Day 389

My prayer life hasn’t been as strong as it should be as of late. There’s absolutely no excuse for it. The truth is I really enjoy the time I set aside to talk with God. But, if I’m being honest I think the main reason I haven’t gone to the Lord like I should, is because I’ve been trying to fix all my problems myself. There is a lot I find that I am unhappy about within myself. As an avid list maker, I keep a running note on the attributes in my life that I need to work on. The list never seems to get any shorter, and before you know it, the stress of this overwhelming list starts to swallow me whole.  Part of the issue is that I truly believe in personal responsibility. I believe we have the power to choose joy and to work hard toward reaching our goals. I don’t like the idea of expecting anyone else to take on my problems or give of themselves to make my life easier. The idea that I might be inconveniencing someone horrifies me. I would be completely embarrassed if I thought in any way, shape, or form; my lack of ability was “putting someone out.” Just thinking about it makes me uncomfortable.

So, laying my burdens on Christ is honestly the last thing I would think to do, which is completely odd, since he clearly asks that of us. Ironically enough, when I refuse to relenquish my worries, what I’m really doing is missing out on the joy of the moment. It’s a total lose/lose situation. I feel like I NEED to make things happen. I NEED to make my next life decision. I NEED to know exactly where I will be one week, one month, one year from now. And even more than that, I NEED to make the RIGHT choice. I’ve been wrong before. It hurt. I don’t want to be wrong again. If I’m good enough, if I work hard enough, if I do all the RIGHT things; then I can save myself from future hurt.

Don’t you just know that God is up there going, “Katherine, look around you. Look at the blessings I’m giving you.” I love my job. I love it so much it’s almost not fair. Currently, I work with some of the most amazing people whom I respect oh so very much. What a blessing! How sad would it be if I worried so much about what I wasn’t, that I missed out on the amazing things that I am right now. The reality is that when I look in the mirror I still see a failure in many ways. My list of failures is way too long to include in one blog post, but I also have certain aspects of my life to be proud of. The top of that list, with a star next to it, is my personal relationship with Jesus Christ. Why then, if I feel that my relationship with Christ is solid, do I continually give into fear?

I continually say “Lord, I am yours. I will follow your lead.” But do I really mean it? Where is the line between preparing for rain and trusting that the rain will come? This is obviously a skill that I have not yet mastered. God certainly knows the desires of my heart. He knows my burdens. He carries my worries. He is there when I am frightened and sad and insecure. He is holding me in my uncertainly. He is laying a path before me. I know in my heart that this is true, but my head still screams that I must blaze a trail on my own. It’s a constant, exhausting struggle. The need to be RIGHT. The need to have it all mapped out. The need to be in control. The desire to make that list I have of all my wrongs get shorter.

I know most of this stems from the fact that I thought I did have it all figured out. I assumed I had made perfect choices.  I could see the path of my future and all the pieces were falling into place as expected. I had made all the RIGHT moves. How do you begin to trust yourself again when what you knew in your gut was right, turns out to be wrong? When you became an inconvenience to the one person who wasn’t supposed to dessert you? When, instead of a joy, you turned into an unwanted obligation?

Yes, I know where my fear come from. But I also know where my joy comes from. My joy is found in Jesus Christ. He is the RIGHT choice. Always. And as soon as I can learn to lay my burdens on him, I might see my list grow a little smaller.

Romans 15:13 “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”

Day 384

I’m a pretty naive girl. I always have been. I’ve known this about myself for a long time, and this attribute has never bothered me. It’s helped me never jump to the worst case scenario, it’s helped me discover new and wonderful things in a childlike way, and it’s given me a heart that believes in the beauty of the world. It does, however, bother me when others mistake my naivite for stupidity. I am not stupid. I have never been stupid. I’m fully aware of why I make the choices I make, and none of those choices come from a lack of knowledge. They don’t come from a place of ignorance. They are not brought on by my inability to comprehend my surroundings.

So, when I decided to bring my husband to this wedding, I had a pretty solid idea of what kind of behavior I was in store for. I assumed he would be distant and agitated. It crossed my mind that he might drink too much. I even had my argument prepared in case he wanted to leave early. To his credit, he got ready and we were on the tram headed to the wedding site right on time. He sat next to me during the ceremony. He paid attention. He even pretended not to notice all the sympathetic looks my friends who knew about our current situation were giving me. He didn’t take my hand or kiss me or offer to help with my wrap, but that was fine. We were doing ok. We looked normal. And when I cried, I was able to pass it off as happy tears for my beautiful friend instead of desperate tears for the loss of the love I craved so deeply.

After the ceremony, we chatted with other guests and found our table in the reception hall. We were sitting with another couple we knew who were engaged, a good friend of ours who had been at our wedding, and her brother. Everyone at the table knew about our problems. They were all onboard to pretend that nothing was wrong. We were all doing ok. I was thrilled. For a moment I actually let myself relax. I turned to my husband and asked him how he enjoyed the ceremony. He said, “I kept thinking as I was watching them say their vows, that they truly loved each other. I don’t remember feeling anything when I said my vows to you. I should have felt something, but I felt nothing.” And then, as had become customary, I began doggie paddling again, just trying to keep myself above water. Refusing to let myself sink into the despair that was starting to swallow me whole. By now I had learned to shake it off. Feel later. Just keep moving. Don’t focus on the pain. Of course, he punctuated his statement with his all too familiar, “We never should have gotten married.” This had become his battle cry. I was becoming immune to it’s sting.

The rest of his behavior almost doesn’t matter.  I’ve gone back and forth over the last week agonizing on whether to tell the entire story of this particular weekend or not. In the end, I’ve come to the conclusion that I must be honest, but I can also be brief. Yes, he was distant and agitated. Yes, he did drink too much. Way too much. He embarrassed himself by hitting on a group of girls at a different table. He refused to wait on the tram to take us back to our hotel, instead he wanted to get in the car with those girls and hang out with them. He was annoyed when I insisted on going along with them. He got angry when I made him go back to our hotel room with me, his wife. I killed his party. I got him to bed. I was numb. I’d taught myself how to survive this new life. It wasn’t ideal, but I was ok. I took off my pretty dress, wiped off my perfect make up, put away my jewelry; and stared down at the man who married me, but who felt nothing.

What I had hoped would happen, did not happen. He did not suddenly remember the joy of our wedding day. He did not turn to me with tears in his eyes realizing that he loved me again. He did not tell me how beautiful I was and how proud he was that I was his wife. But hoping for these things did not make me stupid. Putting up with his behavior did not make me stupid. Knowing that even after this, I would continue to love him and fight for him did not make me stupid. It meant I was his wife. And although watching our friend’s heartfelt wedding ceremony may not have made him feel what I wanted, it was a reminder to me of the promises I made to him and to God. As long as I was doing my very best to fulfill those promises, I was ok.

Yes, I am a naive woman. I believe in second chances. I believe in paying it forward. I believe that although we tend to hear more about the bad in the world, the reality is that there truly is more good. I believe in holding onto people, because people matter. I believe that humans need to know they are loved. I believe kindness makes a difference. Some may say that I was stupid to behave this way. I’m obviously divorced, so my actions didn’t pay off. But it’s never stupid to chose hope. It’s never stupid to remain faithful to your promises to God. And if getting up every morning and choosing to believe things will be better is naive, then I’m ok with that.

1 Corinthians 2:9 “Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, not have entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love Him.”

Day 374

5 years ago today I got engaged. It’s really an incredible story. I was out of town on an acting job and my ex-husband flew in without me knowing and proposed to me onstage at the end of my show. He also flew in two of our friends to videotape the whole thing so that we could have that special memory forever. I was surprised and thrilled. I had known I wanted to be his wife from the beginning of our relationship. We had been together over 4 years and every part of me knew I wanted to spend the rest of my life with him. I had imagined how and when and where he would propose in my head over and over again and it was finally happening. Everything felt right in my world. It was all falling into place. There was no one in the world as happy as I was at this very moment. The joy was overwhelming. I was his!

I’ll never forget his getting down on one knee. I’ll never forget the words he said. I still remember every one of them. I’ll never forget his face and that feeling your heart gets when you think it’s going to burst because you are so happy, you can’t believe this is actually your life. That this wonderful human chose you to be his forever. That every morning you get to wake up to the blessed assurance that you are loved by the one you love the most. It’s a beautiful feeling. It’s pure and real and honest and a true gift. My precious little heart was so full.

All this doesn’t change the fact that “it didn’t work out.” It doesn’t change the judgements of those who will always think “if they’d only tried harder…”. It won’t silence the feelings of hypocrites who believe “they would never let this happen to their marriage.” The long and hard truth of the matter is you don’t know how you would handle a divorce unless you’ve gone through one. Yes, I had a beautiful proposal. Yes, I truly believe that at one point in time my ex-husband did love me in the best way he knew how. Yes, I am now divorced…and yes, I fought with every fiber of my being and every ounce of will that I had to save our marriage from divorce. I own that.

And since it has happened I’ve looked at it as a personal failure. I don’t need other humans to remind me of my shortcomings, because I count them every day. My divorce. My failure. My guilt. A joy and gift that I once had that I lost. A perfect union that was entrusted to me, but I couldn’t hack it. My friend Jake hates it when I call it MY failure. But I still feel like it is. It took the both of us to get engaged on that miraculous day 5 years ago and it took both of us to end that covenant 4 years later. Maybe not my fault, but it still feels like my failure.

There is a divine point where we can turn our hearts to heaven and accept God’s forgiveness for these failings we have in life. We can let his mercy wash over us and revel in the knowledge that we were forgiven before we even asked for forgiveness. That his grace is beyond sufficient. And time and time again, I look back on that day where everything seemed so right and wonder where I went wrong. What could I have done? Where should I have gone? How long will I own the defeat of my marriage?

And I don’t know what the answer is. I feel my shame, yet I know God still loves me just as I am. I own my choices, but I know I serve a God who created me with a specific plan and purpose. I accept my circumstances, but praise the God who continues to give me more than I deserve. So I sit, sad that this isn’t the anniversary of the happy day I envisioned. Depressed that we are not acknowledging the special memory  we were supposed to celebrate for the rest of our lives. Torn that although divorce was the right choice, it was not the choice I wanted to make. All these emotions that add up to failure…and still, working every day to accept the glorious fact that to my savior, I am not a failure. I am simply, his.

1 John 4:4 “But you belong to God, my dear children. You have already won a victory over those people, because the Spirit who lives in you is greater than the spirit who lives in the world.”

Day 369

We were going to a wedding in October. This had been on my mind the entire time I was home in Tennessee with my family. We had RSVP’d, and as a woman who had recently had a wedding, I knew how important those RSVPs were. I could tell my husband wanted out of attending the wedding, but I felt like I needed him there. I needed him to drive me, I needed him to sit beside me at his place setting, I needed him to help me keep up the illusion that things were fine. He begrudgingly agreed. I kept telling him he wasn’t doing this for me, he was doing it for Rachel (the bride). She had been there for us, for our wedding.  She had stood beside us…she loved us, and come hell or high water we were going to be there for her.

Of course, some of our original plans changed. In the beginning, we had planned on making a romantic weekend out of the trip. We would take a bus to his family’s home, borrow his father’s car, drive to the wedding, stay a couple days, drive back, and then take a bus back to New York. But things were different now. He didn’t want to spend any more time with me than he had to. He made it perfectly clear, we were going to the wedding and that was it. I felt helpless. What could I do? I didn’t own a car and wasn’t sure I had the ability to drive myself. With a defeated heart I agreed to his terms. Who knew? Maybe this would actually be good for us. Maybe seeing a couple get married would inspire him to remember how special our love had been. Maybe he would see the bride and remember seeing me at our wedding. Maybe the ceremony would help him remember the commitment he had made to me, to us.

I wrapped the gift, packed my suitcase, and had my newly dry cleaned dress all ready to go in it’s garment bag. I hauled everything on the subway and headed to the bus station at Port Authority. For those of you who don’t know, Port Authoriry is what I imagine pergatory looks like, it’s terrible, but it’s where the buses board…so that’s where I stood waiting for my husband. The bus trip was awkward. Naturally, I’m still trying to be cheery and optimisitic. Looking back, I think for a long time I was trying to convince him that I was still worth loving. I tried so hard on so many occasions to be “good.” This was one of those occasions. Once we arrived in his parent’s town, they picked us up at the bus station and took us back to their home. I was hoping we could get back on the road immediately, because we still had several hours drive ahead of us and it was already late. My husband refused to start driving until he had something to eat. Normally this really wouldn’t be a big deal, but sitting in his mother’s kitchen while he ate and NO ONE discussed the serious problems we all knew were facing our marriage was perhaps the most uncomfortable I had been in my life. I mean, looking at it realistically, their son was content to cheat on his wife and treat her like dirt, and it didn’t really seem to bother anyone. Utter Madness.

Eventually, we got back on the road. And I do have to thank his parents for letting us borrow their car to take to the wedding. It was a nice gesture and it saved us a lot of money. The drive was rough. We were listening to a country music station on the radio and every time a cheating song came on, we would both chuckle nervously. Not because it was funny, but because this was our life and we were living it every moment of every day. It must have been past 2:00am when we finally arrived at the hotel, checked in, and crashed for the night. I remember thinking to myself, “I got him here. It’s going to be ok. We will make it through this weekend.”

It’s interesting what a person can “make it through.” It’s almost comical how much pain a heart can take. It’s even more surprising when you discover your own personal line where you just let grace take over. I would experience all of this during the upcoming weekend. It would become just one more occasion where I had to turn everything over to God, knowing it would be difficult, but that he would carry me til I could walk again.

Hebrews 4:16 “Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.”

My First Divorceiversary

One year ago my divorce was finalized. Two years ago I left New York City. Today I am sitting in my friend Danny’s restaurant, in Queens, about to embark on another new adventure. I will get in my Honda full of everything important that I own, drive to a new location, move into a cast house where I don’t know anyone, and get ready to put up a brand new show in two weeks. And I will love it. I will love waking up in the morning full of purpose. I will love creating a character and an atmosphere with these cast mates whom I haven’t met yet. I will love feeling like I am back at home, even though I’m not exactly sure what “home” is anymore.

Last year, when my divorce papers were returned to me, I felt the last piece of my heart die. I knew it was coming. I had signed the papers. He had signed the papers. We had gone through the division of “things” that don’t really matter, we had agreed upon terms, we had decided to end our covenant. And then, just like that, legally we were not a “we” anymore. And it was at that moment, that realization that “we” would never be a “we” again, that I felt my heart completely leave me. When those finalized divorce papers arrived I was in a safe place. I was at my parents house, surrounded by people who I knew loved me. I was working for my mother and I had to call in my baby sister to take over for me at work. When she arrived, I went in the back, called my friend Cheyenne, and I wept.

I still don’t fully understand why I wept. Could anyone who has never been through a divorce even understand my feeling of loss? At this point, everyone knew we were getting a divorce. It wasn’t a surprise. Those who loved me were even, in a way, happy about it. I could finally put this nightmare behind me and move on. They didn’t want him to be able to hurt me anymore. How could I explain that I would always hurt? I would never be the same. I was forever changed and didn’t know if it was possible to find my way back to love and happiness and hope. And so I wept. I wept for what would never be. I wept for the loss of a heart full of love that had disappeared. I wept because I was emotionally exhausted. On one legal document, my entire future had been erased. And I felt that hurt all over again, so I wept. And she listened. And in the silence of her listening, she loved me.

When I went home I drank an entire bottle of red wine. Because, to be honest, sometimes that is how I coped. I ate Taco Bell for dinner (which oddly enough pairs well with red wine). I tried to wait until I knew he would be free…because I hated when my crazy divorce issues affected my friend’s regular lives, and I text Jake. Because that is also how I cope(d). By now I’m sure he was used to getting random texts dealing with whatever new emotion was making me spiral downward. And, in his usual fashion, he didn’t make me feel like I was ruining his evening. He let me say whatever I needed to say. He assured me that drinking a bottle of red wine at my parents house didn’t make me a sad and pathetic woman. And through the giving of his time, he loved me.

A year has passed since that definitive day in my life, and I knew looking back on it would be emotional for me. My friends would tell you that EVERYTHING is emotional for me. And they would be right. I knew I would need to write about it, because it happened and it’s a part of me and I don’t want to feel ashamed of that. But, here I am, one year later, about to embark on a new adventure. I am sitting at a bar in a restaurant looking at my friend Danny, who, over this past year has become one of those special humans to me who knows how to listen through love and give of his time through love. And he is another one of those examples in my life that proves that I do still have a heart and it is still capable of love. The beauty of looking back at the times when I wanted to crawl into a hole and forget myself completely is that what stands out is not the pain…what stands out is the love. The love of a friend who will listen, a sister who will drop everything, a soulmate who will give of his time, and a new human who may have not been there for the initial pain, but who understands my heart and will help it heal in any way he can.

And so, now, I can say to anyone who is still in pain, who wonders if the despair will ever cease, who still has sleepless nights where they cry and feel sad and want to never wake up…it will end. One day you will look back, and you won’t have it all figured out, but you will feel loved, and you will head out on your own new adventure, and you will praise the God who would not let you fall. The God who continues to give you the gift of humans who will constantly remind you that your presence in their lives matters. The God who has kept you wrapped in his warm embrace this entire time. He is and has been and will continue to be the one who will lead you “home.”

Philippians 3:20 “But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ.”