We had a rough Sunday. It started off well, although scary, with service at the church we just started attending. It was Communion Sunday which was done quite a bit different than what I was used to. Change is scary right now. But it worked out. Then the day collapsed into drama with an incident with Aris' father while I was attending a funeral in another city. To top off the day, my sister called in tears after having both money and her cell phone stolen while she was in training. It was rough. I woke up today and demanded that there be no more drama today. I just couldn't handle it!
It's hard when walking through days, weeks, seasons like this to see any good in it. My heart is heavy. I don't know what steps to take next regarding the situation with Aris' father. While walking home after dropping off my children at school this morning, I poured out my heart to my friends, one of whom is a single dad. I felt stupid, like I was a burden. But my words were out, unable to be taken back.
Much later on our way back to school, I ended up walking with Mark, the single dad. He shared some about his relationship with his ex-wife, about how her anger and brokenness affect him and his kids. He shared how much better it is for him to be out of the relationship and yet how he is continuing to be in relationship with her. As we walked to school to fetch the children, she was sitting at his house drinking coffee, having had a rough day. We shared our stories, discovering how much we and our parents have in common.
Not wanting to pry, I haven't asked many questions about his marriage or the break-up. But today, the walls were down and he shared how long he'd been with his wife and how long they've been apart. I realized that it was eight years ago this month that I made a crazy, yet wise decision to end my engagement to Aris' father. It was hard. Although my parents didn't think I could be a single mom, they breathed a sigh of relief when I cancelled the wedding. Mark commented that his parents and mine could swap stories.
I shared about my mother's journey from anger to love towards Aris' father and how yesterday, in the midst of a difficult situation, my mother reminded my ex that she loved him. Rather than scold him for his actions, she bought him some coffee and spent some time with him, almost as if he were her own son, rather than one who had caused such grief both then and now. Amazingly, Mark said that his parents have done the same. He thought that they would have barred his ex-wife from their property, but instead they show grace and compassion towards her.
This capacity for grace amazes me. For both Mark and me, it is oftentimes hard to show grace while in the situation. Sometimes the hurt is too big, the situation too drastic. What happened yesterday was not okay. But to see our parents, who have every right to be angry and hostile, choosing instead to love is beyond words. Just writing this my eyes filled with tears. I wrote this post better in my head while making soup. The words flowed in a beautiful, artsy way. Now sitting down to write, it feels stilted and the phrasing that ran through my head like water earlier has now dried up. But still the beauty of grace, undeserved, unexplained, lingers. May this same grace find its way into my life, tempering my angry tongue.