One of them sent me this link to a piece called “The Casserole Rules“:
When my husband of 27 years suddenly and unexpectedly left, it was weeks before my large-church-pastors noticed I was missing from Sunday morning services. And even weeks more before someone called to check in.
I can’t blame them. I didn’t reach out. I was busy. I was inhaling and exhaling, managing shame, scrounging for hope, paying bills, and depositing what little emotional reserves I had to care for my devastated daughters, reeling family members, and befuddled friends. I was too busy facing the disappointment of opening my eyes in the morning, realizing that God hadn’t granted my nightly plea to take me in my sleep because I didn’t know how to live this way.
There were so many things I didn’t know about how to go through an unexpected divorce. There is no YouTube video, no manual, no to-do list for how to do it well. Yet, the one thing I did learn is that you won’t get a casserole from church when you’re in the middle of burying a marriage.
I realized this after the fact. A year after my husband left and before the divorce was final, my dear church friend lost her husband to a sudden heart attack.
Here is the thing I learned when Joe died that I hadn’t even thought about when my husband dropped off the face of the earth. There are dozens of casseroles in the church freezer.
When Joe died, the church stepped up big for Sue. She had meals for months while she figured out how to manage the house and budget by herself. She had lawn boys, free electricians, and pro bono mechanics when her cars broke down. She received hundreds of cards from church friends – we watched them overflow her mailbox. Women came to clean her house. Strangers did her laundry and folded her towels. And not one person asked what she could have done differently to avoid Joe’s death or suggested that things would get better because some new man would snatch her up in a second.
I am so glad. I love her and am grateful for each person who stepped in to meet her in her grief and need. One time, she gave me an extra casserole because her freezer was full. It was really tasty and I ate it for days after we wryly talked together about the differences in our experiences of the death of a marriage. We both acknowledged the casserole rules. The church didn’t give divorce casseroles – except for the one she gave me.
Read the rest here.
I’ve been around the block enough to know that sometimes it’s the wife who dumps her husband. And I know that sometimes women have to get away from abusers. But I know an awful lot of women who have been royally screwed over by their husbands and they really need help from their fellow Christians, not judgment or improving advice or scolding. Trying to raise kids and keep the wolf from the door is grueling.