I have been reading James Wilhoits’ book Spiritual Formation as if the Church Mattered this week. Our private lives matter to God, and to the Great Cloud of Witnesses cheering us along on our journey. It’s not about being legalistic (God forbid that we should ever do anything out of a sense of “this is right, and good, and needs to be done immediately”) but about bringing stability and order to our lives. We live from the inside out. In all of our trials and tribulations, we forget to maintain discipline in our private lives. A long time ago, one of the ministers at our church told me that he thought I was very strong spiritually, but very fragile emotionally. I have never heard a more accurate description of me.
Looking back on ten years of therapy, I can honestly say that much of it was a performance. Not out of any desire to be dishonest, but out of a knowing that saying the wrong thing could result in suddenly being told I can’t come back next week. Which is, of course, exactly what happened in the end. And just like that, the one constant in my life was upended; knowing that “This is what I do on Wednesdays” and looking forward to having a quiet, private place to go and discuss all the things that can’t be discussed with co-workers, fellow students, or other church members was suddenly over. I don’t have a husband; counseling replaced that in a way. Being a single parent is lonely and hard. I think every woman going through a divorce should have a counselor; it doesn’t have to be psychotherapy. I chose pastoral counseling, because that’s what I wanted, and it was important to me. I wanted someone who was first and foremost a minister, because I knew that more than anything else, I needed healing. But regardless, without counseling, the tendency for women after divorce is to treat our children like more like roommates, and expect them to meet emotional needs that should be met by an adult.
I did better in counseling, in that I was able to keep a job, and go to school. I needed the help with anxiety, and someone to talk to about depression. Life has been hell for the last two years, and it doesn’t look as if the situation is going to be resolved any time soon, as I had hoped. But I am tired of ‘deleting myself’. I did that in my marriage, I did that in my counseling, and there doesn’t seem to be any point in doing it any longer, as both ended anyway. Performing to please people doesn’t work. I heard someone talk once on the difference between being a peacemaker, and being a peacekeeper. I think I tend to confuse the two. I like peace; I’m not fond of chaos, and discord, and noise. Being a writer suits me; so does counseling and ministry. Counseling that honored and encouraged that would have been healing. But, I tried. I can honestly say I have never tried harder in my life. Something to think about, but now I have to go and pick up my daughter so she can go and help her father and his girlfriend paint their new house.
Have a Blessed day, people.
“And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever.” ~John 14:16