Friday, June 8, 2012

It's worse than that, he's dead Jim.

Divorce is an ugly and terrible thing. And I know that anyone who reads this would agree with me.

Patrick and I were talking the other night about how parents have an obligation to each other, first and foremost. Their relationship has to be good, strong, and healthy in order for them to give their best to their children. Obviously that does not mean that the children are not cared for, nurtured, looked after, etc. But it does mean that the parents must first have a good foundational relationship and solid commitment to one another in order to raise children in a healthy environment.

But one thing that is tough for me is second marriages. Both parents, once divorced, and despite great difficulty, have to move on from one another. They pursue different interests, they move out, they get re-married, and eventually they have someone new that they are committed to.

That in and of itself is not a bad thing.

However, the Bible doesn't demonstrate the clear priorities of parents in second marriages. It seems to me that once the parents are initially split, they each have to then be responsible for the children, since they are no longer responsible to each other. Because if they are not responsible for the children, who else will be?

I hate divorce because it forces children to have to learn to nurture themselves at a young age. Especially once parents are re-married and have new families. Because the parents get to start over but the children do not. The children no longer have a 'home' in the traditional sense. They don't have a safe place anymore to let their guard down. Or to participate in all the traditions and customs they grew up doing. If the parents don't make a concerted effort to prioritize their children, then its easy for them to just get lost in the shuffle. To not feel a part of any family. And to have to work to be a part of their parent's new lives.

But how do you tell parents that you're still important? That you're still their child and you still need them? They might have other relationships in the mix, but is it wrong to think that you should still have a priority in their life? Shouldn't your parents know that you're important? That you missed parts of your childhood that can never be recovered? And that they are the people that can make that not scar not cut so deeply?

The children can't and don't want to be the adults. The nurturers of themselves and each other. That's not their role in a parent/child relationship.

So that leaves me wrestling with all of these thoughts right now. Because I don't have a great answer. And I think parents need to do what they need to do to be healthy, but sometimes that damages the children in the process. And the damages cannot be undone.

Which makes everything just messy. And ugly. And dumps truckloads of crap on the kids to deal with over their life-time. To force them to look for the missing pieces of their 'home' and 'childhood' and pick them up, dust them off, and figure out what to do with them.

Then to figure out how to hold all of those things, and not let them hurt any other surrounding relationships. But only to use them in a positive way that is edifying and supportive for others. But to not ignore them because they need attention, and processing. And you want to be certain that you won't grow up to be the same. But not letting them overwhelm you or steal your joy or make you feel ungrateful.

All while not falling apart.

Is it even possible?


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