“Well at least I got two great kids out of it,” he said with a sigh.
It had been a year and a half since his divorce was final and the thirty-something father still felt that strange physical ache in the middle of his chest. A marriage he once envisioned would endure for decades had ended unexpectedly. In reciting the history of his divorce, and he often returned to this refrain in search of the meaning of a marriage gone awry.
He couldn’t keep his mind from going to the whys. Why couldn’t they make it work like his parents who just celebrated their 40th ? Why did she give up on counseling? Why did two people who could hardly wait to set a wedding date find themselves in a room with nothing to say to one another?
More than two years after she declared it was “over” he could not prevent the tears from welling up. Seeing his children as the good gave him solace.
Searching for meaning in a marriage ended is understandable. Yet we might be surprised to discover that our divorce may one day provide a precious blessing to another. I know. I am the recipient of one of those gifts of a marriage ended.
When John and Judy divorced, Marisa was a shy and petite toddler with soft blonde hair. That toddler is about to turn 30, tall, red headed, confident. And she is my blessing from the divorce of John and Judy.
Marisa was 8 years old when John and I began dating. With her sisters grown, she was accustomed to it being just the her dad an her. Cooking her breakfast, taking her on walks with their German Shepherd, and going to church on Sunday morning—John loved being a dad and the two of them loved being together. Adjusting to a stepmom with two children of her own wasn’t easy, but her good nature earned her the teasing title of “My Little Angel” by the time my two were full speed into adolescent acting out.
Marisa moved to Boston for college and worked in California, but moved back to our hometown before her dad entered home hospice. One September night two years ago, Marisa came to spend the night at our home. We knew the time of her dad’s death was near. He died that night.
Marisa and I spent this past weekend at Lake Okoboji where Marisa visited every summer of her childhood. First with her dad, then with our blended family, now with me. We talked about her grad school classes. About how she is going to be a teacher just like her dad. About a sweetheart who has captured her attention and perhaps her heart.
What a precious gift she is to me.
No one wishes anyone’s marriage to end. But one divorce gave a gift for which I will always be grateful—-an unintended divorce blessing.