Today my family will be celebrating my nephew’s 9th birthday. He is only ten years younger than me but I would still like to remember the good ‘old’ days when I was 9. For me 9 was the end of an era. My brother and sister, being much older than I, had moved out of our home that my parents had designed and built. Then this house so spacious, well made, and on land surrounded by Aunts, Uncles, and Cousins was put on the market. We could no longer afford it. When my siblings left, it marked the start of their journeys into independence. For me leaving the only place I knew simply marked the first time my heart was broken and left me raw to deal with what was next.
My parents’ relationship was cracking. They both loved me and wanted to protect me from the chaos. I was going to say I didn’t expect it, that would be a lie though. I think I still saw it coming, though my standard glasses were optimistic ones. No amount of mom’s hugs and dad’s fun diversions could protect me from the rocky waters we were paddling through. When I was 10 the divorce was finalized.
You may be wondering where the good in “good old times” is. It is there I promise.
That was probably the first time I was able to look at my life and know God was with me. Everything I knew of, school, home, and family was turned upside down, yet I never felt afraid or unsafe. At the time, I did not have a very personal relationship with Jesus, but I knew that God was my constant protector. I don’t remember ever being bitter about the divorce. I was sad, not angry or hopeless. Many of these emotions could have been perfectly legitimate things for me to feel. However, I am so thankful for the clarity God gave me in a time that could have been ruled by uncertainty. Looking back I can see that this was the first time my heart was healed.
The gatherings of both sides of my family has lost any painful awkwardness, as the years have passed. Tonight’s dinner will be enjoyed by people whose hearts are full of love for my nephew and each other. We will have a fun time celebrating the start of my nephew’s 9th year and I am willing to bet not a single one of us will be thinking about the craziness of 10 years ago.
See ya tomorrow 🙂