Friday, July 29, 2011

Separation Anxiety

I have a friend who is considering leaving his wife. He has "fallen out of love." He now blames her for nearly everything from his lack of happiness to global warming. Sad. I have tried to tell him that her offenses are not insurmountable. But he has made up his mind. She must go. The kids are going to be heartbroken. There will be all that back and forth of the "my weekend" vs "Your weekend". I think he fantasizes that his life will be so much fuller without her bothersome traits. Certainly, he looks forward to connecting with another gal who will meet his needs, provide him with happiness, and give him a fresh start. He doesn't get the part where his kids will reject this new lover and despise him for putting them in a position where they must choose which parent to align themselves with. He probably hasn't thought of the therapy cost for the kids. Rejection and other confusing emotions take a toll. Alimony and child support will be there to suck his meager check down to a point of almost poverty. One mortgage will turn to two... or none as everyone moves into different apartments. Likely, he will have to dip into the college fund and savings that he had for his kids. Hopefully, that won't doom his children to low paying jobs for the rest of their lives. Will the children continue to follow the faith of their fractured parents? The spiritual implications are overwhelming to consider. It is ugly. And it is uglier than his fantasy life will allow him to admit.
What leads to this is sin. What perpetuates this in this case (where there is no adultery, alcoholism, or abuse) is a selfishness. Funny (or sad!) how our selfishness and sinfulness lead to this kind of brokenness. Sin always separates. There is an anxiety that I feel as I watch this family implode. And I know, that if everyone involved could see the hidden costs of divorce they would rethink the simple acts of loving, forgiving, and restoring in order to keep the family together.
As followers of Jesus (not merely 'believers in') we know that forgiveness has a premium place of priority. It is hard to let go of offenses, but when we do we often find that we are not the innocents that we thought ourselves to be. Facing our own need of forgiveness often tempers our judgment with mercy. Pray for this family, and all the others that you know of who are living in separation anxiety.