Tuesday, November 29, 2011

A Long and Winding Road

Courtesy M. Horrock
For decades, flames of destruction smoldered in the attic of their marriage. She couldn't tell you which single event sent the flames bursting thru the roof of her soul. In that instant, however, the framework of their life collapsed with singular finality.

Not willing to accept failure after over two decades of investment, she launched a full tilt assault rivaling the work of a brigade of fire fighters. Secular and Christian counselors, psychologists, psychiatrists, and educational therapists joined ranks in an effort to douse the flames. The fire kept burning till the day came that there was no other option. It was already over. The paperwork was all that remained.

Courtesy Mad Penguin Creative
The fat lady, as they say, is about to sing. The court date is on the horizon. Yet, the phone rang twice in the last day. Once again he has voiced an unwavering determination to make amends for his reprehensible behavior. His words are impotent because of the potency of his behavior. It is a song and dance she has witnessed before. He has pledged unwavering loyalty to her and then almost immediately sought the consolations of others. He is blind to the futility and emptiness of words negated by callous indifference.

He is unwilling to believe the truth contained in the years of evidence trailing behind him. He is, in his own estimation, the Teflon man. Nothing will stick because his righteousness endows him with a special exemption. He hides behind grace while ignoring the definition of repentance. He fails to see his righteousness as but filthy rags. The Righteous Creator before whom he pledged his vows watches even when he thinks no one sees. 
he is clothed
When your words whisper one reality and your behavior trumpets another, you create a self-portrait that reveals your inner reality. Despite your efforts to mask who you are, your painting speaks for itself. You may fool yourself all of the time and tell yourself you have fooled the world. The time will come, however, when your charade will collapse around you leaving you naked before the world...and your God. 

The emperor will declare that he is clothed in the beautiful raiment of righteous intent. Alas, the crowd around him will shriek with laughter and incredulity. He will become the punch line of a joke he did not hear himself telling.

He has found yet another sure fire system and counselor who will be the magic pill. The pill will fortify him to the task of undoing the destruction he has wrecked upon his wife and children. She has heard it all before. She tells him so. Her attitude now speaks as resolutely as his behavior has all these years, “See you in court. Have a nice day.”

Courtesy Mad Penguin Creative
She has moved on alone trusting in a good God with a good plan even tho' the future is frightening and uncertain. He has surrounded himself in a sea of comforting sycophants who murmur and coo and fawn. In the end, they will not be sufficient to remedy his looming pain. The quiet will come. He will have only himself to blame.

We sat together struggling thru math today, Son #2 and I, as my friend's marriage wound further toward its bitter end. He looked up at me as exasperation filled his heart and leaked out thru his mouth. “Why does this have to be so hard. Can't you just show me a short cut?”

Courtesy Mad Penguin Creative
As I pondered the question and a way to ease my son's frustration, I realized he spoke for all of us, including the husband who torched his marriage and the life of his family. “Show me the shortcut. Don't make me work hard. I don't want to be frustrated. I don't want to have to work at life. I don't want to shoulder the responsibility of the task before me. Show me the shortcut to get out of here!”

Sadly, my friend's husband will never understand that in looking for the easy life, he sacrificed the rewarding one. He has thrown away an investment portfolio far more valuable than Warren Buffet's 401K or Roth IRA.

This journey in search of my good God is arduous and long. There is no shortcut that will ease my frustration or pain. I wake up every day and make a new choice. Will I spend the day picking thru the rubble of our life trying to fit the pieces back together again? Will I give up? The choice is mine. Is it the ultimate act of faith that, again today, I chose to dig thru the rubble. The road is long, winding, and all uphill. If you look for me tomorrow, that is where I'll be. See you there?
Courtesy Mad Penguin Creative

                                        Prov 23:6-8 (ESV)
Do not eat the bread of a selfish man or desire his delicacies, for he is like one who is inwardly calculating. “Eat and drink!” he says to you, but his heart is not with you. You will vomit up the morsels you have eaten and waste your pleasant words.

Jeremiah 5: 3(NAS)
O LORD, do not Your eyes look for truth? You have smitten them, But they did not weaken; You have consumed them, But they refused to take correction. They have made their faces harder than rock; They have refused to repent.

Courtesy B. Creasy

Proverbs 27:22(NIV)
Though you grind a fool in a mortar, grinding him like grain with a pestle, you will not remove his folly from him.


  1. A poignant picture of the foolishness of self-righteousness. ..."His words are rendered impotent because of the potency of his behavior." Nice turn of phrase.

  2. The reality is heart breaking. I am aware of so many situations, 3 specifically current, in which pompous, self-righteous, self-deceiving individuals have wrecked ruinous havoc on the lives of their families while proclaiming their righteous sanctimony. God is not amused nor deceived. Kids lives are affected...and the gift of unrepentant behavior is currently destroying the lives of 'kids' in their 40's. One of whom is dying of anorexia because of damage done by a father with impotent words and potent behavior. Today, I am weeping for the children whose lives will always be scarred. Even if God turns those scars into gifts he can use for his glory, the pain will remain.

  3. sadly..he does and sometimes as a wolf in sheep's clothing!

  4. Did she "give up?" Did she do the right thing? Is there a "right" answer for her? What do you say to your friend in that situation?

    "Is it the ultimate act of faith that, again today, I chose to dig thru the rubble. The road is long, winding, and all uphill. If you look for me tomorrow, that is where I'll be."

    1. Sue, she did not give up, but he did continue on and force the divorce filing. I wonder if he will ever realize what he has done.