A RIVER FINDS ITS WAY - Navigating Divorce

 

Last fall my younger brother and I stayed at the Wayfarer Resort, 25 miles east of Eugene/Springfield, near the majestic McKenzie River.  Scenic, natural beauty that beckons reflection into the soul.  A therapeutic oasis to discuss the implosion of a 38 year marriage.  Mine.  Our cabin was nestled along Marten Creek, a tributary feeding into the McKenzie River.  Nearly all rivers have an upper, middle, and lower course.  Does pondering how a river finds its way relate to navigating divorce? 

As in an upper river’s beginning course, growing up as the oldest child with two brothers and a sister was a memorable family life.  Our parents were a model for covenant marriage.  Unconditional love.  Forgiveness.  Gratitude.  Identity in God.  Far from perfect to the human eye, “Mom & Dad” were the quintessential love birds of the “great generation”, putting faith and family first.  We learned what a marriage looks like.  In the rush of an upper river from icy flows high in the mountains, carving out a path in soft rock, cavorting as a waterfall along its way, our parents lived the real Love Story.  As our parents were raised and chiseled through the tough times and sacrifice of the Great Depression and World War II, Merle & Louise (parents’ middle names) were rock solid, tested, and true.  Couple this marital heritage with the television influence of our family’s time, Leave It To Beaver, Father Knows Best, and Ozzie and Harriet, and the picture becomes pixel perfect.

With passion of a racing river, undulating tempo, and white-capped waves, my romance and married life in the upper course was idyllic.  Unescapably knee breaking beauty entered my life with force to bend a river overnight.  The intoxicating sexual energy was palpable, with an eventful mating dance, and love flowed like an unbridled river.  As a natural outcome of this exotic season came a blessed birth; a miracle child. 

But, as with changes in a river’s life, fed through merging tributaries, unforeseen stormy weather and diverse densities of rock and clay, a marriage also meanderers to a slower and wider middle course.  Without oneness in all dimensions, the middle course of marriage loses its way eventually.  Forgiveness, grace, charity, and longsuffering are corner stones.  Without a covenant marriage, the middle course slows, stagnates, and becomes subject to the invasive dark toxins of drift and division.

Near its end, or lower course, the old river widens to form a mouth, delta or silty area.  This still or slow-flowing water with muddy banks is the river’s respite before emptying into the sea or lake.  It’s in this tranquil place that wildlife, flora, and fish are abundant.  While the old river loses physical vigor in this stage, it transitions with revitalized purpose.  We physically change in time, like a river does.  But, with an identity that’s spiritually aligned with God, there’s promise for continuous renewal.  When lovers seek the heart of God, the lower course of the marital river is still full and joyful; with the covenant’s reward of a rich tapestry of agape love.      

  

Like the river’s long and winding journey, I’m finding my way too.   I’m trusting God that there’s enough healing downstream.  For now, in this moment, I’m reframing my thinking around gratitude, wonder, and faith that all will be well.  A year ago, Neil Young’s Harvest Moon would have only magnified the painful emotions of love and marital loss.  Through forgiveness and thankfulness, I have stillness in my soul.  Today, I can watch the music video more compassionately.  Guess I’m finding my way down the river. 

 

Harvest Moon

Come a little bit closer
Hear what I have to say
Just like children sleepin'
We could dream this night away.
But there's a full moon risin'
Let's go dancin' in the light
We know where the music's playin'
Let's go out and feel the night.
Because I'm still in love with you
I want to see you dance again
Because I'm still in love with you
On this harvest moon.
When we were strangers
I watched you from afar
When we were lovers
I loved you with all my heart.
But now it's gettin' late
And the moon is climbin' high
I want to celebrate
See it shinin' in your eye.
Because I'm still in love with you
I want to see you dance again
Because I'm still in love with you
On this harvest moon.
Because I'm still in love with you
I want to see you dance again
Because I'm still in love with you
On this harvest moon.