I reached into the mailbox and took out an unusually large number of envelopes of various shapes and sizes. Back to school time was here, and for a single mom of five boys, that means a crazy amount of paperwork.
But as I sorted through the material, one envelope caught my attention. It was a plain, innocent looking white envelope of standard business size.
Only the red stamp of our Archdiocesan headquarters made it stand out.
I guessed that I held the result of our annulment in my hand.
The envelope was addressed to me using my maiden name, something the Archdiocese had done in all correspondence since the case was opened, something I still disagree with. I cannot understand why the church eliminates the married name, denying the marriage before the investigation even begins. Why would the church revert to pre-Sacrament practices before it was proven that the Sacrament had not occurred?
I prefer to Hope that a Sacrament did occur and work from that point than to assume it did not and work from whatever vague spot that places us.
Whatever the reason, seeing my maiden name simply stated on the outside of the envelope no longer held the sting it once had.
Today, I am neither my premarital self nor my married self, so neither name truly belongs to me.
Is it possible for Catholics to be Born Again?
I have certainly been made new in Christ.
I checked the return address and saw the letter was from the Archdiocese, but this envelope came, not from the tribunal judge, but from the head honcho himself, the “Very Reverend.”
I fought back a chuckle as I wondered, briefly and with no disrespect intended, if the church had “very reverends” and “sort-of, kind-of reverends” and maybe even “not-quite reverends” paired with “super-fabulous reverends.” There is so much I still need to learn, but I was pretty sure this head honcho guy was on was way to super-fabulous!
It was probably an odd thought, but it shows how far I’ve come in the last five years,
how I’ve regained the ability to laugh at moments that would have once broken my heart.
I thank God for that laughter often
and Love to share that Joy.
I had personally met with this Very Reverend after the horrible experience with my tribunal judge, and I could certainly attest to the fact that this man was indeed a VERY Reverend.
I admired and respected him and am more grateful than I can verbalize for the calm, peace filled way he read through the transcripts of our case, the comments he made about what he saw stated, and the gentle humor he expressed through it all.
Whatever this kind, wise man had decided, I was sure he would have prayed first; I knew I could trust him and God with the outcome.
Putting off the Annulment Decision
As I walked into the house where my basketball team of boys waited for me, I knew I’d have no time or privacy to open that envelope now. I was only mildly surprised by the calm acceptance I had knowing that.
I wondered if I really needed to learn the result of the annulment decision after all.
I’ve learned over the years, the word “need” is overused; I need very little after all.
At that moment, the decision didn’t seem to matter much either way.
I walked in the door putting the envelope in the middle of the stack of papers so my boys wouldn’t see it. Tomorrow was Kaleb’s birthday, and I had already been out late shopping.
Tomorrow night Kaleb and his brothers would be staying at their father’s house and celebrating his birthday – a fact that still amazes me. Tonight, I would put all my worries about the new job and stress over the messy house and everything else aside and just hang out with my boys.
Tonight, I didn’t need to know what that envelope contained.
Tonight, I just needed to be Mom.
Later, when the boys were gone, I thought back to my reaction when my husband had told me he was leaving, the indescribable Loss, earth shattering fear, and absolute agonizing pain of those long months – even years.
I remembered the shock of receiving the annulment papers in the mail while I was still reeling from the divorce. I remembered the heartlessness my ex husband and his girlfriend (and some in the church) had by forcing me to approach the annulment without warning and while still trying to adjust to being a single mom of five boys, finding a job, being forced from my home … to so much…
but that was all in the past now,
The peace and calm I once would not have thought possible I now know comes straight from the Strength of the Holy Spirit and the Power of the Lord Himself. It is that which filled me as I placed that pile of mail on the counter and went to play with my boys.
I’d find out the result of the annulment decision soon enough.
Please join me for my post, The Annulment Decision – Opening the Envelope, which will be posted within the week to find out whether the annulment was successful or not. I also thank you for patience with my temporarily sporadic writing schedule while I adjust to my new job, teach my night SAT class and CCD (Confirmation class! A story in itself! YAY!!!), and send five boys off to school, Scouts, sports each day.
I may be low on blogging time, but I’m still high on Faith, Hope, & Love!!
Part V – My Chains ARE Gone!