SETTING MY CRAZY LOOSE . . . [an excerpt]

[an excerpt....]
. . . Divorce seems to bring out the stupid in people.  Maybe more accurate would be that people are many times unsure or even fearful of deep waters - thus their silence or separation from their friendship or relationship with you during a divorce. Divorce is in the deep end of the pool.  I was myself afraid I would drown and was finding out rare few were courageous enough to venture in the deep with me.  Rare few.
Sitting in my counselor’s office one evening after work, I was struck by all the individual things I was seeing, feeling in front of me. Mike was the 3rd counselor I had gone to in my 44 years of living.  I came to him to set my crazy loose when starting through the journey of divorce.  As I sat on the couch, the river current coursed by the patio doors that overlooked its banks.  I noted the counselor’s shoeless feet which were covered in a wild pair of argyle socks [Were those even in style, I wondered.]  I glanced at the messy, almost wildly strewn office and desk.  For whatever reason all the strange disorder, shoeless feet, rushing current, seemed completely normal to me.  It seemed in fact, freeing.
And, I needed to be free. 

The first time I ventured into sharing my thoughts with a complete and total stranger was when I was 30.  I had a breakdown from a self-epiphany, stayed in bed three solid days sobbing and then went to see someone about how to re-group in order to stay in a horrific marriage.  If I were going to survive, I needed to get some things out and find a way to cope with what I knew my life was not full of.

Her name was Sue.  And, for a first experience of baring your soul to reorder it, she was the perfect guide.  A grandmotherly lady who wore free flowing clothes, she exuded hope.  Sobbing is usually a part of counseling.  It signifies acknowledgement of loss.  And, I sobbed!  She gave me permission to forgive myself for the anger I held for choices I had made that put me where I  was - in a life that was hard.  She listened.  She encouraged.  She gave me some tools for coping.  But mostly, she told me I was beautiful and would someday come to know that.  She was a woman of grace.

The second time I saw a counselor was after my first husband and I moved back from an unsuccessful job move to Texas.  His depression and behavior unchanging, my ultimatum clearly stated if he did not get professional help it would be over.  This counselor held a doctorate and came highly recommended.   My then husband went to see her for a season alone, a much needed season.  I tried as best I could during those months to let healing take place in him, to allow years of pain and bondage to be stripped away.
One day, fresh from the counselor, he confessed  to me.  As the words of his confession came out, I felt nothing – there was just nothing left in me.  I didn’t yell.  I didn’t even really feel angry.  It made sense now this guilty presence I always saw on him.  I calmly and rationally talked with him about his confession, almost like it was in third person.   I put my hurt away that day, realizing once again this was about him.  It always had been.
He spoke of it matter of factly, as in past tense, like the power-the hold wasn’t there now because he was free to say it out loud.  Why was I so devastated over it? It was yet another way that he had once again chosen himself over me.  I think I had known it for years but chose to ignore it because the weight was already heavy enough.
I called Dr. Janelle.  “Would she have time to meet with me?” I asked her, explaining that I had wanted my husband to have time with her without me for a awhile.  I thought it best now if I came in too.
Hant is a word my grandmother Weldy used to say in place of the word “hate”.  She mispronounced that word regularly.  I hanted Dr. Janelle the moment I walked in her office.  I felt bondage in the room.  I felt limits and borders.  I knew without a word out of her mouth that there was no way in hell this pairing of client to doctor would ever work.
I truly believe God is a God of instantaneous.  He spoke Creation into being, commanded demons to flee, healed the lepers.  I truly believe God is a God of old to new.  Tattered to rebuilt.  A God of grace.  I knew that from the inside of me just like I knew my name was Nancy.   What I needed to come to understand deeper was just how much God loved me.  She though was not that vessel to me.
On our first joint session with Dr. Janelle she read the Bible to us.  Don’t get me wrong,  I love the Bible.  Steeped in the things of God, living a journey of faith with God, a pastor’s wife for 25 years, I too loved the Bible. Her method though was one that I had tried to live with unsuccessfully for the past 25 years.  She was giving me more of the same.  More bondage.  More try harder.  More forgiveness is the key.  Sometimes there is not a magic key.   There was not enough rosary bead recitations that would fix this.  Then what Dr. Janelle?  Where does that leave me with God according to you? 
Discussing personal and private things with someone who knows not one thing of how you operate in life, what your personality bent is, or the experiences that have collectively made you what you are, is a bit out of bodyish.  Dr. Janelle was clueless to the nuisances of the clients in front of her - me.  Her approach was clinical.  It was strictly biblical.  It was technical.  It was without emotional intuition.   It was rules.  It was very, very fundamentalist.  I was squelched.
I had lived by rules all my life starting as a child in a home that was strict, at times stifling, and regimented.   It was mind over matter.  Pull yourselves up by your boot straps.  Work harder.  Do your best and never let it rest.   Religiously, I grew up in a denomination that believed you could “lose” your salvation.  By choosing “sin”, whether it be once, twice or three times a lady, you un-chose God.  Or possibly, He might even un-choose you.

We are collectively the sum of all things that created, affected, touched, were spoken, we witnessed, experienced or were taught us.  That is a weird sort of mix in anybody!   I have equated the magnitude of getting a divorce, based on the collective sum of all I was, to running a marathon, 26.2 miles, without ever having run even 50 yards.   

 I had stayed married not because I wanted to.  I stayed married for 25 years because;  I was convinced that was what God expected, because my parents would disown me, because I would take away my husband’s way of life of pastoring, because I had a daughter still at home, because I had made a bad choice and it was my fault to have married someone that I should not have, because it was penance for having an affair at year one, because I would alter people’s view of God as seen through my choice, because I was tough, because to do anything but stayed married was selfish, because I would hurt everyone.  And summarily, because what I needed or wanted was less important than all of the above things.  The because list was long.  It never ended and played on repeat . . .


  1. Can't say enough about this one. Good job. You hit the nail on the head about those jumping from ship to ship instead of getting in the water. I'm still in the water, and will be there until the end of my life if necessary - if that is what is asked of my life. Forget about sayings - such as "there's someone for everyone". Those things are not true. I say that to illuminate the truth. "Some people never find love" - as my favorite therapist once said. I don't want that statement to be true, just like I don't wish anyone to be blind or paralyzed. But truths exist regardless of "sayings". I am struck by your courage to reveal very personal things - good job. You'll take flak for this post. If desired, continue to be that B-24 Liberator (world war II bomber) dropping bombs (of your truth) down onto us. I'd rather receive a direct hit, and be blessed by knowing someone more honestly, than to feel threatened by your honesty and send flak up your way as weak minds will surely do to you. MI

    1. MI - as personal as you think they are, they are still filtered:) I think they are universal things - things many think, experience and feel. I just gave them words and maybe that is the courage you speak of. Thanks for the encouragement. So appreciated.