Guys, I'm not perfect. Far from it. A friend of mine recently posted this cartoon, and I swear it's actually my biography in Cliff's Notes form:
Much like everyone else, I'm a work in progress. I'm a horrific mess of jagged edges, chipped gilding and faded paint. I fully anticipated being a giant letdown when I wrote about my impending divorce. In fact, I lamented to a group of friends (CathSo shoutout) that I didn't even deserve to blog anymore because I felt like an utter sham. Katherine from Having Left the Altar (at least I'm pretty sure it was you, Katherine!) responded with something along the lines of "If only perfect people preached, the world would be silent."
A little while later, Fr. Herb from down in New Orleans wrote to me saying "Satan will try to tell you ugly lies to keep you from writing. Do not allow yourself to be persuaded."
Then, a letter from my best friend's SIL showed up in my inbox thanking me for my blog - even if she did originally think I was a "crazy religious lady." To know that this blog, in all it's dirty honesty, has helped someone on their spiritual journey... it emboldened me to push forward even though I knew the backlash would come.
So here we are. I've undressed my heart, it's wounds are visible and some of you have justifiably recoiled. One message, in particular, has been gnawing away at me. It read:
How can you proudly proclaim that you are [getting a] divorce and think that is justifiable as a Catholic? You always acknowledged that a marriage is forever and you've put up with so much already. Giving up now seems like a waste of time."
This person, mind you, is doubly hurt because she's been a follower for several years and has messaged me for further conversation. I guess my failing was a personal betrayal of sorts because she'd viewed me as a beacon of hope that a successful match could be made between a Catholic and an atheist.
Readers, I have always made it painfully clear that my marriage is NOT the stick to measure anything by. That point aside, I'd also like to state that I'm not suddenly a believer in divorce.
It's not like I arrived at this decision on a whim. John has brought up divorce dozens of times. Each time he's brought it up, I've fought against it because I believed that on some level, John loved me. I believed that even though he didn't necessarily mean all his vows, he did mean to love me as best he could for the rest of his life. That was enough for me, and because that was what I believed validated a marriage, I did everything in my power to salvage it.
I've been successful each time.
So what makes this time different? Why did I not fight? Why have I made the decision that seems to have disappointed so many?
Because this time, he said it while I was carrying his child. He said it with absolutely no regard for the drastic effects it had on both my health and Nathan's health.
That is not love. Any person capable of doing such a horrible, dangerous thing is not capable of real love.
Thus, I scheduled the appointment for the divorce attorney not because I believe in divorce, but because I recognized in that moment that my marriage never existed.
As I stated before, had I not done this... had I just kept my head down and waited until after the baby was born, John would've fallen back and given up on divorce altogether - he's done it countless times. However, it was time to break the cycle.
Am I saying that proudly? Heavens no. Of course I'm not proud of that. That's like saying I'm proud of stopping at a red light. I said it because it's the truth; I did it because it was the right thing to do. But am I proud of it? Oh please. Pride is a luxury one cannot afford where divorce and annulment are concerned.
I've just given up attempting to swim the ocean for someone who has never been willing to step over a puddle for me. I befriended all of his friends; he is not friends with even one of mine. I watched his TV shows, read his books, listened to his music; never once did he bother with suggestions I made. I participated in his movies, his poker tournaments, his food competitions, his sports; never once did he participate in any of my hobbies. I went out of my way to bond with his family and get to know them - even extended family; it's doubtful John could even name my 1st cousins, and he certainly never went out of his way to spend time with my side of the family.
No more, folks. I'm not giving up on my marriage; I'm acknowledging that my marriage never was. A civil divorce is simply the first step.
So please don't think I'm suddenly a divorce proponent. I've fought against divorcing John in the past because I believed that there was a valid Sacrament to fight for. If you want to look for pride - THERE IS THE PRIDE. I didn't want to admit I'd made a mistake in marrying him. Alas, I did, and while I have three children I'll be forever grateful for, the fact remains that he was not ready (nor fit) for marriage, and I was too arrogant to accept that.
So yes, I'm admitting the dirty truth of the matter. No, I don't do it with pride. I do it so others who are struggling find solidarity. I do it so folks who thought I was an example of how marriage could work between a Catholic and one abrasive to Catholicism will STOP seeing me as such. I do it so I can remain honest before you and the Lord so that someday, somewhere, for someone, good can be drawn from this.
So if you are disappointed, by all means, be disappointed with me. Just make sure you're disappointed for the right reasons.
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