My People

My People
My matched set of grandchildren - Oliver and Cosette

Monday, February 23, 2009

still blah! still Monday!

Any time Robert Drake starts a comment with "Oy!" I know we're in for something good. Robert, have I told you lately that I love you? Even though I wouldn't drive into civilization to go to a hockey game with you with my child who wouldn't know sport if he was clonked in the head with a hockey puck? You're still my second favorite Jew. (Right after ... you know who!)

I appreciate the perspective from the Torah. And I believe that we have a loving and compassion God who would not wish us to suffer. I do believe that *apart from adultery* there were many things that were wrong in our marriage, even before it started.

I used to always tell my kids to accept the blame for the things that go wrong in their life, because if they have no responsibility, they have no power to change things. It is rare for some tragedy to befall us where we have zero culpability. I went into my marriage with great optimism, rose colored glasses (that's what I said!) and believed that love would conquer all. Even if I had the perfect husband, we would not have had a perfect marriage, there were too many negatives stacked against us. It's counter productive to go into all that now...

Anyways... Robert interjects that perhaps there are more Godly grounds for divorce than what I have mentioned...

I would, however, like you to consider some additions to your list which bear directly on your case and have legitimacy in your faith tradition. I think you said that in terms your beliefs, Torah law, in absence of direct new testament contradiction holds sway. Am I accurate here?

Yes, I believe that the New Testament gives us the new rules... since it was impossible for us to live under the law of the Old Testament. I don't hold myself up as the most learned biblical scholar, especially on the Old Testament. I am more familiar with the New Testament (the new covenant, as it would pertain to my life a bit more, as this is the one I'm placing all my chips on!) and I have searched the subject of divorce and ability to remarry quite a bit... and I'm still convinced that it's pretty much just the two things I mentioned... a non-believer who abandons his wife, and adultery. But I think the things Robert mentions are definitely GROUNDS for divorce... albeit not necessarily ones that grant freedom to remarry. And that's what matters to me... the women in my family live a long time. I don't want to be single for the next fifty years... nor do I want to be in direct conflict with the will of God!

If so, please consider that under those conditions, spousal abuse is grounds for divorce. this can mean both physical or verbal abuse. Additionally if one spouse takes actions to isolate the other from their community, that is grounds for divorce.

I found a very interesting website while researching Robert's point of view (not that I don't take your word as gospel, Robert, I just consider it expanding my horizons) and it was interesting to me, the various Jewish rules for marriage and divorce. Most interesting to me, however, is the LENGTH of this... and it reinforces my belief in why we needed a messiah, a savior... because it is impossible to keep the law! Just click on it... there are some fascinating things there... some things to which I would say "amen" and some to which I would say, "oh my!" Truly I found myself in a few places!

There is another issue here worth considering as well, and that is forgiveness. I and nearly everyone else I have met are pretty darn imperfect. We all make mistakes, and sadly, even do bad things that are more than mistakes. There is a concept that says before you can ask for divine forgiveness you must personally confront those whom you have wronged and earn their forgiveness.

That concept comes directly from the New Testament *smirk*... in the book of Luke, chapter 6... and it's on of those "oh my" passages...

Luke 6:37-42
[37] "Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven. [38] Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you."
[39] He also told them this parable: "Can a blind man lead a blind man? Will they not both fall into a pit? [40] A student is not above his teacher, but everyone who is fully trained will be like his teacher.
[41] "Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother's eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? [42] How can you say to your brother, 'Brother, let me take the speck out of your eye,' when you yourself fail to see the plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother's eye.

Forgiveness. I believe in it. I aspire to it. I'm working on it. I'm closer than I've ever been before. And then... I talk to Dean and my heart breaks. I can't tell you how often I've wanted to board a plane for wherever he is, just for an hour, to hug him... to kneel and pray over him... to let him understand that he is not alone. Instead I talk to him when I can... and pray for him when I can't. Sometimes our grief is too intertwined and sometimes I can't bear what he's bearing. I've promised to be there for him this week... there could be some decisions regarding custody and there is NO GOOD ANSWER. Whatever happens, his life and his children's lives will never be the same. I get so close to forgiving and then I see the faces of his children and remember the words that my husband wrote to Dean's wife, saying that "I know the risk but I believe it's worth it". It. Was. Not. Worth. It.

By the way, Dean, you might enjoy this verse...
Deuteronomy 22:22 (New International Version)
22 If a man is found sleeping with another man's wife, both the man who slept with her and the woman must die. You must purge the evil from Israel.

Robert says... and I agree... There is a concept that says before you can ask for divine forgiveness you must personally confront those whom you have wronged and earn their forgiveness. Whereas it seems from where I type that you have been wronged and you both have not found a way into discussing true forgiveness, divorce represents a divine fissure here.

Matthew 18:15-17 (New International Version)
15"If your brother sins against you,[
a] go and show him his fault, just between the two of you. If he listens to you, you have won your brother over. 16But if he will not listen, take one or two others along, so that 'every matter may be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses.'[b] 17If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, treat him as you would a pagan or a tax collector.

I really buy into this concept. I think it is a great solution for conflict. Here's the problem... (a)the idea is for resolving conflict among believers and (b) I've been there, done all that. This is why my husband and I end up having these phone conversations where we're both screaming at each other. He doesn't believe he did anything wrong. Yeah, he'll give it a bit of lip service but he ALWAYS justifies his actions by basically saying I deserved it. Last time I hung up on him and I truly closed myself off from him forever. I don't care if I never speak to him again. Have your attorney call my attorney. I'm done beating my head against the wall.

I however, desperately want you to be able to look at your self with honor and confidence in the mirror and know you are entitled to make decisions for your own benefit. If you are to be a divine instrument, aren't you best off putting yourself in a position where you might thrive?

Oh, I do so desperately want all of this. Thank you for sharing your heart and your wisdom. Robert, your comments are always fabulous and I know they come from a kind heart. I think you bring a lot of food for thought... a thought buffet, if you will.

From the "you can't make this stuff up" files... there was a claim I filed last week for one of our clients who didn't know where she was when she damaged her car, didn't know what time it happened, "was it dark outside?" "I don't remember". UGH! I got a gentle scolding from Duane about the comments I made on the claim (out of frustration) and I have been handling this lady with kid gloves out of repentance. Today she came into the office and, among other things, wanted me to look at her belly to see whether or not I thought she had broken ribs. Honestly. In my office she lifted her shirt all the way up to her bra to have me look at her bare stomach. I emailed Duane (who was just about to leave on a cruise with his family). He wrote back, "AT LEAST one of you is nuttier than a fruitcake". Heh, he. No, one of us is undermedicated. Some days I think it's me.

I really suck at this whole "no chew" diet. I had yogurt for breakfast.... nachos bell grande for lunch... an orange... and a mcdonald's apple pie for dinner. (Candice just beat her head against the keyboard in frustration with me). That's my balanced diet. I need a blender. I think I'll go to Walmart tomorrow and get one.

It's been a long day. I'm ready for bed. Love and hugs, y'all.

PS to Remo... I agree, I need to pick my battles.


Anonymous said...

Hello, You write...

- "not that I don't take your word as gospel, Robert, I just consider it expanding my horizons."

Good! Far better to research, think, evaluate, and conclude for yourself! If I have made a wise argument, your own process should lead you to a similar place.

- "Even though I wouldn't drive into civilization to go to a hockey game with you with my child who wouldn't know sport if he was clonked in the head with a hockey puck?"

It was an invitation. You were supposed to take it or not as was best for you. The Gladiators won 6 to 3 and it was fun. Perhaps in the future.

- "Most interesting to me, however, is the LENGTH of this.."

Part of what makes Judaism different from other monotheistic religions is that everything is a contract. A level exchange was made between Jewish people and the divine. Jews tend to read everything up to Job with great scrutiny. They explicate with great relish; deducing and inducing meanings for ages, divined by sages, and written in the pages of the Talmud.

In this case, you stumbled upon an Orthodox interpretation of things. Notice, I did not say 'The' Orthodox, because they're all arguing and then, they'd argue with the Conservatives, who'd argue with the Reform, who would argue with the Unitarians, who of course, would make more coffee.

That being said, Jews do not miss the forest for the trees. Marriage is a means to life in this world and the creation of a divine and unique communion between two people in which violence, cruelty, and deceit have no quarter.

You were struck with willful malice and cruelty. I infer that Dean was also so stricken.

You are entitled to have your marriage dissolved, to renumeration, and to the freedom to pursue a new life, which, in accordance with your beliefs, may providentially lead to someone with whom you may create a true marriage in which you will both find happiness.

It sounds flowery and corny. Tough. You are entitled to it none the less.

Moreover, if you do believe in a sense of divine providence, then would not such happiness for you be a benefit for all the world? Are then WE not entitled to it?

As for forgiveness, let me make myself clear.

I meant to show that Michael had not asked forgiveness of you and you were not, per se, obligated to give it. That he did not try is to his shame.

That being said, forgiveness is a form of mercy, and done right, mercy is a blessing that is the other side of the coin of revenge.

Just vengeance hurts most the person who seeks it, forgiveness blesses most the person who gives it.

Perhaps you've heard the phrase "bless and release".. that is forgiveness. It lets you be grateful for the change in someone else, it lets you release your pain, and it is a mental shibboleth that lets you pass from one part of your life to the next... as is divorce.