Posts Tagged ‘graduation’

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Speaking of graduation, we found ourselves at another graduation ceremony this past weekend.

We drove out to western Kansas because my daughter from a previous marriage graduated high school in a small town called Bucklin.  She also had her baby about a month ago and we hadn’t seen him yet, so this was to be our first visit as grandparents.

It was definitely a trip of good times and bad times.

Let’s start with the bad.  During the graduation ceremony, they did this thing that was really cool.  Well, for some people, that is.

There were a bunch of roses on the stage and the graduates could go and get roses and present them to parents, grandparents, etc. out in the audience.  It was a powerful moment during the ceremony, but there was no rose for me.

I shook it off and went to talk to her and see the baby afterward.  My daughter did let me hold Carter, but otherwise pretty much blew me off and it hurt.

My ex wife came over and started trying to talk to me and Ceecee stepped in and told her to back off and leave me alone.  It was pretty cool that she was so assertive in a protective way for me, since she obviously knew I was upset.

The cool part was when we had left Bucklin and were on our way to Dodge City, where my in-laws are. I was thinking about the time I went to Dodge City during our separation and I brought back a Mexican cake and these special marinated steaks that we used to love to eat when we lived there.  Kasey, my wife’s youngest daughter was with us and she mentioned wanting to go to the Mexican store and I looked at Ceecee and she said, “It could be a little restoration.”

It was so amazingly great to be on the same page like that, and it turned out to be really cool for Kasey to be able to share it with us.  Last time, I had gone there by myself and things hadn’t gone well when I had come back.  This time, we were there together on the restoration tour and things couldn’t be better.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

As much as we love the family, going to this graduation party was tough.  It was also a necessary stop on the restoration tour, and in the end, we’re both glad we went.

See, a friend of mine has a daughter who is a true miracle child.  She wasn’t even given much chance to live, much less grow up and graduate from high school when she was born at just 1 pound, 6 ounces, but grow up and graduate, she did.  There was a lot of prayer and sacrifice that went into getting to this day and we certainly wanted to be there to take part in the celebration.

The problem was that the party was being held at the church we attended at the time we separated.  That meant facing some of the people and the memories of that time of failure and loss, and my wife wasn’t sure she was ready to do that.  In the end, we agreed to go, with the understanding that I would stay by her side and not allow her to be put in any kind of uncomfortable situation.

It all turned out well and made a statement of who we are as a couple now.  It was also a confirmation of the prophetic words my friend had spoken to me during Ceecee’s and my separation, when he said, “When this is all over, you’re going to get a brand new wife.”  He didn’t mean a new person to be my wife, but that Ceecee would be made new and return to me healed and whole.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Taylor graduates tonight and Ceecee has had a headache all afternoon. She has never had trouble sleeping until the last year or two and it’s really bad lately. I’ve always had struggles with insomnia and sleeplessness, so I’m pretty much used to it, but she really doesn’t function well when she’s not sleeping.

She’s come up with this idea that she wants to go to St. Louis by herself as part of this whole “finding out who she is” thing. She says she wants to see what it’s like to go and not be dependent on me to drive and take care of everything. I don’t like the idea, so we came up with a compromise. She and my sister, Ann, share the same birthday, so they are going to go together. They are getting separate rooms, so that it’s a break for Ceecee, but she won’t be completely going by herself. I don’t feel good about it, but what can I do? I’m not going to forbid her and she really seems to be set on this.

Yesterday’s post was very difficult to write.  Jesus said that people would recognize His followers by one characteristic.  It wasn’t how often they went to church, how much money they gave, or how much they read their Bible.  It also wasn’t that they didn’t curse or drink or fool around.  Very often, christians define themselves by what they do or don’t do.  Jesus said, “By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” John 13:35

Someone once said, “Love is giving someone the power to destroy you, but trusting them not to.”  My wife and I ended up pushing that one to the limit before we figured things out.  You see, when you think someone loves you, and you want them to love you back, it hurts infinitely more when they hurt you and let you down.  The pain my wife and I caused each other was deeper than any that anyone else could have caused because of the relationship that we had with each other.  The disappointment that we felt when people from our church let us down in our time of need was minute compared to the way we failed each other.  Even so, it was much more significant than it would have been, had we not known what it was to be loved by them previously.

There were a handful of people who remained true friends.  One in particular was a guy named Joe, who had moved to the area at almost the same time we had.  We had become friends right away, but then had a falling out during the time that I was wandering.  We had pretty well patched things up by the time my marriage fell all the way apart, and he was a true rock for me throughout.  We called each other almost daily, and he would pray with me, come over when I couldn’t bear to be alone, and offer encouragement any time, day or night.

Joe has a daughter who was and is a true miracle child.  She was born so prematurely that she weighed less than 2 pounds.  She went to special schools most of her life, but she was always loved and prayed for.  Her development continued over the years to the point that she attended a large public high school for her senior year, where she earned a student of the month award and graduated as a member of the National Honor Society. 

When we received her graduation announcement and party invitation, we had every intention of going.  When we saw that the party was being held at our former church, my wife balked.  Going to the party meant not only facing people that we weren’t sure how to respond to, it would also mean returning to the place that held such bitter memories.  I told her that I stood by her whatever she decided and that we could celebrate with Joe’s family privately instead. 

Love has a way of building people up, giving them courage, and making them strong.  From within the safe covering of my unconditional love, my wife soon announced that she was willing to go after all.  She only asked that I stay by her side and not let her get cornered or put in a difficult situation, which was the very thing I was eager to do.  We were going to celebrate Joe’s daughter and her accomplishment; everything else was secondary. 

Last Spring, we left that church broken and disgraced.  Almost exactly a year later, we returned as a completely different couple.  It was definitely awkward being there, but enough healing has taken place apart from the church that we were able to put aside that part of the past.  I couldn’t have been more proud of the beautiful lady by my side. 

A few days later, Joe told me over the phone that my wife had never looked better.  He said she had a glow about her and she looked like she was free of some huge burdens.  He was right.  She and I both still have some healing and the final phases of the restoration to go through, but we’ve reached that point where it shows on the outside.  Just like when the new siding, paint, shutters, etc. draw people’s eyes to a house that’s undergoing restoration, so the effects of everything that’s taking place inside our marriage can now be unmistakably seen on the outside.