For years I was ‘the lucky one’.
“You’re so lucky to have Bill.”
“You guys have such a great marriage.”
“I don’t know another couple who are as happy as you two.”
“His love for you is so obvious. I’m jealous.”
“You were made for each other.”
Bill and I sort of won the marriage lottery. But what happens when your ‘luck’ runs out?
We never had much money. Didn’t drive fancy cars or live in gorgeous houses. I’ve never owned a designer bag, never traveled far from home. Tropical vacations were something you dreamed about on cold winter nights. Going out to dinner meant Olive Garden or somewhere at the beach for a fish fry. The nearest Dairy Queen is now fifty miles away, but it was once our favorite place to stop.
For a long time, when the kids were young and there was a closer Dairy Queen, we used to meet every Friday for lunch. I would park my car and get into his truck and we would go through the drive-through. Then Bill would park out back and we’d eat and talk, maybe neck a little before he drove me back to my car.
The employees all thought we were having an affair. You could tell by the looks, sometimes sly, sometimes a little offended that they thought I was someone's wife and he was someone's husband. Our conversations ranged from the very serious, involving money or problems with the kids, to silly, fun, sexy teasing. With five kids there wasn’t much private time at home, and this was our time. An hour stolen from kids and work and a multitude of time sucking chores to simple enjoy each other. Rainy days were the best. Parked in the back corner of the lot with the wipers off we were enclosed in our own secluded world. That hour flew by and even though I knew I would see him at home in a few hours after we got out of work, I was always a little sad to kiss him good-bye and get back in my own car.
I guess it stands to reason that sadness would encompass me now, knowing I won’t see him at home, in fact I won’t see him again. I pray every night that one day we will be reunited in Heaven. I pray for faith, for in all honesty I’m often overcome by doubt. Why would a loving God separate two people whose very existence depends on each other? Why would he take Bill when at this very second some man is abusing his wife, the one he promised to treasure for all eternity? Somewhere, some woman is begging for mercy, as I beg for mercy now. Somewhere a woman is suffering in silence, much as I suffer every day. How can this make sense?
My minds says, take him, God. Take the man who is cruel, heartless, and selfish. He’s the one who needs your help. He’s the one who might benefit from your holy law. Don’t take the one who knows how to love. Don’t take the one who is ‘all heart’, who understands what honor means, the one who makes a difference here on earth, the one I struggle to live without. For you have taken one body, but two hearts.
The wedding ceremony reads ‘till death do us part’ and that’s what I agreed to when I said “I do”, but it doesn’t end at death, does it. Death parts us physically, but it does not part hearts that beat for each other.
In reality, this post probably doesn’t help anyone. It’s for me, one of the ‘left-behinds’, one of the thousands of women who wander this world wondering what happened and why. We wonder when the pain will end, if the pain will end. We wonder if we’ll ever feel whole again. We wonder how we’ll survive another year, another day, another minute. Yet we go on, through no real choice of our own.
Blessed are the ‘left-behinds’. Even though my faith wavers, I pray for all the women like me. I pray God gives us strength, courage and faith.