Broken Together

The season of joy approaches.  That annoying little kid with glasses shows up every hour on the hour on the tv.  Egg Nog becomes a cappuccino flavor at the local convenience stores, and pumpkin spice quickly is displaced like Jack O’Lanterns for lights and elves.

And as I drove tonight to get some steak (as a hot blooded American man I’m typically in the mood for steak at dinner) I listened to KLove on the radio and took a short detour to see the way the houses were decorated for Christmas.  The lights illuminating the dark night as Christ did my heart so long ago.  But the joy was soon forgotten.

And as I walked through the ShopRite I noticed after two years, my thumb still goes for my ring finger every time I walk towards the doors.  I’m not sure why, but it especially happens at night as I walk across the near empty parking lot.  And perhaps it’s because as I look around at the emptiness, my finger remembers that’s how my heart feels.  And I get a meal for one.  And oh how I yearn to buy some soy steaks instead of some real ones (which I could have never anticipated ever saying).  How I miss purchasing salad stuff after a busy Friday on my way home, and texting her and telling her that she doesn’t need to worry about it.  And seeing the smiley emoji and a kissey emoji in return.

And I think about listening to Michael Buble’s Christmas album as we make our soy salads and I can’t help but feel like a fish…  As my glasses begin to fill with salt water.  All blubbering and FLOUNDERing around this vast ocean of a life, as BLUE as a fish, WHALEing inside.

And now, puns aside, before I go to bed, I straighten my room a little, and I pick up a book about building your marriage and while flipping through the pages my attention darts to my television and I hear Broken together by Casting Crowns.  And the lyrics devastate my already fragile heart.

“What do you think about when you look at me
I know we’re not the fairy tale you dreamed we’d be
You wore the veil, you walked the aisle, you took my hand
And we dove into a mystery.
How I wish we could go back to simpler times
Before all our scars and all our secrets were in the light
Now on this hallowed ground, we’ve drawn the battle lines
Will we make it through the night?
It’s going to take much more than promises this time
Only God can change our minds.
Maybe you and I were never meant to be complete
Could we just be broken together?
If you can bring your shattered dreams and I’ll bring mine
Could healing still be spoken and save us?
The only way we’ll last forever is broken together.”
And in about a week I will be divorced.  And at this point I have given up on God changing our minds.  We won’t be broken together.  We will just be broken.  Or I will be.  I already am.  I feel like a twig underneath a fast moving foot.  Like a reed being bent by a horrific storm that just can’t take the pressure anymore.  Like a pane of glass, shattering from constantly applied pressure.
And then I look down and I see a book of promises.  His promises.  199 to be exact.  And that’s nothing compared to how many there really are.  And I struggle to find the comfort but it is there.  I struggle to find the solace but it’s there.  I struggle to find hope, but it’s there.  Like David being chased by King Saul I struggle to find rest, but it’s there.  The world was filled with sin and only the law was able to save, and there was nothing… but then there was faith, born in a manger.  I know I’ll never be her husband again, but true love is to pray anyway.  And I see a card, a cute little card, because she was just that cute, and she says she’s so glad I’m the only one.  And I’m just glad I was, even if it was for only a decade, I’m glad I was.  She will remain the best part of my life, no matter how long it lasts.  And maybe one day her name will be etched on my epitaph.
But for now, I recognize that even though we can’t be broken together, at least I can be broken with a Savior who became broken, who became sin, for me.  I can fall on my knees, and I can hear the angels’ voices and I can cry out, “Oh night divine.”  I can remember that being alone for the holidays will never mean I am truly alone because Emmanuel means God with us, and He is.
I miss her so much.  But just like Christmas lights on a crisp December night, there is a light that shines in the darkness, and His name is Jesus.

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