Sunday, September 01, 2013

The Party's Over

We talked in my classes this week about the first husband and wife. I asked them if they thought Eve was beautiful- most think she was. I told them the biggest decision we make after committing to follow Christ is who we marry and that it is a lifelong vow. Not everyone shares that sentiment as you will see in the following entry which I penned on December 5, 2006.

The headline jumped out at me. I was catching up with my reading, surveying the interesting parts of this Sunday's Houston Chronicle newspaper. It was in the Lifestyle section, directly above announcements for engagements and Golden Wedding anniversaries.
You, Too, Can Celebrate The End Of A Marriage In Style
Beneath it, the subtitle read, 

Divorce parties aren't just for the stars anymore.
The story centered on a growth industry: throwing parties for those whose marriages unravel to the point of dissolution. Andrew Wintner, an executive for one of these specialty companies, summarized the focus of his business:
"Instead of celebrating the end of someone's freedom, we'll be celebrating the beginning of their freedom."The article included a picture of a laughing ex-wife, enjoying herself tremendously with an appropriately decorated divorce cake. Ironically, there was no mention of God, vows, or 'til death do us part' in the short feature. They must have been edited out due to space constraints. 

A few nights back, my phone rang past the time when I get called. It was a familiar voice on the other end. She played high school basketball for me in rural Georgia. After graduation, she married a young man, another of my students, and she was living her dream life as a wife and mother. It came crashing down on her in 2005 when her beloved husband collapsed and died. At thirty-seven, she became a widow with a ten year old daughter and a thirteen year old son. Compounding her grief was an accident two weeks ago which left her father-in-law in the ICU with her kids facing the possibility of losing their saintly grandfather along with their dad. She needed to talk and I needed to listen. That's what coaches do when the uniforms are packed away for the last time. This morning, I took a class period and had my students write my former player and offer condolences as well as hope. As part of the process, I encourage them to tell their life stories as a way of sharing their own heartaches as well as triumphs. They did, sometimes painfully so. One young lady told of her parent's bitter divorce and what precipitated it. She called the experience, "the hardest thing in my life." The destruction of the marriage of her mother and father has, by her own admission, devastated her but she is a tough kid and she will make it.

That's what was missing from the divorce party story. There was no mention of the children. No talk of custody battles. No discussion of kids requiring counseling. I understand intellectually that divorce happens and you have to move on but to seemingly mock the situation belittles the ones who have no say so in the outcome. Riding to a basketball game this afternoon, one of my current players and I were talking about marriage and she told me whoever she married must have parents. That's parents...plural. She has come from a background of terrible family suffering and she knows what will be best for her. I wish they would have asked this thirteen year old for a quote in that article. She would have shed some light from the perspective of the victims. They don't throw a party for them.

Applicable quote of the day:
"It's my party and I'll cry if I want to,
Cry if I want to,
Cry if I want to,
You would cry, too, if it happened to you."
Lesley Gore (from It's My Party- 1963)

God bless,
Luke 18:1

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hallmark said...

It says something about a man, when a student from decades back calls to talk. Your investment in the lives of your students is impressive. I can only imagine the treasure you have laid up "beyond the blue" as the song goes.

Sara Outdoors said...

Being someone who is not married, I often wonder - where does the cynic come from in so many divorcees? What went wrong that the happy pictures of newlyweds in an album is - year later - completely removed from the sour, resentful dispositions of the current version of the couple. What goes wrong? Personally, I hope I never relate.