Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Kiss and Breakup

We found the little Mexican food restaurant tucked into an awkward crook of Highway 99W. It looked old, but in good repair. Garish neon lights, the sort given out by beer vendors, filled each window, evidence they spend very little on decor. The gravel parking lot was packed.

Such a non-descript little restaurant surrounded by expensive cars told me that this was a place with quality but inexpensive food. I was right.

“Please Seat Yourself” the placard said.

I saw a booth in the corner that hadn’t been bussed yet. I spotted a towel used for cleaning tables, and wiped a few tortilla chip crumbs and spilt salsa, moved the condiments about to throughly wash everywhere for Brenda and I. I wanted this quiet corner for the conversation I was pretty sure was going to happen.

We were having a good time. The ride to the restaurant was friendly, pleasant.

When Jorge asked us if we wanted anything to drink and she ordered a mango margarita, I knew I was right about her, about us, about tonight.

“Make that two, Jorge,” I said.

He smiled, a little puzzled over how I knew his name (I spotted it on the computer by the kitchen where I had gotten the damp towel).

We talked about the financial crisis, and the presidential campaign, and how good the food was probably going to be.

I let the conversation drift over pleasant topics until we were nearly finished with the delicious food (I had a carne asada burrito with guacamole).

“Well, have you decided how you are going to make the changes you were talking about?”

(I knew exactly what was happening, and where this was headed.)

“What do you mean?”

“Well, last week you came to me and said you had made a mistake, that you wanted to be my wife, that you wanted to grow old with me. You said you wanted to be a mom to the boys. you went to our pastor, you went to women in our church, and you told them that you wanted to get right with God, that you wanted to rebuild your marriage. But... you are drinking, and your emotions still change quickly, and I know you. So... You really aren’t making any changes in your life, are you?”

“No...” she said quietly.

“I knew. It’s OK. You called John didn’t you?”

She held still for a moment, nodded ever so slightly.

“Brenda, I knew you had. I know you very well. A week ago you said all those things, and you meant them. But, you cannot stand to be alone, and you simply haven’t the strength and will to be true without my forcing you. And that isn’t what I want.

“It’s not good for you. You have been deceiving me and yourself. I know you love me, and we have been best friends, but you aren’t a wife.

“I need a wife who will be a wife. I need someone I can trust. A partner. A helpmate. I need someone who wants to walk all the way to the grave with me. And you can’t do that.

“And I want you to be my friend. But right now you aren’t my friend. You lie to me, you deceive me, or try to. You do not have my best interests at heart.

“You cannot be happy with a life with me. And I cannot be happy with a life with you because I do not trust you, and I cannot trust you because you are not trustworthy.

I took a breath. I was speaking softly, kindly, compassionately. She watched me steadily.

“I do not want you to live with me because of guilt, or shame, or a sense of responsibility. Let it all go. Let me go.”

“But it isn’t fair to you,” she said. “It isn’t fair to leave you with those boys, make you do all the work.”

“Now, no one is making me do anything,” I replied. “I am choosing my own life. I love those boys, and yes, it is going to be hard, but that is the way it is and I can find joy in my life even when I have a lot to do. I can still appreciate the rainbows, and the sunrises, and the dog running across the fields at Mollala River State Park.”

“But it is too much for you. It isn’t fair that I leave you to do all the work.”

“It’s not that bad. This whole life is only a few decades long. Most people throughout the world, throughout time, work very hard. And it doesn’t matter. I love my life.

“I don’t like this mess you and I are in. But I like living this life. I am the Lord’s servant and I will do whatever task He sets before me.

“And I know why He has asked me to do the things I have done this last year and a half. He had me take you back again and again and again, so you would see love and forgiveness acted out in your life. He told me to stop last Spring because He wanted you to come to terms with who you are and help you find your way, find a chance to come back to Him, and me, and the boys.”

“And He reminded me of my wedding vows a week ago so I would give you the chance to go to church, to have the elders pray over you. I really felt a sense of burden being lifted from you that night. You were freed of some heavy burdens you have been carrying for a very long time. And that has given you the chance to make a choice for your life free of the garbage. You can be free now. And that is a gift God has given all of us, free will.

“So... Let’s kiss and breakup.”

Against her will she smiled.

“I know,” I said. “I’m so weird.”

“But in a cute way.”

So... I took her back to her sister's. Along the way I said reassuring things to her. I told her she is a good person, but this whole mess is turning her into a liar. She doesn’t do it very well, but she is doing it frequently, and if she doesn’t stop it will become too easy for her.

I parked in front of her sister's house. I told her she needed to take off her wedding ring. I told her it isn’t right for her to talk to another man and wear that ring.

We chatted a while. She worried about the boys, details. Asked about Friday. Should she go?


On Friday Isaac is being sworn in as a U.S. citizen!!!!!

“Of course you should go! You’re his mom! You need to be there. You also need to be at his graduation and if he gets married, at his wedding. I will never talk down about you to those boys. I want you in their lives as much as is reasonable.”

There was a hesitation.

“I want to pray for you before you go.”

She didn’t say anything.

“It’s going to be OK,” I told her. “Go on. Have a good life. Find out the things you need to learn to find out who you are and what God wants of you. This is good for me, too. This is a lot of hard work, but the on-going stress of this mess, of dealing with you, is too much for me. It isn’t fair. I deserve better.”

We held hands. She clutched mine tightly, running her fingers over my wedding band.

I let it go on for a little while.

Then I pulled my hand away and gave her left boob a squeeze. She looked up startled.

I was grinning.

“Just one last time!”

She laughed.

“Now let me pray for you, OK?”

She nodded.

“Heavenly Father. Thank you for my wife. Thank you for all she has done for me, all she has given me. Thank you that through her I was able to get these boys into my life. I pray Lord that You will bless her, watch over her. I know she has accepted You as her savior and that whoever has been placed in Your hands cannot be taken away. I pray You will bring people alongside her, to keep You in mind for her, that You will guide her path so some day she may come to You again. And this whole life is so short. She will be joining You in a few decades at most, and that is all that matters. I know her choices have not pleased You, but I ask You to bless my wife, to take care of her. I claim this prayer through the name of my big brother, Jesus Christ, who ushered me into Your family and in whom I can claim anything. Therefore, I claim protection over Brenda. Help wash away the guilt and shame and regret and help her find her way through this life, for I can no longer help her. In the name of Jesus, Amen.”

We hugged tightly. She put her hand to the back of my head and pulled my face into her hair. She clung tight.

“Text me over the next few days so we can organize getting together to go to Portland on Friday with Isaac. Take care of yourself.”

I backed the van around the corner, pulled left toward home, and removed my wedding ring before I got to the stop sign.


curious servant said...

Well... I slept OK last night. About five and a half hours... But, I am OK.

I was nervous going over to see B last night. But when I got there, knew in my heart she was not going to change, knew what I wanted to say, a sense of peace settled over me.

I told her last night that if it made it easier for her, to think of this as my decision. That she can say I divorced her. And it is true. She had no intention of bringing this to an end. But I did.

I told her it would be OK with me if she told folks anything about it, and that she had no choice.

Because it is true.

Last night I had the boys sign the final papers which say they do not not contest the decision that she will pay no child support.

This afternoon I will go to the bank, get $400, and go to Oregon City and file the papers at the courthouse.

I will be divorced in a week.

The divorce decree should be back in my mailbox within two weeks.

I feel calm. I feel the Spirit beside me. I know this is what I am supposed to do.

aim4plumb said...

Congratulations to Isaac!!
I will continue to pray for Brenda.
I will pray for you..for strength and wisdom.

curious servant said...

Brenda is sending text messages to me like crazy. I think she is panicked. But I don't know for sure, as the messages did not come through (except the first of five) because my inbox is full on this cheap phone.

Becky said...

Hosea....you so make me think of the story of Hosea...

Anonymous said...

my eMMMail stands true.

Anonymous said...

Prayers and tears!!

Amrita said...

I somehow knew this would ensue. Let the emotions roll over.

curious servant said...

She is panicked... I wish I could help her, but I cannot.

I just sent her this text message:

Outbox Msg 1:
I am so sorry it has come to this. Just to be clear, I am going to file for divorce. I still believe U R a good person. U will continue 2 B in my prayers.All my love, my love.

curious servant said...

Less than an hour ago I filed the divorce papers.

I'm told it will be done within a week.



Marvin the Martian said...

Congratulations!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! :DDDD

Anonymous said...

be careful with yourself will....your eating, sleeping, etc....... we'll ALL be here for you AND praying for B also. This is dangerous time for her also but you're not the one to rescue..

love and respect you.

Owen said...

Don't really have words Will but then you don't need more words. Yeah, everything I think to say I delete so I'll just say my heart is with you man. ...Congrats to your son.

Marvin the Martian said...

Iron Will, I am very proud of you for doing what's best for you. Thank you, but I wasn't right... YOU were. You were always going to be right. I knew you would be.

There will be other trials and tribulations, but you will master them with ease, because you have the surety and the confidence to do it.

And congrats on Isaac's citizenship! Funny how everything comes together and goes well, isn't it!

jel said...

Way To go Isaac!

CS~ take care

and blessings!

Judas Hate said...

Marvin said it best.

Love you Will.

Congrats all the way around.

~m2~ said...

you are in my prayers, dear heart. i know this is so difficult.


Jada's Gigi said...

So hard..but so right. I'm sorry and I;m happy for you and yours. You have done a very hard thing a very right way. Congratulations on Isaac. You are in my heart and prayers

Lucy Stern said...

Will, your whole family is in my prayers....Congradulations to Issac on his up and coming citizenship.....Wishing you well.
Stay Strong and keep the Lord by your side.

Anonymous said...

hugs..... from chris in tasmania

Anonymous said...

hugs..... from chris in tasmania

Anonymous said...

hugs..... from chris in tasmania

Becky said...

Just wanted you to know AGAIN how your story inspires, touches, reaches us in places that only He knows.....praying for you Will to keep on following where He leads.

Paula said...

Wow, just wow! You are a true servant of God. Excellent writing, I guess because it's true. I felt like I was right there with you two. I've missed all the make-ups and break-ups. I'm proud to call you my brother in Christ.