Better Conversations


Open books

Powered by TypePad

« Post-millennial house-management | Main | For the writer and ghostwriter of Left Behind rapturology »


Whatever good my spiritual father has done in my life since I became Orthodox the one thing that hasn't changed (maybe it's not supposed to) is the rubble from many disasters in my life.

I'm not speaking here out of some self-pity trip, I'm just being a bit more transparent than most folks (maybe there is a bit of a sympathy ploy here, but I can't sense it, but self-delusion has a way of remaining unnoticed *grin*).

My divorce, the loss of my son to cancer only a few months before I learned about Orthodoxy, my father's early incapacity do to Parkinson's complications, my disastrous tenure as a part-time preacher in my former tradition, my sister-in-law's suicide; other people bear such things as well.

There is much good that comes of such suffering (I won't detail that here, as your insight is sufficient to manufacture a reasonable if speculative list). When I was spitting at Satan at my entrance to the Church, in my mind I was thinking, "All that hard work you did villain, I'm glad to disappoint you."

But the same sensitivity I've gained in opening my heart to other's pain still leaves me too quick to "react" to such as your post.

Forgive me Father (though by the sound of your comment, you already have).


Thank you for this courageous statement.

It is obvious that you did not want the divorce -- which it seems that you had every right to pursue, even in our Lord's strict canon.

What is even more painfully obvious is that you continue to suffer the pain of it.

I know you were not implying otherwise, but I want to make clear that the intended object of my attack was the insane cavalier adoption of divorce as a common option.

I have numerous divorced parishioners, friends and family members whom I count blameless, with whom I sympathize, and for whom I pray.

You are now one of these.

Blessings, and God's kindness,

Fr. Jonathan

Before I converted to Orthodoxy and prior to my current marriage, I was married. She was a wild thing that swore she was interested in God (such as I knew of Him in my previous tradition), home and hearth. Instead, she cheated on me several times and tried to leave more than once, all of which I forgave her for.

Eventually (about 3 years of this) she simply left telling me, "I don't think I ever really meant it when I said 'I do'".

We never had any children together.

So asked her if she would ever return, she said, "I don't know." So I offered her a divorce and she accepted (as far as I was concerned the divorce had already happened, I just filed paperwork).

I made the mistake of believing someone who didn't want to be married.

I have heard that there are those who would condemn me for being divorced, worse so for remarrying (which my previous tradition supports). Some how I think there are a great many such complicated stories about divorce.

Is it a scourge? Certainly. I've known many people's lives even whole families destroyed. But in my own family my two aunts divorced their husbands, one because he became violent and threatened her and their son with a firearm on more than one occasion, and the other because her husband was a chronic philanderer who refused to even falsely promise he would stop. He basically said, "why would I stop?"

Divorce in modern society only takes one person. I think in the light of that we need to be careful what we think about divorced persons, even those who "technically" initiated the divorce legal proceedings, often they are doing so because the other partner has "already left".

It's bad. It's a tragedy. It's a symptom of the fallen nature of mankind. I will pay a price my whole life for my divorce. I suppose I'll be confessing it over and over again as well.

Bravo, Father. This should be required reading for any Orthodox Christian, married or not.

Verify your Comment

Previewing your Comment

This is only a preview. Your comment has not yet been posted.

Your comment could not be posted. Error type:
Your comment has been saved. Comments are moderated and will not appear until approved by the author. Post another comment

The letters and numbers you entered did not match the image. Please try again.

As a final step before posting your comment, enter the letters and numbers you see in the image below. This prevents automated programs from posting comments.

Having trouble reading this image? View an alternate.


Post a comment

Comments are moderated, and will not appear until the author has approved them.

Your Information

(Name is required. Email address will not be displayed with the comment.)

August 2019

Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
        1 2 3
4 5 6 7 8 9 10
11 12 13 14 15 16 17
18 19 20 21 22 23 24
25 26 27 28 29 30 31