Beth stood at the kitchen window as she saw Blake drive away for the last time before their divorce was to be complete. Once his car was out of view, she hit her knees and sobbed. The kids would be home from school any minute, she had better get herself together.
Blake’s hands were shaking and he was out of breath so he pulled into the neighborhood clubhouse. He was surprised at his response. After all, this was the best thing for everyone, especially the kids, right?
Just then, the school bus turned into the neighborhood next to the clubhouse. Parents were waiting for their kids. But he wasn’t. His daughters got off the bus and headed to his car, despite the fact that they were confused to meet him there on a Thursday.
Beth looked out the window and saw Blake driving back up the driveway and was very confused to see the girls in his car.
Blake stopped the car, wondering if he should make a quick exit or allow the girls to get settled in first.
Paralyzed by the sight, Beth wondered why Blake had the girls. Is he saying goodbye? He had better not; they had decided that Saturday at lunch was the best time. What if he . . . . Has he changed his mind? That’s not possible. They were both certain. Right?
The girls hopped out of Blake’s car. Jenny, the spitting image of Beth, turned and said, “Get out, Daddy!” Sara was already on her way inside the house. She had been distant for months. He and Beth both agreed she knew something was up.
“Hi baby, how was your day?” Beth asked Sara as she breezed by. “Fine,” Sara said, continuing without pause to her room.
Then, firecracker Jenny came barreling in. “Mommy, why did Daddy meet us at the bus?” she asked. “Jake’s mom always meets us on Thursdays.” Before getting an answer, she ran back outside to see what was keeping her Dad.
Blake, still frozen and not knowing what to do, watches as Jenny runs toward the car, shouting: “Daddy, what are you doing? Get out. Let’s play. Jump with me on the trampoline.” “No, Jenny. I have to go,” he said. “Go where?” she asked. “Honey, I . . . have . . . I have to work and I need to, . . . ” his voice trailed off. Her face went from exuberant to flat in a millisecond. What had appeared to be a great surprise on a random Thursday was now just a big disappointment.
“Come on, Jenny,” Beth said, walking outside. “Come inside. Dad needs to go.”
Seeing Beth and Jenny standing there together, looking just alike, killed him. “Beth, can we talk for just a minute,” Blake said before thinking.
“Blake, don’t you need to get back to work?” Beth said.
“Yes, but it will only take a minute,” he said. “Jenny, can you give me and your mom just a few minutes?” Jenny kicked the ground and ran inside.
Then Blake said . . . .
Attention anyone passionate about marriage: What do you want Blake to say? What do you want Beth to say? How does your heart long for this story to end, or at least re-begin?
I’m a dreamer. Every day, moms and dads are driving away for the last time, and families are dividing up permanently. I believe the Church’s role is to change those stories, restore those stories. I beg of you, start the ball rolling at your church. Start leveraging your church to help marriages. I know you have a lot on your plate for 2013, but please make room for the Beths, Blakes, Saras and Jennys that surround your church.
From 2001–2010, Ted Lowe worked as the director of MarriedLife at North Point Community Church. His wife, Nancie, played a huge role in hosting and planning MarriedLife programs at North Point. It was during their time at North Point that they decided they not only wanted to help the married people at North Point, but married people at churches all over the world. So, in partnership with Orange and church leaders everywhere they are working fast and furiously to HELP CHURCHES HELP MARRIAGES. They have three children: Chapman (10), Judson (7), and Teddie (5), and live in Cumming, Georgia. You can follow Ted on Twitter and Facebook.