Today I sat in a small little side room in the courthouse while three lawyers and a judge tidied up the last bit of my un-tidy broken family. I slipped out of my uncomfortable shoes and pulled my feet up on the cushion. In the quiet, I imagined my soon to be ex across the table from me. I reached across the table as if to pretend I was holding his hand and shared all the things I wished that in that time and space could be spoken and heard and known. One of them was my deep longing to break bread together again.
We’re gonna be okay, I whispered out loud, We’re gonna sit down at a table together and have a meal. Maybe not this side of glory, but we will. We’re gonna be okay.
Bella had her preschool graduation tonight. I was petrified to walk into the room and see my ex. But I did, and he was gracious and kind and his spirit was welcoming. He sat next to my parents and we all laughed and we watched our shared bundle of joy accept her diploma and take a bow!
After cookies and punch had been consumed and ceaseless pictures taken, we strolled into the parking lot. The ever-growing tension of good-bye swelled in Bella’s heart and came out as tears through her eyes.
I don’t have further plans tonight, I muttered out with both hope of reciprocity and fear of rejection.
You can come to dinner with us if you want, my ex invited without hesitation.
And just like that we all marched our way under the overpass, across the bridge and over to Panera where we broke bread together only eight hours later from signing our divorce papers, eight hours after I proclaimed a belief in a redemptive God who would surely sit us down at a table together again wholly.
We didn’t fight. We didn’t control. We all did our best.
It wasn’t perfect but it was good.
My lawyers entered the room where I waited. They walked me through the last few details and then I shared how this year has been so full of death and life – so whole yet broken. It’s been dumb, sacred and weird. It’s been hard, devastating and heartbreaking. And beautiful, divine and holy.
Because this year taught me about God and love and relationships. This year woke me up. This year I began to live a life I had forgotten. THIS YEAR cost me everything. But I gained it all.
I told them how before they came in I caught a glimpse of myself in the window of the room. To think of the girl I was a year ago and the girl I was becoming - to see a girl who could laugh and dream and hope again – was a gift, it was grace alive and well - because grace seeps in our broken and makes it somehow all whole.
Hold on. I said. Can you just do one thing with me? I asked my lawyers.
And as they nodded I hit play on my phone. [to the song linked below]
And as I signed my name in ink I wrote into existence the belief in something greater.
I set the pen down and began to weep. My faced tucked into the palms of my hands, my elbows propped on the table, tears rolled off my cheeks onto the tangible white sheets of paper that exposed the reality of relationships: That we have free will. That life gives and takes away. That we are messy and complicated and we try. And we fail and succeed and defining success and defeat can be super tricky.
That God is full of kindness and help in our most desperate need.
And that his grace is endlessly sufficient.
Grace + Peace.