For about ten years, if asked how are you?, I would’ve done a very quick scan of who was asking and filter it through the criteria of does this person know me really well or not well at all?  If they knew me well and therefore knew my circumstances, I could then determine what level of honesty to share with them.  If they didn’t know me well, I would simply say fine and turn the question back on them. 

But more and more people are learning about the secrets I’ve been keeping so therefore there are more and more people who I am able to, finally, be honest with.  My answer the past year or two has been okay or been better or horrible, depending on the day.

Until recently. Because I’ve noticed over the past couple weeks that someone will ask me how I am, out of genuine concern which I appreciate so very much, and I have no idea how to answer them. 

I think I might be winding down.  I had this odd revelation a couple weeks ago.  I was sitting in the library waiting for my daughter to finish up drivers’ ed.  I was flipping through the latest issue of People and with nothing to provoke me, I said, out loud, to no one, “I think I’m done.”  I knew what I meant.  I meant, I think I’m done being married, being sad about the divorce, grieving, being in a depression, all that entails. 

Now, granted, it doesn’t really work that way. I still have years of healing ahead of me. (I’ve heard it said that it takes one year of healing for every four years of marriage…so, I’ve got some time…) But something in me did take a turn in that moment. 

And then I read this and it resonated in my bones, “How does one know if she has forgiven? You tend to feel sorrow over the circumstance instead of rage. You tend to feel {compassion} for the person rather than angry with him. You tend to have nothing left to say about it all.” (Clarissa Estes) 

If that is indeed how to know – a diminished anger, a replacing empathy, a waning need to rehash and rehearse – than I am on my way to being done, truly. Because forgiveness, it seems to me, is the final chapter. Even if forgiving will be a repetitive exercise in the years to come, it seems to be the period at the end of the sentence. Where nothing more needs to be dissected, when every word has been analyzed, when every action that wasn’t taken is laid down once and for all. 

It’s a closing of the door, a shaking off of the dust, a standing back up again, a readying of the heart for what’s to come. 

So I am no longer mostly horrible, it seems.  That’s a good thing.  Except that I’ve been living in mostly horrible for so very long that I’m not sure what to do with myself. 

I don’t want to say I’m great. Because I’m not quite great. Though I definitely am having more great moments than before. 

But here’s the main reason I don’t want to say great.  And it’s so pathetic.  It’s because I don’t want to appear fully healed yet.  Because a) I’m so not…I’m not even officially divorced yet…there is so much more pain and healing to get through, but b) I don’t want the concern and, dare I be so honest, pity to stop.  

There is something so broken in me that craves the attention that my difficult situations have garnered over the years. Maybe I think people won’t like me for just me, so it’s good that I have this obvious limp…this now widely publicized ongoing wounding happening…so that people will check up on me and make sure I’m okay. 

But I want and need to get past this. I truly don’t want to be known as the divorcing girl. That poor single mom of two teenagers. 

I don’t want to be known for my wound. I want to be known for someone who points people to Christ because of how he is healing me. And to do that, if that’s really what I want, I need to be okay with occasionally saying I’m great. 

So maybe ask me how I’m doing. And hopefully, I’ll know what to say. 

If this post encouraged you, you would benefit from “Unraveling: Hanging onto Faith through the End of a Christian Marriage”, found here or “Living through Divorce as a Christian Woman”, found here.

Life isn't always how we want it. When change seems elusive, and we're stuck in old routines, a gentle push or some self-reflection can make a difference. Let these questions be that nudge to get you moving.

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