He is risen! Alleluia! Happy Easter!
Y’all, I have come so far since the first Easter after he left. That first Easter, I worked the weekend, but was off by 9am and my youngest two boys spent the day with me. I felt so blessed to have them with me. My children have truly been my saving grace. That very first Easter, I meditated on this quote during Lent and Holy Week:
“In our sufferings in life let us not become bitter or locked in our own grief. Let us be open to others to share their grief as Mary did. Let’s not run away. Let’s not ask why, a question that no one can answer, rather let us ask a question, ‘What must I do to follow Jesus in fulfilling the will of God?’ ” –Fr. Groeschel
I have tried very hard not to become bitter and locked in my own grief, but truth be told, I still have bitterness, even today. I’ve let go of the grief, but every once in a while, the bitterness creeps in. I’m human. Sometimes, grief still hits me, but as time passes, it doesn’t hit me as frequently. That first Easter, 6 months after he left, I wrote in my journal that I bought a lamb and felt blessed to have my youngest son, my middle son and his girlfriend, one of their best friends and my dad for Easter. I also wrote, somewhat halfheartedly, that I forgave Chris. I say halfheartedly, because I also said I was working on and struggling with forgiving him in my journal. I wrote in my BIG bubbly script, “I forgive XXXX”.
Last Easter was a little easier and I was able to make a step toward forgiveness. Easter has always been a Holy Day that reminds me how much I have been forgiven. I try to extend the same forgiveness God gives to me, to the people in my life who have hurt me. It is so hard to do–especially when the hurt runs so deep. I told myself last year that I would work harder in the coming year on forgiving. I told myself that I would work harder on praying for my ex. Yeah, the last one is a stumbling block. It is so hard to pray for someone who has, in every sense of the word, become my enemy. It is hard to pray for someone who not only plotted and planned to destroy you, but continues to do many of the same things years later. I mostly have the forgiveness part down. But that praying for your enemy stuff? Some days I just can’t do it. A good friend reminded me one day, “You just have to pray for the bastard.” I laughed. Sometimes laughter makes it easier. I will literally pray to God, “God, I can’t really pray for the bastard like I should, you know what he needs and how to change his heart–I’m just laying this at your feet– God, I’m just going to pray for the bastard and his needs.” God can handle it.
The days I receive collection notices for my children because he hasn’t paid our children’s medical bills–I stumble. The days he violates our legal agreement — I stumble. The days he trespasses on my property–I stumble. A few weeks ago at Bible study, my friend said something that hit me like a brick. She said of her ex, “It is so hard to pray for him, but I do it for my kids because I want him to be the man God wants him to be for my children.” WOW. So, with that perspective in mind, I have been trying harder to pray for my ex to be the man God wants him to be for my children. I want my children to have a Godly example of what a man and a father should be. It is still hard, but I have been doing it. For my children.
Of course I am sure someone reading this may think that I’m thinking *I* don’t need prayer myself. NO! I am a sinner. Pray for me! I have really struggled the last few years because of what my husband did to our family. Not only did he break the marriage covenant, he broke God’s commandments by dating and sleeping with a woman while he was still married to me. While I may not be perfect, I can say that I do not willfully disobey God’s laws and Commandments. I try my best to live my Christian faith. I beg God for forgiveness and repent when I fail. I would be mortified if my boys followed in their father’s footsteps and committed adultery. I want my boys to be Godly men! My boys need men in their lives who are Godly examples if they are to live Godly lives themselves.
That said, today I really had a breakthrough at Mass. I was able to pray without bitterness for their father. I simply asked God to help me forgive him and asked that God would help him be the man and father that He wants him to be. I also prayed the same for myself–that God would help me be the person and mother God wants me to be. It may have only come a little easier because it is an Easter Sunday miracle, but I’ll take it. One step at a time, one day at a time, I will become the person that God wants me to be.