When I was 8 or 9 years old, I wanted to divorce my mother. I had the concept of divorce from a friend at schools whose parents were divorced. It was explained to me like this: the mommy and daddy couldn’t live together peacefully, so now they live in separate houses. When they see each other for special occasions, they can be peaceful again because they don’t have to do it for very long. This sounded like a perfect solution. You see, I didn’t’ want my mother to go very far away or forever, I just didn’t want to have to spend long periods of time with her anymore.
So I told my father I needed to talk to him about something really important and asked if I could make an appointment to see him in his office. (His office was attached to our house.) He honored my request and the gravity of my concern and took me into his office.
Daddy sat in his big, Maplewood chair with brass rollers and asked me what was on my agenda. I walked around his huge, dark desk and stood seriously beside him, carefully summing up the nerve to present my well-prepared case.
“I want to get a divorce from Mommy,” I began. I had a bullet-point list of reasons to support my position and Daddy listened intently as if each one was truly valid. How he kept from laughing or interrupting me with counter arguments, I will never know, but both his respectful listening and his following response taught me a great lesson that day.
I no longer recall what all my reasons were, but I am sure they included: 1) she isn’t any fun; 2) she doesn’t love me; and 3) we can’t live together peacefully. I also don’t remember if our meeting lasted just 5 minutes or several hours, I only know that he offered me all the time in the world- however long I needed.
After listening to me, Daddy explained that it wouldn’t be possible for me to divorce my mother; neither God nor the American legal system had provisions for such a request. Instead, he offered me wisdom, and assistance to use that wisdom as a tool to overcome my struggles.
Daddy told me that even if I didn’t see it, feel it, or believe it, Momma did in fact, love me. “Love doesn’t come according to our expectations,” he said. “We can’t demand it and we can’t design it. We can only know it, believe it, and accept it; and then we choose to give it back.” This was my first lesson in faith: trust the presence of Love and choose to demonstrate it with a heart of thanksgiving; love beyond all understanding will be revealed.
Daddy also talked to me about the role of obedience in creating and maintaining peace, revealing that Momma’s rules were set in place because she loved me and to establish peace. I began to understand that I played a part in this negative perception I had. This was my first lesson in modern psychology: you can only change yourself; and by changing yourself, you change the world around you.
Endurance was another piece of wisdom Daddy bestowed on me that day. He described how things are always in a state of change and that the process of enduring difficult moments prepares us to receive new moments as they present themselves – new moments that surpass our greatest desires. This was my first lesson in Biblical wisdom:
But those who wait on the LORD shall renew their strength;
they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary,
they shall walk and not faint. (Isaiah 40:31)
I left Daddy’s office that day accepting the fact that neither God nor the American government would allow me to divorce my mother; and I was armed with new tools to restructure my life accordingly. Never again did I wish for divorce from Momma.
I grew up and went out on my own. I traveled the world and had my fill of exotic, exciting adventures – all fun, peaceful, full of love, and absent of Momma, but in the spirit of her ceaseless Love and support. Now, back in Momma’s house under her watchful eye and critical entitlement as “MOTHER”, those long ago claims that she isn’t fun, doesn’t love me, and peaceful coexistence is elusive, have found their way back into my thinking. Divorce however, has not. Instead, I am reminded of my freedom of choice and the powerful reward for choosing to love.
So each day I awake with the morning sun and choose to love Momma anew. Some days are easier than others, but all days provide the opportunity to practice my life lessons and enjoy the surprising appearance of Love that arrives by the grace of God unlike any preconceived design of my own.
Love is a choice, and when we choose it,
God delivers gifts to accompany it that far exceed our desires.
As I wait on the Lord and meditate on Love,
my strength is renewed and I feel the wind beneath my wings.