Many years ago I lived through divorce. As with any person in any divorce, friends and family and acquaintances made decisions and drew up their ideas about who and why and how the divorce happened.
Divorce is terribly complex - in myriad ways. No Divorce is the same.
Divorce is a terrible disruption to life and lives – to multiple layers of relationships -- for many years.
I continue – some 10 years later –to realize the depth of dislocation that extends from my unique divorce with the power of a lie – or the power of lies.
I’ve always had contact with the birthmother of my two adopted daughters. In recent years, with the advent of new technologies and social media, I’ve been in more routine contact with my daughter’s birth-mother. She’s always been a person I have had respect for in her decisions and choices – mitigating her own best options framed in light of other, perhaps less-than-perfect choices made.
A few months ago she inquired of me, “ . . .some time there is a question i would like to ask you, and it IS quite personal, and is about the divorce . . . .”
I told her she could ask anything she wanted, of course.
She went on to ask about how she had been told that I divorced because I had an “affair with a college girl.”
Needless to say, since there is and was no fact and no support to this claim – I was shocked to hear this - some 10 years after my divorce!
In the midst of my divorce, in order to attempt to strike at my credibility and integrity, some persons introduced many bodacious claims about me in several venues of lies regarding practices of parenting, being a husband, sexuality, and other in-credible (though credulous!) claims!
Given the fact that the birthmother to my girls heard this claim, living many States away – and given the fact that there are only three other humans I know who know her – it seems quite likely I can trace the sources of her mis-information.
I write about this today – in 2012 – because in other conversations I’ve had over the years – and one this morning – the fact of the bogus claims of false data that was framed about my life – clearly still persist in some people’s eyes & in some people’s perspectives.
It’s sad to me in many ways. And, as it was unfair to me a decade ago - it remains unfair to me today - and I'm prepared to confront that unfairness today.
While I am far from perfect – and I have my own failings in mis-perceptions, mis-communication, and my own human frailty – I genuinely try to be the best person I can be. I love my family, our kids – I enjoy my work and love the Church and the role of being Christian in our world today.
And, despite the fact that I have acted with credibility, integrity, and efforts to be a peacemaker and advocate for all that is good – I wonder how many other people, who were lied to about me, might believe those lies?
It’s hard for me to believe that some people could tell lies about me – that were believed by people – that still persist a decade later – in spite of all that I have done and lived-into to demonstrate the falsity of those lies.
I write today – not depressed or saddened. My life is vibrant and full. I feel a genuine sense of blessing and fruitfulness. I’m wonderfully loved by a wife who has herself endured the stigma of my former partner’s choices – and together with my wife’s great love, forbearance and compassion – we’ve done our best in raising our children to be faithful and honest, kind and true, gracious and generous, people who reflect and embody the life of God’s Kingdom!
Despite the dislocations of divorce, I’ve had wonderful persons believe in my pastoral abilities, my work in the classroom, and in the context of other professional opportunities. While I do not understand the precisions of Divine Providence, I feel certain that God is at work in timely matters in our lives, somehow, opening opportunities uniquely for me.
I am blessed.
And yet, the lies of some persons, from a decade ago, persist for a few.
I wish people would consider the depth of how much a lie can hurt – and for how long it can hurt.
I hope for a better future and better world - a world of genuine relationship with truth-telling at its core.
I commit to continue to work for that and hope for that.