You’re under no obligation to be the same person you were 5 minutes ago
It’s not too bad being the black sheep. It gives you space To be the golden child is much harder. Always having to live up to expectations .
I was once a youth group leader, teacher, and worship leader. I used to lead prayer services on Wednesday. Bible classes on Monday. I was being groomed by the Elders to become a deacon in the next year or two. I managed the Church website, social media, technology, and audio/video systems. My wife and I held fellowship and hospitality events monthly.
Now, I stay home and sleep in Sundays. I awake in the morning light to the sound of my son’s little toddler stomping with my wife’s softer steps following close behind upstairs. For some reason, she doesn’t like it when I help with the baby on Sundays. I think it is because seeing me disturbs her mindset as she’s preparing to attend church and worship God.
The Elders, in tears, announced my defection from all that is good and holy last Sunday and asked the congregation to encourage and care for my wife, and to encourage me if they could. My phone gets filled with text messages from concerned members on a regular basis. Honestly, I’m burned out. I can’t do it anymore, I’m so tired of telling people that I’ve had five affairs (my wife won’t allow me to say ‘I’ve cheated’ or ‘I’ve had an affair’, the number is important to her), I’m sorry for hurting my wife and son, and that we are likely headed towards divorce.
Sunday mornings seem to be my rare moment of peace. The house is empty except for me and the dogs. Just about all my non-secular friends have gathered to worship God. But, I get up lethargically. Turn up the stereo and put on some tunes while I prepare myself some breakfast. Just having this rare opportunity to do what I wish without concern for others. I never really had this before unless my wife and son were out of town. Time to myself was almost non-existent before, I was either at work, on my way home (my wife kept continual tabs on me, 15 minutes late and guaranteed she wouldn’t let me hear the end of her suspicions of me cheating all that evening), when I was at home, it was chores or baby, or a few solitary minutes downstairs in the shared living room with our renter. The only times I was ever alone is if I was driving to or from work. I didn’t realize how regulated, regimented, and scheduled my life was. I didn’t defer to my wife for every activity, but believe me, when I didn’t defer to her there would always be hell to pay, she would tell me how lazy and unhelpful I was if she wanted me doing chores or working on a project and I decided to do my own thing, or if I wanted to go see a friend or read a book I was preferring those things to spending time with her. Besides all that, there were the expectations of people at Church, the heavy responsibilities I’d piled on myself over the years.
Now I had Sunday mornings free, the first taste of regular freedom I’d had in a long time. I almost remembered what a day off felt like, even if it wasn’t a whole day off. I know I don’t deserve it, I have a child now, and parents are never supposed to get a day off, or so I was told. In many ways, I feel guilty for having this time, or any time now. Feeling like a bachelor again while my wife is stuck taking care of our child. She has been emphatic though, she would like sole custody of our son. Much as it tugs on my heart strings, but I have to agree that that is what is best for him, to be with his mother everyday. Besides, the way this is going I won’t have my own place for a long time, no way I could afford it, and especially not with over two-thirds of my income going to support my future ex-wife and child. But, it should be enough for her to remain a stay at home mom, which is what we wanted for our son anyways: to never have to be in day care. I’ll still get to visit him on weekends and a night or two during the week, but the thought of not seeing him every day breaks my heart.
Unstructured free time is amazing. No expectations, no one to be annoyed by my loud music and rocking out while I fry up some eggs, bacon, papas, and beans to make a breakfast burrito. I spend the morning chatting with Her. We keep finding ourselves deeper and deeper in our relationship. We are both going through major upheavals in our lives, and we’ve been able to lean on each other for support. I don’t know what I’d do without Her at times. Our desire for one another is unreal, but the space between us seems insurmountable at times. I dream of Her at night, and wish she was lying next to me in bed each morning. Still, as long as I have my phone she can touch my heart and I can touch her’s. In some ways, some of my first impressions of Her was that she was prickly, wild, uncouth, and even a tad pretentious, but as I’ve gotten to know her better I can see she is really quite the sweetheart, a caged free-spirit waiting to be released. She is not a simple girl by any means, a woman of contradictions much like I am a man of contradictions. The more I get to know Her, the more I love her. Perhaps it is unwise, if I’m headed for divorce should I be seeking a new relationship so soon? I suppose, but if I just passed this up because of the timing, I could regret it forever.