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9.04.2020

Word Arrows

That is quite a statement to make, Nancy...What I can't resolve is your actions of evidently being a complete fake, someone who must have "played a part" as a pastor's wife.  

name withheld to give them grace


Words are like arrows. And those were a direct hit. I re-stumbled across her harsh message while cleaning out notes on my phone. It fell between a note to remember an awesome Mark Twain quote and my Netflix password. It was date stamped 7/14/2014.  More than six years had come and gone since this former parishioner messaged me those words 4 years post divorce. I had well gotten on with my life by then. Today as well.

The sting hit me again. The statement she was referring to was the earlier part of her written dialogue with me and my response that she did not know the truth of 25 years of our marriage or divorce. The harsh reality was I would not fling dirt, nor would I convince someone of truth. You cannot get in a peeing contest with a cow my oldest brother-in-law says. He is correct indeed. I marveled yet again at the fact she felt she had a right, with very limited information or even remotely correct information, to weigh into something that was long over and not done to her. 

A few years after our divorce, I asked to meet my ex husband to get some things off my chest. I discussed this one sided church blame game with my ex husband and asked why he did not correct people's mistruths and the damage that had done to me. He said he didn't say anything bad about me. I said that was the problem, you didn't say anything in response to those close to you and their obvious assumptions that were not at all true so you could look good. I went into that meeting not needing him to resolve or own it, but to let it loose out of me. My mom had set me free from it the night before when she said, "Go give him hell honey!" Her affirmation cleansed me from needing anything from him. I love her for that more than she probably knows.

Reading those words again, I wanted to scream the truth all these years later, to exonerate myself adequately.  I though never have felt those details should be or need to be healthily shared. Perfect I am not for sure, but I was not fake in that world. It wasn't what she thought that mattered, what ricocheted in my heart was she made my life appear null and void because of divorce - of which the real dirt she had no clue about.

Blame is funny. There must be something in our minds that does not easily allow us to hold something that we cannot concisely categorize or understand as right or wrong, black or white, honest or a lie, real or fake.  And because we are wired to need to know and understand, we will make up what we need to get us to that place of filing it succinctly away. It's what we do both consciously and subconsciously as humans.

I have lived two totally  and radically different lives. Whether it is divorce, illness, or tragedy that someone is in the midst of, they are still that same person inside. I hope those in 25 pastoral years were encouraged and cheered on by me in their journeys, that they felt loved by me no matter what was happening in their lives. Though it appears by her harsh words, judgement and ownership of something that is not hers to own, I failed to saturate the lesson of love overrides it all to the church.  If our response to one of our own is that harsh, what are we as people who say we love God painting the world with?

I am still Nancy, even in my radically different life. The difference is I can now be fully me - something I was never able to do in that other life. Being fully loved by your mate makes a world of difference. Being loved by someone who loves you fully for who you are, the way you are and how you maneuver in life is akin to living in blue skied sunshine at 70 degrees everyday.  One can flourish.



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