Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: The Deep End (03/06/14)
TITLE: Riding the Waves
By Marlene Bonney
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Divorce is such an ugly word. So cold, like a clinical statistic slapped around my wrist, an I.D. bracelet I could not remove or wash away with any amount of self-cleansing or discovery. How does one stop loving? How does a spouse throw away this marvelous gift, this helpmate ordained by God to cherish, love and honor? How does the victim survive, now that it has been severed in half?
Like a glass of cold water thrown in my unsuspecting face, the resulting shock barely registered all that was to follow: the loss, the division of shared possessions, the custody issues, the lawyers, the money, the emotional roller-coaster, the struggle to stay afloat in these threatening waters. Then, the loneliness and the failure of lost love overshadowed the tangibles.
I had been pushed off this precipice, free-falling into the deep end of nothingness like a baby sparrow shoved out of its nest, and I could either give in or spread my wings and fly back up into God’s awaiting arms. With God’s help, I would pick up the pieces of my shattered heart and not wallow in the shadows of shame that could so easily hide all the sunlight from my soul.
The children needed me to be strong, and I would not allow myself to further complicate their tender emotional states with my pain and sorrow. Determined to follow this resolve, each day I treaded water in survival mode. Sometimes, like a fisherman’s sunken bobber, I would get pulled back under, only to pop back up again, resolved to overcome the depression tugging at my heels. Lifted up by the prayers of my church family and friends, I chose not to live down in the abyss of self-centered misery--for the sake of my children.
I wanted to give up many times, thinking how pleasant it would be to stop fighting and be swallowed in the sea of inadequacy. Instead, though, I clung to the life preserver of prayer and the buoy of hope. With God’s help, I WOULD prevail. I WOULD get through this. And, slowly, as I continued to “lift my eyes up to the hills,” I arose to ride on the waves, a determined surfer balancing above the buffeting waves or plowing through them like a powerboat. At times, this was a graceful exercise; but mostly, it was an awkward display of my questionable equilibrium. Nevertheless, I persevered and ultimately, prevailed.
These days, now that the children are grown and on their own, I am back in the shallow end of the pool. I walk easily through the still waters, enjoying the calmness there. The ache in my heart had scabbed over and now has become a tender scar that I choose not to touch. I look back at those floundering times and marvel that I did not drown. I have become an expert swimmer through it all, though, God’s grace supporting my stroking arms and energizing my kicking legs as I continue my journey.
Occasionally, like today, I am floating on my back, lazily smiling into the sky, my arms arcing up and over and down again while my legs waffle gently through the still waters. Other times, when circumstances push me toward the deep end, I have to struggle against them, but, armed with the learned lessons of experience and God’s grace, I know I can survive.
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