My divorce decree is in a file for safe keeping. There was a time I felt like I was glued to it. I had to pull it out at random times as I changed my name, purchased my home, etc. I remember feeling like it was proof of my failure and yet, proof of my freedom. I wondered if I would ever be able to go a few months without pulling it out as verification of my single status. It has now sat in that file for probably 6 or 7 years, untouched. It has lost its power over me.
I was lucky. Because I had no kids, the divorce was swift, the anger was minimized, and the ties were cut. Finished.
I look at divorces that involve kids, and I now realize the way that one document can both protect and damn a parent. It is the lifeline of the divorced parents. It holds tremendous power. It doesn’t just give custody, it dictates money, rules of engagement, dating, holidays, expenses, and activities. It was created to protect the child’s best interests, but it does not have the ability to foresee the future. Jobs change, emotional states change, kids grow, and life is both cruel and gracious. But the document remains, attempting to keep a steady, straight road for the child, so that they are least affected by the chaos that may surround their parents. But as life evolves, it does not.
It is sad that we need a document to be civil--to prevent us from gigging our exes for selfish reasons. Money is usually the source of the anger and the division. It becomes less about the child’s needs, and more about the parent’s desires.
All this talk about this “Christian society” is ridiculous when you see a divorced couple leverage for money and time with their children—and one or both is a Christian. Wouldn’t a true Christian be willing to not only be the best parent he/she can be, but also allow the other parent to do the same without making efforts to debase or hinder them? But the truth is, even Christians suffer emotional problems, greed, and discord. Even Christians can be subpar parents, can stunt a child’s emotional growth from their actions, and can be as evil in action as any non-Christian. Yet, as Christians, we like to think we have God on our side, no matter what. I don’t care how much you go to church, if you are a card carrying church member, how much you pray, or how much you talk religious jargon, doing so doesn’t make you a better parent, a better person, or “right. It defaces Christianity—and God-- when you act in greed and selfishly, and yet claim you have God on your side.
I don’t believe God picks sides. I see one athlete thanking God for a touchdown, and yet I wonder how many men on the opposing team prayed before that same game. I don’t think God cares about touchdowns.
Can we all stop pretending that because we have Jesus in our hearts, that we are the “right” people or the “right” parents?