Rebuilding the Ruins
They shall build up the ancient ruins, they shall raise up the former devastations; they shall repair the ruined cities, the devastations of many generations. – Isaiah1:4 (NRSV)
When divorce happens, we unbind. We untether. We unknot. We pull apart. We become like a ball of yarn that no one cared about for a long time and which takes a long time to ravel after unraveling. Divorce removes us from the path of maturity and generativity and confronts us with a kind of stagnation. We missed our mark. We weren’t our best self. We know it takes two to tango. We became distant from our God or our Dao or our path. We fell apart. We no longer had a place. The past is ruined.
As someone who divorced, long ago, I still remember the hours and days and years of misery. Once in love, we came apart at the seams. We tore each other and we tore ourselves. (Jews have a tradition called K’riah, in which we tear a piece of fabric ourselves to imitate the death of a beloved.) We went from a nice pattern of days and a nice story for our lives to not knowing who we were or what to do next. All the furniture moved, and it wasn’t just couches or chairs. All the rooms were rearranged and almost all the doors were locked tight. The windows wouldn’t open. The holidays refused decoration.
My dear friend, Pat, who had never been divorced, finally helped me out, after the therapists and lawyers did not. She said, “You’ll wake up one morning and realize you’re not thinking about it and that’s when you’ll know you can move on.” She was right.
Healer, restore our ruins and give us your promised hallelujah of a future. Amen.
Donna Schaper works nationally for Bricks and Mortals, a NYC-based organization that provides sustainable solutions for sacred sites. Her newest book is Remove the Pews: Spiritual Possibilities for Sacred Spaces, from The Pilgrim Press.