I looked down, more surprised by my lack of surprise than by the little floating head bobbing in my soup. I was a bit grossed out, but it was almost as though I knew it would be there. I leaned in and looked more closely, fascinated a bit although whether I was more fascinated by the fact that there was this nasty little thing in my soup or by the fact that this struggling creature was a fly with my husband’s head grinning angrily, calling out obscenities, and generally being himself where the fly’s own head should have been I couldn’t tell.
What was my husband doing struggling in my tomato soup, being tossed about wildly by the tiniest ripples in the bowl, fighting to stay afloat while I looked down on him, and why was he angry at me? He had gotten into my soup on his own volition.
I’d been having a hard time writing my Sunday, October 4th’s Gospel Reflection for the Divorced, as I had begun calling my Monday posts, and the Gospel reading, in fact all of the readings Sunday seemed to be paradoxically written precisely for the hopeful about to be marrieds and for the heartbroken, rejected divorced.
Divorce only happens
because of the hardness of man’s heart:
I looked over the readings wondering why was I having such a hard time writing what should have been so simple…
It is not good for man to be alone…
That is why a man leaves his father and mother
and clings to his wife,
and the two of them become one flesh.
May the Lord bless us all the days of our lives.
Your wife shall be like a fruitful vine
in the recesses of your home;
your children like olive plants”
He “for a little while” was made “lower than the angels, ”
that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone.
For it was fitting that he,
for whom and through whom all things exist,
in bringing many children to glory,
should make the leader to their salvation perfect through suffering.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
If we love one another, God remains in us
and his love is brought to perfection in us.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
All the readings from Sunday applied directly to divorce and should have been so easy to write about. When I saw those readings I got excited. This is what I’ve been trying to say! This is what people need to hear! This is perfect for the timing of the beginning of the Synod on the Family!
But eventually it occurred to me – duh! – This has already been said. This has already been witnessed to to. This timing had already been recognized.
And all by a far greater authority and with far more eloquence than I’ll ever have.
Why were Sunday’s readings calling to my heart while leaving the ink in my virtual pen dry?
The answer called, waking me from a dream in the darkness of this very early morning to write now.
Life is about me now.
To briefly recap for new readers (Welcome by the way!):
Six and a half years ago, my husband left suddenly. I was five months pregnant on Mother’s Day 2009 when he gave us a week’s notice and moved out to be with a former girlfriend he reconnected with on Facebook. We had just renewed our vows on Valentine’s Day that same year. Over the course of the next few years, I’d receive an order of protection and divorce (ironically, both also issued on Valentine’s Day). My five boys and I would lose our home in foreclosure and become dependent on friends and family for Christmas presents, hand-me-down clothing, and even food and housing since child support was scarce and I had been a stay at home mom and part time youth minister of our local church.
But six and a half years ago was also my awakening and rebirth.
I attempted to update my elementary teaching license but found it would take too much time and money, so I found a work-around by attaining my 7-12 math certification. I took classes online and in person. I travelled quite a distance on weekends to take a Sunday class through a state teachers’ union, and eventually I got a job teaching high school math. At the same time, I officially launched a test prep business and prepared students all over the world to take college entrance exams such as the SAT and ACT.
And, as you know, I started Single Mom Smiling.
I am now contacted by women from all over
in situations far more desperate than mine.
Most importantly of all, over the six and a half years, I’ve learned the value of time with my children whom I Love more than anyone on God’s beautiful Earth and I been gifted with a faith I didn’t realize I was missing.
I was youth minister of our church when my husband left, but it is a position I was unworthy of. I loved my faith. I loved the Lord, but I was lukewarm in my Love – as I am guilty of having been in our Marriage after the romance had worn thin and before the realization that Joy comes from inside, not from another, and that I needed to do better, was born.
I didn’t know there was more to know.
I didn’t know there was more to be.
I didn’t know there was a better way to Love.
Like receiving my math degree, I could not have found the Lord without something ripping apart my status quo. I needed that to get where I am with the true realization that it is not my math certification. They are not my children. It is not my faith. These are gifts given to me by my Father – as is Faith, as is Love, as is Marriage.
Which brings me back to Sunday’s readings and why I had such a hard time.
I was trying to write about marriage and divorce and the evil it produces, when really, it is about me now, not about my ex or his soon-to-be-wife or the wrong they justify or wounds they inflict.
My life is now about increasing softness in my own heart and about being a real role model for my children and others. It is about both guarding and softening my heart enough to be Wise and Discerning, yet Loving and Forgiving. It is about letting go and moving on. It is being strong enough to stand for me while broken enough to wish my ex Blessings in his future life. It is about real happiness and finding Joy where I am and in being glad, truly, amazingly glad, he’s gone and I am me.
Which brings me, in a round about way, to the fly in my soup dream message that woke me.
I suddenly realized my ex is little more than a fly in my bowl of life. While he appears to have temporal gifts, my dream showed him to be small, insignificant, bobbing barely above the surface of the red tide of tomato soup rippling in my bowl.
If the soup represented my life,
my ex was without a doubt a fly.
Sure I could have gone on eating around him, but the truth is, he’d corrupted the whole bowl. His presence meant my soup needed to be sent back for another, fresher, cleaner serving.
Today, my ex is still there sometimes. As I enjoy a nice meal, a baseball game, a story or something similar with my children, that small fly in my soup shows up every once in a while. Usually in the form of a text message, causing my stomach to turn, but the minor annoyance the fly presents is okay – and sometimes even kind of welcome.
Seeing the fly in my soup helps me enjoy Good food even more. Having a fly in my soup doesn’t mean I quit eating. It just means I’m more selective and a bit more careful now. It means I’ve set my standards higher and am not content to eat around a fly. It means I am enjoying Good, hot food rather than settling for insect infested bowls of lukewarm soup.
If you have been wounded by abandonment or divorce, realize that you can overcome the hardships. With God’s guidance, honorable relationships, hard work, and a plan you can be made new. You can be bigger, stronger, happier, and thriving, and those issues that seemed so overwhelming at one point are little more than a fly in the bowl of life.
If you would like help getting unstuck and moving forward, reach out to me. I have been life coaching informally for a while now, am working with PCCI to receive my life coaching certification, and will officially launch my life coaching website Thanksgiving of this year.
If you are a woman with a fly of any sort in your soup, if you want to leave the past behind, if you are interested in moving ahead, attaining goals, and remembering your dream, I’d love to have you contact me for life coaching.
For now, please use my Single Mom Smiling contact form to reach out to me to continue to share your stories, but also to sign up for life coaching. Special discounted rates and programs will apply to those signed up before November 1st, 2015.
And, as always, thanks for commenting, liking, following, and sharing!