Divorce shatters a child’s brain in a permanent way.
Marriage is sacred. A holy thing not to be trifled with. A covenant between two humans and the God of the universe.
When the covenant is broken, the damage is enormous.
When I was a little girl my family was smashed apart.
I have since healed but every so often I have recurring dream that stabs at my old wounds.
It begins in the house on 18th street.
The house is the one my grandmother lived in. It is the place where I climbed onto the shed in the backyard and hurled sticks at my cousin and his friends. It is the house where we had the biggest, most wonderful Christmases of my childhood. It is the place of my greatest mischief and the place where my dearest cousin and I painted red lipstick on every square inch of our faces. It was the house of popsicles and June bugs. But somehow this place that should have been full of sweet memories is always the place of my most terrifying nightmares.
The dream always begins the same way. I walk toward the home of memories, the one covered in ivy. Inside it is quiet; desolate but not empty. Inside it is haunted by the memories of a time when my family was whole. Phantom memories appear before me as I walk from one cold room to the next. I see myself, a little blonde girl with tossled hair and a sailor dress, I am dancing with my favorite cousin, the one with rich brown eyes and sweet curls. The vision evaporates into a thin mist as I walk to the kitchen and see the table all set for Thanksgiving. Each room is haunted with vaporous memories that disappear almost as quickly as they appear.
As I walk throughout the house I am drawn outside. I know where I am going, I am drawn deep into the earth. I open basement doors which never before existed, revealing the depths that goes for nearly half a mile down.
Deep inside is the thing I am looking for and the thing my heart desires. My heart pulls me down. Deep into the depths of the earth below. The basement is littered with broken things that were once beautiful. A grandfather clock with a shattered face. Smashed rocking horses. The walls are littered with smashed photos.
The shadows move. Creatures are alive inside of the basement and they are the ones who want to steal me from the thing my heart desires. I race deeper, clambering over boxes and I know that I will be consumed by the dark demons that are after me. In front of me is the door. With a sledge hammer I pound my way in because I know that what is inside. I know that the thing I want so badly is waiting for me.
I claw through the hole in the door and make my way into the room before me. I have made it and what I see stuns me. It is a house. A serene, beautiful little home that has been preserved like a time capsule in the center of this terrifying basement. Inside of this home are my beautiful mother and father and my sisters. They have been preserved from the horrible things that tore us apart. They are happy and in love and untouched by the destruction Satan had set aside for us. They don’t see me though I wish I could join them in their happy reveries. What I see is an alive picture of what God had intended for my family. The noise of the demons who are clamoring to destroy me is a deafening din.
Then I wake.
I have this dream occasionally and it always feels like a knife in a scar. I have to show Abba Father my scar and ask him to heal me all over again.
I know that there is a place for divorce. I am not naive. But, oh, how I long for families to stay together and see things through. Oh, how I long for God’s vision for families to be realized in America.
What about you, dear reader, have you been touched by divorce in your life? I pray for you, and for all of us who are nursing scars that need occasional mending by our tender Father.