Warning: this post feels like a hot damn mess of a dozen mismatched thoughts dumped out like a pail of dog-chewed Lincoln Logs. So be it.
It’s been just three months since I moved out of the house that I believed would be my forever home. Three months since I stepped across two distinct thresholds. One threshold is that which recedes into a past distorted by the mist of mythical love and obscured by alternating waves of resolution & resentment rising off the searing streets of my memory. The other threshold over which I’ve stepped is the terrifying, healing mystery of the unknown.
The cascade of loss these past few months has been profound: a dear father dead, a broken marriage evacuated, a family out of reach, a beloved home with a door on which I must now knock, friends receding into their respective corners and even a couple of blogging peers who’ve found my painful honesty just a little too, well, honest.
As I slog through my grief, some days with barely a lap of the dark waters at my feet and others days with the swamp surging violently around my throat, I realize what many others before me have come to know.
Grief sucks. Grief waxes and wanes. Grief has no timeline. Grief is lonely.
As it turns out, heartbreak, separation and divorce (well, I suppose in my case it’s not divorce since I have zero standing in a legally recognized marriage, but that’s kvetching for a whole different post I’m afraid) – tends to make our friends feel all icky and itchy inside. It seems that otherwise sweet Christian people just don’t know what to do or say to the queer divorcée when they’ve barely gotten a handle on the idea of gay marriage in the first palce.
I had an acquaintance ask me “After fighting so hard to have people accept your relationship as ‘normal‘ how could you just throw it all away.” – As if losing the love of my life and having the courage to claim a life free from oppressive toxicity was some lark I cooked up one morning with my bowl of grits.
Or even better, “You know, talking about your split in public kinda hurts the case for gay marriage, can’t you just write about progressive, queer theology or something? Keep it positive!” – Because progressive, queer theology never leans on the unvarnished narratives of real life, eh gay marriages don’t end like straight ones do eh?And my favorite, “You shouldn’t use your blog to air your private problems.” – Well ain’t I just pathetic exposing all my cray-cray while they are over there writing about the really important stuff.
But you see, my blog has never been so much about ideas, issues or even theology. I try to nurture a place where we get to encounter real people, with real stories and deep faith in a God who manifests in the midst of all the mess. Who the hell would I be if I didn’t have the audacity to grieve in obnoxiously transparent ways, holding myself to the same standards of honesty and vulnerability that I search for in others every day?
Guess what y’all, no one is more ready for this season of my life over than I am. But as it turns out, that ain’t quite the way it works.
Grief, even the messy grief of love lost and a life reclaimed, has no timeline, no shelf-life and no expiration date. It takes as long as it takes. Some days it even sneaks up on you, taps you sweetly on the shoulder then cold cocks you with one hell of a cosmic frying pan leaving you sobbing over the steering wheel about some stupid Patsy Cline song (or some I am told).
But hey, I know I’m not the only one who ever has, ever will or is right now feeling this way. If you are walking through this dark valley tonight, please hear me – don’t let anyone tell you when you should be over it. When it is time to move on, you will know.
In the meantime, grieve your heartbreak in your own time, welcome friends who give you the grace to do so and don’t be afraid to break down and cry out to God in the dark nights of your soul. Yes, there will be more than one.
And trust that one day, there will be a little more light. And then a little further down the road, a little more light on the horizon. Before you know it, morning will begin to peep up over the horizon. I trust this is true and whether or not it is cool, popular, professional or good for my blogging career, I’ll be right here on the road with you.