"And there are three that bear witness in the earth, the Spirit, and the water, and the blood: and these three agree in one." --1 John 5:8
In my early 20s I was the willing participant in a very unhealthy marriage--we were a union of two souls who were idealistic and immature and careless with our hearts. We were two friends who didn't know ourselves well enough to gently express our needs let alone meet the needs of another person.
After a year of suffering, sadness, and eventual surrender, my husband and I divorced, limping away from our marriage with our torn and bloodied flags of defeat dragging behind us. If you've ever been divorced, you know that such a severing leaves broken spirits and exposed nerves. You may be physically separated, but the spiritual and emotional sundering is anything but tidy.
Over the years that ensued, I clocked in hundreds of hours in the therapist's office; began a meditation practice; ran my body hard through miles of sleet, snow, and rain; prayed fervently; and read stacks of books about living in the present moment, releasing emotional pain, and moving through the world with courage. And yet, the pain of my failed marriage was persistent. I ran from relationship to relationship with as much ferocity as I ran the streets of my city. It took a decade for pain's brutal edges to soften enough to let myself love and be loved with any semblance of authenticity and vulnerability. That miraculous moment in time in which I chose love over fear brought me Jacob and it brought me Ezra and it brought me our baby-to-be.
Last week I dreamt that I unexpectedly ran into my ex-husband at a high school reunion. We embraced, and I felt as if we were baptized by a wave of love and forgiveness. Awash in good will. I don't remember anything we said in the dream, only the astonishing feeling of complete restoration. When I woke from the dream, some residual pain inside of me had been released, and I felt healed.
A few days following my dream, my ex-husband contacted me on Facebook. We've only communicated once in the past twelve years, so to get his email so shortly after my dream was astounding to me. He was in love and getting remarried. He was happy for me and my growing family. I told him about the dream I had. He had the same dream last year: school reunion, accidental meeting, restoration. We exchanged a few more emails, expressing our happiness for the other's good fortune in finding love and family and peace--the very things we had hoped for and failed to foster in our own marriage so many years ago.
I never dreamed--literally or figuratively--of such redemption until last week. Never. And here I stand this morning, holding in my palm the ashes of the most painful experience of my life, watching as the breath of God blows those ashes afar into the clean and radiant air. I watch the white-grey grit scatter into the sun, and I know.
We are healed. (Spirit)
We are healed. (Water)
We are healed. (Blood)