Monday, March 31, 2008


I know I'm a big downer lately, and I hate people like that. I had a sorority sister in college whom we secretly called "buzz-kill" (isn't that lovely?- such sisterly devotion) because of her incredible ability to steal the joy from a party with her conversation topics. There we were, girls in skimpy clothes, boys with too much testosterone, everyone drinking beer, dancing to loud music, and then she'd sidle up to you (and the boy you hoped would kiss you before the evening was out) and bring up partial-birth abortion. Or politics. Or how her sister's boyfriend had committed suicide.
But I just can't help myself. I have to recount this sad story from church. (Why am I always full of sad stories from church? My church is actually a very joyful place.)
I was sitting on the end of an aisle, waiting for the service to start, when a woman sitting nearby said, "Susan?"
I was thrilled to see my friend, Lisa, from my former life. (You know- the life you had before kids when you'd go out with other couples and DO things.)
Lisa and Paul were one of the fun couples we met when we were first married, and the four of us used to get together for dinner, invite each other to soirees, etc. They are one of those GREAT couples- laid-back, down-to-earth, fun. Never pretentious. Always kind and welcoming. Of course, once we all had kids we lost touch. The evenings out stopped altogether- you know how it goes. But we had been seeing them around church in the past two years, and this was a very happy surprise, because Paul had always been steadfast in his disbelief and complete disinterest in all things God. Something had changed for him, and he was attending church regularly with Lisa and their son.
Then about six months ago my DH ran into Paul after church and Paul told him how things had been tough for them lately. He said he had injured himself at work (he is a fire-fighter), that Lisa had battled breast cancer, and that he had been struggling with a drug addiction. This was all shocking news, but it was OK- Lisa was in remission. Paul had defeated the addiction and was leading a ministry for drug addicts at our church. It was exciting stuff.
So as I chatted with Lisa yesterday, I inquired, "How's Paul?"
Her expression went blank and she said, "I wouldn't know. We're divorcing."
A punch in the face would have made less of an impact on me.
"He relapsed. He's fallen back into his addiction."
I was baffled. "But I thought he was past that! I thought he was leading the addiction ministry here at church!"
She just looked sad - so sad- and said, "He was using the whole time."
Cue the music to the opening worship song, and I give her a quick hug and an "I'm so sorry."
And then I'm supposed to turn around and PRAISE THE LORD.
But I couldn't. I just stood there fighting tears and hoping she couldn't see.
Poor Lisa. Poor 8 year old son.
Poor Paul. I'll admit- I was angry with him for a little while. But who the heck am I kidding? I can't even get off caffeine!!! (Seriously- I can't.) I'm in no position to judge him.
And I'm certainly not mad at God or anything silly like that. But I am so, so sad for them.
Sorry guys. Buzz-kill.


Kate said...

Dude, that was such a downer.
Sad for everyone involved!
I know how it is though, when someone you know is having a crisis like that and you can't get them and their situation out of your mind.

Anonymous said...

I have another buzz-kill for ya.

I'm happily reading blogs tonight and bam, one sweet little thing lost her HUSBAND of - TEN WEEKS - on - guess what day? EASTER SUNDAY. Fishing accident, quite unexplainable, everyone was there...

Buzzkill. One day she's talking about the normal routine of life, the little duties of being newlywed and settling in... the next day it's all upside down. Weird, very weird. It's enough to make me feel very paranoid tonight...

Anyway, she's had an incredible outpouring on her little blog. I think it's if you want to go get teary again.

Sorry, I don't mean to ignore your own very sad post here. I can't imagine your friend's sadness, either... it's all very, very sad. Ironically, I find myself reading a book called "Too Good to be True, Finding Hope in a World of Hype." It's good to remember that although we do have the opportunity to offer God the SACRIFICE of our praise during such times, there IS "a time for everything"... a time to mourn, and a time to rejoice... a time to weep and a time to laugh... and it's OKAY if we are sad AND Christians at the same time. It's okay! As often as people tell us differently, we all know deep down that divorces and deaths are NOT "healthy and normal parts of life." They are part of the curse from which we long to be redeemed. And it's okay to feel that way sometimes.

Which is why I'm mailing her the very same book. Your friend may be interested, too - it's cheap on amazon and there's a link on my post from today. Great little book, terrific author, highly recommended.

Hopefully joy will come in the morning for the two of us!

Beck said...

That poor family. God won't give up on him.