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Divorce Episcopal Style - by Alice Linsley

Divorce Episcopal Style

by The Rev. Alice C. Linsley

Attempts have been made to save our marriage, but pleading, reasoning, counseling, rebuking, threatening, tantrums, time outs, interventions and fervent prayer have not mended what was once a lovely and meaningful relationship. One partner wants to stay in the orthodox house and the other has moved out.

Having gone through divorce I recognize the painful slugging through another day, wondering when will this finally be over? I know from experience that recovery is long and never fully realized since there are reminders that prick the heart and make you long for what has been lost. We won't sit in the same pew anymore. We won't plan activities together. We won't sing praises under the same vaulted ceiling and admire the same stained glass windows. Passing that sign at the edge of town makes me angry because The Episcopal Church doesn't welcome me ... anymore.

I try to understand how this came to pass. I think back and begin to see the little signs that we were growing apart. I thought we were speaking the same language. Now I realize that familiar old words in your mouth took on unfamiliar meanings.

I listened while you told me of your dreams and plans and gradually it dawned on me that I wasn't included. And when I pointed this out to you, your response was to make me doubt myself, as if there were something seriously wrong with me.

The arguments became more frequent and unkind words were spoken. Even with wise counsel we grew farther apart and dreaded meeting. Why rehash it all again? Here I stand, I can do no other than uphold what has been revealed. There you stand, upholding your dream of a new church, your new theology. There is no ability to dialogue now, only sullen silence.

At night I cry on my bed, hoping that the children won't hear me. They have been hurt enough. I pray that you will not succeed in your attempts to take them from this orthodox house.

You told me that you needed space and time to think, but you spend all your time with your trashy mistress. She loves it when you talk dirty. She thinks I'm a loser. You buy costly gifts for that "Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess. By her teaching she misleads my servants into sexual immorality." (Rev. 2:20)

Why weren't you honest? Why not admit that you were unfaithful and wanted to go with her instead of me? At least then I would have some reason to respect you. You tell me this isn't about sex but about freedom. You are correct. You have the freedom to choose, but once the divorce papers are signed it will be final.

My attorney tells me that the papers are in the mail.

--The Rev. Alice Linsley is Vicar of St. Andrews Anglican Church in Versailles, Kentucky. She has taught adult classes in the church for 25 years and has developed Christian education curriculum for all ages. She was rector of two Episcopal churches and served as chaplain for an all-boys Episcopal boarding school. Alice now serves on the faculty of Millersburg Military Institute. She teaches out of a deep conviction that Jesus is Lord and head of the church.

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