I’m married, and if you are too, then statistically speaking, one of us is going to get a divorce.
I’m not writing that to be sensational, but I just want to be clear that it’s a big deal. And I don’t know if we Christians do a very good job of treating it as such.
Look at it this way: if one out of every two neighbors on your street got mauled by a bear, would you be more careful about bears? Would you buy books on how to keep your house safe from bears? Would you carry a gun and bear spray if there were in fact such a thing as bear spray? Probably. Yet, when it comes to divorce, we don’t do many equivalent things. And the ratios are equally as high as that bear scenario.
Whenever I hear about another set of friends who hit the wall, I want to call in the national guard...or at the very least an ambulance or something. Shouldn't we be mobilizing? Putting researchers on this? Why are the statistics so damn high?
And I wonder if we did put researchers on it, would they focus on the right things? Or would they chase after factors related to sex or poor communication or 'irreconcilable differences.' Because I think the root of the issue is much more personal than that.
In as much as Christianity or our day jobs or the demands of every single person who needs us to volunteer, produce, parent, give, behave, or even in the smallest way be the things that we are not--blindly ignoring the part of us that dreams, feels and imagines... In as much as we ignore that part of our soul and forget to care for it as if it is important... We leave ourselves vulnerable.
Because if our soul--the very heart of us--is screaming to be seen, someone else whose soul is screaming too is going to hear that call and answer it. And we can find ourselves on a path we never dreamed we would travel. Forgetting all that is most precious and real.
What if we each took responsibility for the health of our soul? What if we took frequent assessment of how we are on a soul level unafraid of what we might find there? What if we each developed our own early warning system to cast off all of the square pegs our round selves find ourselves in rather than indulging the deception that we can fit? Or believing the lie that others put us there? What if we stopped finding our identity in the roles we play and started searching out the Imago Dei that beats in every one of us?
If we did this, could we help others do it too? Could we remind our spouses constantly that they are so much more than housekeeper, meal ticket, handyman, chauffeur, nanny, middle-aged... Could we see into the beautiful heart of them?
I think that if we became skilled at this, the statistics would decline. We would stop sleepwalking and become fully ourselves...connected to God...and connected to each other. (It would seem the freeing of our souls is rarely a solo mission.)
My guess is that investing in bear spray will neither protect myself nor stop the news I recieve of friends under attack. But really, I feel helpless to do anything else.