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.