Sunday, September 11, 2005


This evening I sat quietly in my "sanctuary," (i.e. the room which has become my safe haven, the "room of one's own" that Virginia Woolf claims every woman needs, the room where I cloak myself in the knitted afghan created by a powerful woman who knew me at my birth and who I refered to as "Old Lady Loose", and gaze out my window adorned with a stained glass frame from my first home, and light the candles which reconnect me to the sacred). I was reading the North Manchester newspaper (I have a strange fascination with tiny town news...the police reports read like a bad sitcom..."police were called out to investigate a strange noise in the kitchen of Mrs. X assists were made in relocating local owl"..."11-year-old cited for riding bicycle on downtown sidewalk." [actually, that final one really existed. Sigh.]) and found this little teeny tiny blurb under the heading Marriage Licenses:

______ . Miller-____, 35, Seattle, Wash. and _________ , 24, of North Manchester.

Those were the words printed (imagine the names if you desire, I feel the need to honor those who haven't given permission for their names to be in print and their ages and home cities are probably already too revealing). Black and white words on the page of the Manchester Monitor. For me, they were surrounded with a swarm of memories and hopes and regrets.

You see, the man with the hyphenated Miller-______, the good man here mentioned is my ex-husband. The Miller in front of his name is the Miller that was placed there when he and I were married in May of 1998. We shared that common hyphen (among the sharing of a 30-year mortgage, and the parentage of five cats).

I knew of this wedding...indeed, received word of it typed from my ex-husband's own fingers in an email shortly after his fiancee agreed to marry him. The subject line of his message was, "She said yes!" and my heart leapt for both of them. And I immediately wrote back a congratulatory note. I have always wanted him to find an amazing woman who would both embrace and challenge him, and who would love him far better than I could or did. I have met her. I have heard stories of their relationship from others who know them as a couple. She is beautiful and insightful (and in a weird incestous-Manchester-College-way was named by my sociologist professor husband as one of his favorite students).

And yet, seeing their marriage announcement in print gave me pause.

It didn't give me pause because I resented either of them (instead I was thrilled that they had found one another). It didn't give me pause because I regretted our divorce (it is one of the mysteries of my life that I still carry pain and guilt over, but which I continue to believe is in the best interests of both my ex-husband and myself). It gave me pause because it was a symbol of life moving on. It gave me pause because it called me to reflect, again, on the nature of relationship. It gave me pause because it invited me to offer a release and blessing over the past. It simply gave me pause.

I cut the clipping out and took it downstairs to show Robert, my husband. I said, "they filed this on August 12th and I don't think they're getting married until marriage licenses expire? Maybe I should let him know?" Robert smiled and said, "I think you can release that. Why don't you let him and his future wife handle that now. You've tried to take care of him for long enough. Let it go." And again, I loved, loved, loved the way Robert read me, and wasn't threatened by my words (for he has known his own reflections upon past relationships).

Ah yes, but what I spoke to Robert, the words I uttered, that was always my problem. I couldn't just let things go. I couldn't let K. be K...another thing I have learned (am learning?) to release.

Blessings to you, newlyweds (how presumptious of me to assume you need my blessing...but I offer it anyway, for what it's worth). May you dance in the light of God's love.

1 comment:

Phil said...

Well written and perceptive, Christen, as usual. I have to tell you a story about our licensing and nuptual travails, some 31 years ago. After a war of attrition with our respective families, we finally took out a marriage license in Bowling Green. However, unless you were a serviceman home on leave and therefore more trustworthy with these decisions, you had to wait two days before wedding. In addition, you had to get a blood test. Since I hate having blood drawn, the license languished as I dithered about the blood test (not the wedding).

Meanwhile, unbeknownst to us, the Bowling Green newspaper published license applications when submitted, not when consummated. Result: my parents' friends were calling them to congratulate them, and they knew nothing of marriage plans.

Took a while for everyone to "release" on that!