I am the kind of done that gets out of the car. I wrap my sweater tight against the wind and try not to stamp my feet; conscious of how large and childish my anger swells. My favorite boots crush glass shards, glittering under the streetlights and stars. I am grateful for the snarled traffic and police officers directing my steps at every stoplight. I hope in equal parts that he will follow and that I will never see him again.
Our relationship has always felt sturdy, trustworthy. We meet eyes and raise brows when friends tell us they want divorce, mirroring gratitude and even, daresay, pride at our own solid friendship. Oh no, we never fight we declare gleefully, entwining fingers over milkshakes and entire seasons of The Wire, and playing card games late into the night. Yet somehow, years tick by and life sneaks between. Teenagers move into our extra bedroom, and kiddos fling cards and the remains of their snacks all over the house. I sigh extra-loudly as I clean up seven pairs of size-14 shoes discarded into corners and under the table and next to the couch.
After my march down the street, I sheepishly climb back into the passenger seat and silently slip under feather duvet and shut my eyes; not repentant quite yet. Sorry, certainly, but not convinced I am wrong. Later we meet with an older, gentler, calmer, and certainly wiser than us, couple from our church. They point us to Jesus. They ask and prod us and remind us that Christ, and not ourselves, is the center of this thing we call marriage. I tug at my own stubbornness, willing it to move; on the precipice, if not necessarily willing just yet to ask Jesus to move it for me. They ask why not and I reluctantly and slowly unearth a fear that perhaps nothing will ever change if I don’t change it for him. I cannot bear the thought.
Ok, so what if nothing ever changes? They ask me. I feel tears silently stream down my face and I dab desperately with a wadded Kleenex, the last one in the box.
I’ve answered this question before, chasing my fears all the way through and staring square in the face of what if. When Caden lay entwined in wires and beeping machines with his chest rent open, somehow I answered my deepest fears with surrender and a certainty that God was not only good, but infinitely near. Answering now seems somehow harder; I stumble over my own seeming ability to change things. But perhaps therein lies the true Gospel: a God who carries and draws infinitely near not only in our moments of deepest crisis, but also in all our daily worries and fears. Who offers hope like a torch at my son’s bedside, and like a candle when I feel suffocated by the impossibility of untangling and navigating the strands of my marriage.