  It's a strange sensation to know how that pain and hurt was so destructive to live in and yet hate that to leave that pain it caused pain for those I love deeply.  Ultimately for health reasons both emotionally & physically, I had to separate from that world I had known for 25 years.  There are times where I do feel like a failure.  That is an effect of divorce.  There are times I still feel like I let the world down.  There are times that I am still angry that I just couldn't do it any more - that my steely resolve that sustained me 25 years melted away and yet amazed I did it that long.  There are times when I look at my daughter and feel sorrow deep inside that I altered her world, her life, her view.    I try to understand that part of what I feel is normal - other divorced people have told me feeling similarly.  I also try to know that part of what I feel comes from a lifetime of trying to live a life for others - what I knew they wanted, needed, could emotionally handle or expected from me.   A congregant from the last church my ex-husband and I pastored died this past week.  He and his wife were dear friends of ours.  Even after leaving the pastorate, we would have dinner with them from time to time.  When I heard some months ago that he had terminal cancer, my heart broke.  I loved this couple and wanted to visit.  But I knew how hard it would be for them to understand the divorce and did not want to bring that upon them while they were dealing with death issues.  I mourned the loss of Don this week.  I mourned too the loss of those relationships - that I could not show up at the viewing or funeral without gossip, drawing attention to myself or making that family's hard week more difficult by my presence.  I cried over it.  To be honest, I cried alot over it.  I wrestled to the ground what I should or shouldn't do in this situation - talking to a friend about it, talking to Doug about it, talking to God about it, having a dream over it.   Ultimately, I knew that God was asking me to let Him handle their grief and even my own in not being able to go.  That I needed to move forward in this life - that God had plans for this life He had given me.  That looking back would keep me from moving forward.  My friend was right, Doug was right and ultimately God's voice rang true and clear. I thought about the lyrics to a song from Steve Miller - Fly Like An Eagle, "time keeps on slipping, into the future..."   It has moved on.  I am so grateful to God for His goodness to me.  For His spirit's presence that ministered to my loss and sorrow on so many levels over this past year and half and continues to when I have those times still.  I am humbled by God's presence in this heartache and change and ultimately, love that He gave me in Doug.  I am renewed by God's gift of a life now that I deeply love - that flourishes me.  Deep sorrow eventually gives way to deep contentment and joy.  Joy does come in the morning I am finding. 

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