Wednesday, January 23, 2013

A Fork in the Road

I come from a long line of Christians. Because of such a godly heritage, I never considered divorce would touch my family. I had been taught that God hates divorce--that couples can work through anything with Christ’s help. My plan was to raise the kids who would probably grow up to be in some type of ministry. Then we’d spend our empty nest years spoiling the grandkids, celebrating holidays at large family reunions, and planning vacations together with everyone. I assumed I’d grow old with the wife of my youth—sitting grey-haired on a front porch swing, reminiscing about the decades of our life together. I didn't know my wife was having affairs. I thought we were fine.
Once she filed for divorce it all crashed in on me. Over the next few months my life was consumed with lawyer consultations, comforting my children, looking for an apartment, and discovering which friends were hers or mine. All the while I continued to hope for the best.
Some days I was in denial, other days angry or depressed. I felt challenged in my manhood and self-worth. Nightmares of my wife with other men interrupted my sleep. During the day, I was consumed with thoughts of my kids climbing into another man’s lap, enjoying a better life with a guy who had won them over somehow. I imagined this man moving into my home and kissing my children goodnight. In these vain imaginations he was younger, stronger, better looking, and richer than I could ever be. I couldn’t keep my thoughts captive, and it ate away at my ability to reason properly.
My crisis came to a head one terrible Sunday night wile returning my kids to their mother. As I arrived, I noticed the lights were out. Although her car was there, no one seemed to be home. We sat in the driveway and I dialed her mobile. Perhaps she had walked over to a neighbor’s house for a moment.
Before I could finish dialing, a black convertible Jaguar pulled up to the curb. The passenger door opened and the interior light revealed my wife and the driver inside, a handsome, much younger man. Not yet noticing us, she leaned over and kissed him, got out, then waved goodbye. In a flash, he was gone. She noticed my vehicle and froze.
What just happened?
I sat there, in the darkness of my vehicle as my jaw dropped. In these months leading up to our court date—even with the nightmares—I remained hopeful that we’d be able to salvage our marriage. I never considered my fears might materialize even before the divorce was final. Did he know she was still my wife? How dare he? My stomach hurt and my throat went dry. I was trembling and getting tunnel vision.
My children saw it all and one of them asked, “Who was that Daddy?”
The question snapped me out of my stupor. “I don’t know kids, but you need to go—Mommy’s here.” I rushed them out of the car without saying goodbye and squealed the tires as I left. I wanted to catch that guy.
In the rearview mirror of my dented mini-van, I saw my wife and children standing in the middle of the front yard in confusion. Tears welled up under my eyes and began to drop as I beat my fists against the steering wheel. Then I screamed out, “What is this! What are you doing, God?
I could hardly see to drive, but I knew this home-wrecker could only be a few blocks ahead of me. I was gaining on him, but I was uncertain exactly what I would do when I caught him. Scenarios ran through my head—maybe I would run up to his vehicle with a crowbar and start breaking his headlights. Then I’d pull him out of the car and punch his face over and over again until no one could recognize him. Perhaps I’d take the high road and, like a gentleman, calmly ask him to leave my wife alone. Maybe I’d even share the gospel with him…or just kick him with my steel-toed boots right in his crotch! Yeah, the low road seemed more fulfilling.
As I turned a corner I saw him only a few blocks ahead of me—in that stupid convertible. How impractical. He slowed, and, ignoring the stop sign, turned left at a crossroads ahead of me, away from town. I rolled up to the T-intersection trying to calm down. My hands were tingling and numb. As I looked at the fork ahead of me I had a revelation. I was in trouble. Smoke was pouring out of my life, and I could no longer deny that my marriage and my heart had thrown a rod. I had a choice to make. I could turn right, go home, and abandon the chase, or I could turn left and continue chasing after…what?
I wiped my nose on my sleeve and turned right.

So let me ask you, although we can’t always protect our kids from everything in life, what are some ways you can protect your children from seeing or hearing things above their comprehension level? Would love to hear your responses.