Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Eat (my words), Pray, Love

In just a few clicks I found a comment I made in 2007 on an unflattering book review of Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert:
She is on Oprah today (10/5) and I of course was immediately turned off by someone who left a committed relationship and then questioned if she went on the journey and then wrote a book or if the journey was for the book. You have answered that.

I wish I could make money off of my midlife crisis.


That was my opinion in October 2007; approximately 3 months since the first crack of infidelity appeared in my marriage and 10 or so days since the second crack caused the whole thing to come tumbling down.

You could see why I may have been a little bitter.

In hindsight, and after actually reading the book (duh), what I respect the most about Elizabeth Gilbert is not that she left the marriage, it is how she did it. According to her it was not that she just didn't want to be married any more, it was that her life was suffocating her. No one should suffocate in the name of keeping up appearances.

My own spouse became so swallowed up by depression and fear of conflict and family of origin issues that he could not look himself in the mirror, let alone me. And so to get out, he turned to others to force me to make the decision for him.

Elizabeth Gilbert didn't do that, and I can respect that.

If nothing else my life post-divorce has taught me about the gray areas to be found in love and life. I wonder how many couples/families walk into church on Sunday morning with their bright smiles and 2.7+ kids hoping no one can tell how empty they are inside. I wonder if everyone was told the world would end in 24 hours, whose arms they would run towards.

Mostly I wonder how to teach and lead others (and myself) to the most authentic life in Christ possible. And if we can't even be authentic with ourselves - including naming what we need to breathe and who we really love - how can we be authentic for God?


reverendmother said...

Well said, friend.

revhipchick said...

just today i had a conversation (with others, not just myself--which sometimes happens) about how often people drop out of church when their perfect lives with 2.7 children fall apart. suddenly they feel as though there is no room for their brokeness at church. this always makes me sad because church should be the very best place to go when we are feeling broken.

i don't know how to make church be like that so i try to interject plenty of my own screw ups so people get they can be broken too and still show their faces at church. it's far more than that but it's a tiny piece--in myo anyway.

thanks for your honesty and integrity in writing about it and asking the question!

Jules said...

The longer I am married, the more convinced I am that Staying Together At All Costs sometimes costs too much. Sometimes long-term relationships (and I am not one of those who believes that marriage is always For Life necessarily, since we are no longer all dead by 37) is about mitigating the cost along the way.

Or maybe that is what I tell myself whenever people I love have their world torn apart...

Good insights here, KZJ.

Mary Beth said...

I think that having the rev-people be human in front of the non-rev-people goes a long way toward this.

My former church was a place where I could sit and cry if I needed to. current one, not so much.