Friday, March 28, 2008


Not having seen my grandmother in nearly a year, I had no choice but to go to her house for Easter. It's a 6-hour drive and I was the only one from my immediate family going. Fortunately, I hitched a ride with my uncle. Unfortunately, I hitched with my uncle. My uncle and his wife talk without listening, so it was a very long ride there and back.

One of the things I was most dreading about the weekend was going to church. I think I've mentioned before that my family is Catholic, although in varying degrees of devoutness. The further I feel from the church, the closer my sister gets, keeping it all in balance I suppose. Most of my family is tolerant of my lack of faith, but I wasn't sure how my grandmother would handle it. She's old school, of course, and has probably never questioned the church.

We (at my uncle's intention) arrived early enough for afternoon Good Friday mass, which has a reenactment of the Passion, followed by Veneration of the Cross (wiki-it, I'm too lazy to link it right now), and then Communion. After a bizarre Passion reenacted by an Indian priest (dots, not feathers), everyone gathered for Veneration. I chose to stay in the pew, rather than kiss the statue and, although my uncle shot me a disapproving look, my grandmother seemed ok with it. Same thing with Communion; I sat behind and it seemed to be ok. Nobody said anything.

Easter Sunday mass was the next test. My cousins arrived from out of town for this, along with their parents who are now divorced. It was kind of strange at first, sitting with my aunt's ex-husband, but I've always gotten along with the guy and the divorce was amicable. As with Friday, I sat out Communion and got away with it. What really got me thinking happened earlier in that Sunday mass. For those of you not familiar with Catholic mass, at one point the congregation is instructed to greet each other. Everyone in my family greeted my aunt's ex-husband as we always did, as part of the family. Afterwards, when we sat down, my grandmother (sitting next to me) leaned over and whispered,
     "I always liked him. He may not have been good to my daughter, but he was always good to me."
I immediately responded with what popped into my head, although I hadn't been thinking about it previously:
     "I wonder if [my former mother-in-law] or [my ex-wife] would say the same thing about me."
     "You were always good to her, from what I could tell."

I spent the rest of the mass thinking about that, since I sure wasn't thinking about the possibility of some dude, 2000 years ago, rising from the dead. I wondered if my grandmother was just being my grandmother, blindly seeing no wrong. Or was she a wise old lady who knows how the grey areas between people in a relationship defy labels like 'right' and 'wrong.' Had I been good to my wife? I never cheated on her, never hit her, never belittled or insulted her. I never abused drugs or alcohol, I never gambled away my paychecks, and I never got bald, fat, and hairy. But those were all the bad things I never did. I sat there wondering if I had been good enough. The fourth anniversary of my divorce is 3 weeks from tomorrow, so it would seem not.


At 2:03 PM, Blogger Network Geek said...

Yeah, because your divorce is all your fault, right? It had nothing to do with who your wife was at all, just whether or not you were [fill in the blank] enough.

And, incidentally, unless you shave your head, baldness isn't a choice, really, but rather a nasty trick genetics plays on one.

Look, I've been divorced for a little over two years, but I know it wasn't just me. Yes, I was a fairly decent husband. I wasn't perfect, by any stretch of the imagination, but the reason my marriage collapsed under its own weight was about *both* of us, not just her or me. She may not see it that way, but, then again, she was my first wife and I was her third husband. She's on her fourth husband now. I'm not even really trying to find someone to date. (Of course, last year's fight with cancer sort of slowed me down a bit, too. No one wants to date a guy who might die next week.)
So, no, it wasn't all your fault and you may want to lighten up on yourself a bit.

I'm just sayin'...

At 11:05 PM, Blogger Mike said...

Obviously I cannot comment on your relationship with your ex-wife (although I'm on your side!), but I can commend you for sticking to your guns in church. Familial religious pressure is tough stuff.

At 7:16 PM, Blogger Allie said...


At 1:50 PM, Blogger Cootera said...

Many recovering Catholics hold onto way too much guilt. Cut it out. Life happens.

At 6:59 PM, Blogger Zelda said...

I have nothing to say about your marriage, not having known you while you during its course. But you are a great guy and a lot of fun to be around right here in the present. Work with that.

At 4:25 PM, Blogger Zelda said...

Had a little seizure there and added some extra words. I'm sure you can work them out and ignore. Cuz you're a great guy.

At 11:21 PM, Blogger Jammie J. said...

Someone once asked me, after he found out I was divorced, "So, who was the bad guy?"

I replied, "I suppose it depends on who you're asking."

It's true, you know. It all depends on perspective.

At 1:59 PM, Blogger Inanna said...

Being divorced doesn't mean someone had to be bad or mean or a terrible person. They may be two of the nicest people you've ever met, just not meant for each other.

Give yourself a break, TH.

At 10:04 AM, Blogger Crystal said...

bah. i am sure you were well liked and well respected. i like and respect you. and it has nothing to do with you sending me "movies" that one time. or animal house. we don't chat enough as i clearly forgot to invite you to our crawfish berl.

At 6:59 AM, Blogger Beth said...

I think y'all are missing the point. It's not whether or not he was good enough for her, it's whether or not he's learned from the past to be good enough for me.


(And he is)

At 8:40 PM, Blogger Inanna said...

I seeeeeeee... now Beth has cleared it up and I'm steerin' clear. Ya'll can discuss that amongst yourselves. :-)

At 11:00 AM, Blogger Crystal said...

now i remember why i didn't invite you. you're kind of a dick.


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