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Wednesday, July 18, 2012

The Parable of the Pansy

      ...and the intensity of divorce

  So, in my family, I plant the flowers, my wife plants the vegetable garden.  I don’t know about you, but when I look at flowers, it seems to me that the color of a pansy is about one of the most intense of colors in the flower world.  Oh, I know, tulips and roses can be pretty intense, and cannas are right up there, too.  There are plenty, so you flower folks who really know what you are doing may easily dispute the assertion, but, as I said, I think the color of pansies is about the most intense colors we find.  The picture I posted is, of course, of pansies I saw along the side of the road at a house somewhere up in the Rockies around Aspen.  Beautiful, aren’t they? 

  We actually drove all the way out to Reno and Tahoe from here in Kansas for a  nephew’s wedding…..they had me perform the ceremony.  That was kind of cool, I thought.  And we drove back through Arches National Park and across Colorado where we got to visit with friends.  (All of which, by the way, is why I haven’t been posting so many blogs recently……just so much to do and see!!)

  Well, the intensity of the flower color, along with some other conversations and experiences got me to thinking about something I wanted to share on the blog…….especially for those of you who have never been divorced.  Over the years of pastoring, there have been many times I have been involved in offering support and encouragement to folks whose marriages were ending in divorce.  I remember well how difficult it was to find the right words for the time when words did not seem to be enough.  I remember some of those folks sitting in my office, so utterly sad, so devastated, or so angry or listless.  Sometimes they remained almost as if they just didn’t want to leave, to be alone.  I offered the best encouragement I knew how to offer, but the truth is, I really didn’t have a clue.  Not until my divorce.  And then, there were so many experiences, struggles and surprises.

  What may have surprised me the most was the intensity of the emotions.  I have not suffered the experience of having a very close loved one die, so I cannot really offer a useful comparison to that.  And I suppose the emotional responses really vary from person too person…..at least, that is what I have observed.  But I was overwhelmed by how utterly intense and consuming the various emotions were in the midst of that ugly process of divorce.  Times of utter sadness.  Other times of desperate loneliness.  An inner agony that just ached at the loss.  Anger that would be stirred at inconsiderate behaviors or frustrations with the courts.  It wasn’t so much the various emotions, but how intense they are that I could not have guessed would be the case.  I was encouraged at the time when I heard another refer to the extreme sense of loneliness…..at least I wasn’t the only one! 

  If you have not experienced divorce, and are trying to help someone who is, perhaps it might help a bit if you realize the intensity of emotional upheaval they are experiencing.  Compare a pansy to a petunia, and maybe that difference could help you understand.  Or think of the adrenaline rush of the rollercoaster or bungee jumping…..but then extend it way beyond those few seconds of the ride to the days, weeks and months involved in divorce. 
Then you have a hint of what it is like.  No wonder those folks lingered so long in the office….they were hurting even more than I knew.  How important it is in those times to know that someone cares.  Tell those YOU know of your care for their struggles.  I’ll share some other pictures later……got some really cool shots, think you will enjoy them.

TL:dr  Divorce creates extreme emotions that are not always comprehended by those around them.  And pansies are pretty!

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