What Comes Next . . .
So, some of you have been sending messages, asking about where I'm living and what I'm doing, and why I'm in whatever part of the world I've been to in the last few weeks . . . and why Sonya isn't with me or are we moving there or . . . well, the short answer is Sonya asked for a dissolution of marriage on March 28, and I agreed with her. I mean, it was a shock but no surprise for those that knew us well. It wasn't like we were having midnight shouting matches and throwing china plates at each other (we weren't). The relationship just dissolved. We've had ups and downs in the past, but this down didn't go back up. We filed the petition on April 25. Our house sold and closed on June 8. Sonya moved to Florida, and I moved to Indianapolis to spend summer and sabbatlcal there with Shepherd Community while writing, doing research and serving as a home base for traveling. Today was the final court date in Mt. Vernon.
I'd rather you send comments via Facebook Messenger or just text me.
Here are the short answers to the most common questions:
How are you doing? The first three weeks were hard, like really hard. I've been on the opposite end of hearing about relationship struggles and separations but never the one going through it quite like this. Good people gave wonderful words of encouragement and support. One told me, "You're not letting go willfully but you need to let go gracefully." And, so that's how I chose to act. Sonya and I have an amicable friendship. We chatted before and after the session today, and departed with a brief hug and wave.
How are the boys? Well, it'd be best to ask them directly. I will say that they are surrounded by the best friends a couple of guys could ask for and were living in super supportive communities at Nazarene Theological College in Manchester England (Parker) and Trevecca Nazarene University (Payton). They were well cared for and surrounded with encouragement and prayer. I told each of them that this is obviously not the best course of action for a marriage but it will hopefully make things better.
How are you really doing? The first three weeks were in my mind just surreal, trying to wrap my head around the end of a relationship. The immediate separation was easier to understand than how to unwind 26 years of marriage and 29 years of knowing each other. I mean, we have a great story and a bunch of our very interesting lives involves each other. The initial realization that it was over was a harrowing experience, horrible and hopeful. So, ironically, just this weekend at the Wild Goose Festival, Amy Grant shared something of the hopefulness and reconciliation she finally found with her former husband Gary Chapman, asking him to sing the hymns they knew so well at her father's funeral. This was quite profound and helped me greatly. The second phase during the next six to eight weeks was all of the decisions and details associated with parting ways: the need to sell, sort, pack, move, budget, figure out, all while grieving and finishing the school year. Whew. Good folks helped out in just the right ways. The third phase really began this past week as I enter the process of restoration in which I plan to seek spiritual direction, support groups, and very likely some counseling.
I am in the beginning of a previously scheduled sabbatical this Fall, something I have never done before. I also scheduled trips in May to Ireland, Wales and England for a spiritual pilgrimage and study and in July for a time of volunteering and gathering at the Wild Goose Festival in Hot Springs, North Carolina. Both trips bracketed the beginning of the restoration process that I had no idea I would need when I originally planned the trips. Before, during, and after these trips, I believe God walked certain people across and into my path that brought just the right words and just the right kind of presence that became and in some cases continues to be spigots of grace for me.
One of my first questions in all of this was: What's wrong with me? What about me allowed/contributed to all of this happening? So, I did a deep dive into the Enneagram, discovering myself as a Type 7 (the enthusiast/explorer), and fully leaning toward Type 5 (the researcher/intellectual) which Sevens do when under stress. So, I've learned that I hate endings but love possibilities. I endure the present to jump into the future. I'm not great but doing well. Is it even possible? It must be because this is describes me right now.
My introspective question for the spiritual pilgrimage to Ireland following the paths of ancient Celtic saints was: what's the next step for me? I'm coming close to an answer, until then . . .
I am ready for what comes next.
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