Category Archives: Personal Reflections

My Divorce: How God Has Made Me Mighty

(Part 2 of 2)

(Continued from Part 1)

God has made me mighty in that he gave me the strength to walk away from abuseInfidelity is abuse. It just is. Emotional infidelity is almost certainly either a precursor to physical infidelity or a cover for it (i.e. the emotional affair is not an emotional affair, it’s the regular kind).

I had been on PBS Religion & Ethics Newsweekly and in The Washington Post, talking about my marriage to the man who had abandoned me. I’d had interfaith couples writing to me for years, asking me for advice on how to make their relationships work. Do you think I wanted to initiate a divorce? Do you think I wasn’t embarrassed?

Screencap from the PBS special that featured our interfaith family in 2010; editing mine

Screencap from the PBS special that featured our interfaith family; editing mine

If an arsonist sets your house on fire, you get out. It doesn’t matter that you’re going to be standing on the street in your underwear. It doesn’t matter that it isn’t even your sexy underwear, it’s your granny panties. You still get out. There will be contemptible people who will point and laugh and say, “Ha ha, nice granny panties!” The decent people of the world will say, “You just escaped an arson attack, thank goodness you’re all right!” That is what infidelity is. Marital arson.

I stand before you now in my metaphorical granny panties and say: divorce was my escape from that house, and I’m glad that I escaped. No, I rejoice that I escaped from that house.

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Filed under Christian Life, Divorce, Personal Reflections, Single Parenting

My Divorce: How God Has Made Me Mighty

Me in May 2013, 5 months pregnant, with my then-husband just out of view. I looked happy and put on a good show.

Me in May 2013, 5 months pregnant, with my then-husband just out of view. I put on a good show, but inside I was drowning.

(Part 1 of 2)

I wish I could make you comprehend the depths of my despair as I got on a Metra bound for downtown Chicago in April 2013. I hope you never have to feel the pain I was feeling as I sat there, crying quietly, hoping no one would notice my tears, my hands resting on my second trimester baby bump. My husband of over nine years had just told me that financially supporting his family—his pregnant wife, his disabled 7-year-old daughter, and his unborn child—was my problem, not his. I had boarded the train that morning so that I could look for full-time work for the first time in 7 years.

My husband had started an emotional affair with another woman in his life some few months earlier, and all you need to know about that is that it consumed him. His time, his money, his compassion, it all went to seeing to this woman’s needs and keeping her in his life. No amount of objection from me made any change in his behavior. There was lying, there was manipulation, there was gaslighting, and there was coercion. I would later write in my journal, “My marriage is dying as new life grows within me.”

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Filed under Christian Life, Divorce, Personal Reflections, Reproductive Rights, Single Parenting

Of Health & Healing: Part 2 of …

(Cross-posted at ClobberBlog.)

Child’s Pose. Image from Real Beauty

The triage nurse told us to have a seat in the waiting room. I found myself scrunched into my chair in child’s pose, my head resting in my husband’s lap. I imagine there are few things more ridiculous-looking than a 6’0″ woman curled into child’s pose sobbing, but it seemed to lessen the pain ever-so-slightly, so there I was. I had reached the point of not caring about a public display of pain. My husband gently stroked my hair and whispered that it was going to be all right, but I could hear the worry in his voice.

This time, the ER docs ordered a CT scan and wrote me a prescription for narcotic painkillers: methocarbamol and hydrocodone. Those drugs may have addled my brain and made me think everything was funnier, but they definitely took my pain away and allowed me to become semi-functional again. My pain was still bad though. Throughout the weekend, I found myself counting down the hours until I could take another pill as the pain in my neck began to creep back.

The doctors also told me to make an appointment with my PCP to have my neck evaluated; however, the last PCP I had seen was 12 miles away in Mundelein, and I had only seen her once or twice, the last time being ~18 months prior, so naturally, I didn’t do this. I kind of treat doctors the same way I was (at the time) treating God: I avoid them until I desperately need something from them. I had a temporary solution to my symptoms and didn’t really care about treating the cause.

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Of Health & Healing: Part 1 of …

(Cross-posted at ClobberBlog.)

I woke up sick. Lightheaded, nauseous, my neck aching and throbbing like it needed to be popped. I almost never throw up. It’s like I have a high fortitude save, so I have to roll a 1 to throw up. In nine months of being pregnant with my daughter back in 2005-2006, it only happened once. Yet, on Saturday August 4, I threw up.

My summer had been pretty awesome up to that point. Scratch that, my entire year had been mostly awesome. I had completed 19 credits with nothing lower than a B (hey, it was Calvin—what do you want from me?), I had switched my thesis topic to something that I am zealously passionate about, I was eating healthier (thank you pescetarianism), I had kicked my dependency on caffeine, and I was learning to cook and losing weight. I had co-organized a new Mormon studies blog with the help of 24+ people much smarter and sexier than I am, and I’d had a blast at the 2012 Sunstone Symposium in Salt Lake City. John Dehlin called me a “rock star” after one of my sessions, so it must be true. I seemed to have my depression and anxiety under control, and it dawned on me that I felt happier with my life than I had been in years. I didn’t remember feeling so happy since my mother was alive.

My guilty secret was that I was finding all of this wholeness and balance and happiness without God.

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Going Pescetarian

My new “steak night.” Photo by

Vegetarianism vs. Omnivorism: A Brief Summary

A few weeks ago, my younger sister was visiting from Seattle with her boyfriend wherein she surprised me with the announcement that she is a vegetarian now. Fried chicken wings, corn dogs, green beans with bacon cooked into them, and sloppy joes were all staples in the household where we grew up, so this struck me as a pretty big change from how we were raised. My sister was nonchalant about it. She said that the switch had not been hard at all, though she did miss seafood.

I read a good deal of omnivore vs. vegetarian arguments years ago, and it did seem to me that vegetarians had the better arguments for healthy eating. I was less attracted to arguments centered around preventing animal cruelty, not because I am in favor of excessive cruelty to animals (duh), but inasmuch as “excessive cruelty” is defined as “any act of killing animals for use in food or other animal byproducts,” I fail to see why animals are worthy of our compassion and protection when other forms of life (such as insects) are not. Personally, it strikes me as a little on the arrogant side to make calls like that. If the issue is only the inhumane treatment and deaths of animals, then one can simply buy organic meats approved by farmers’ humane societies.

Bottom line: I had vegetarian envy for health reasons, but not animal rights reasons. [1] What I lacked was the discipline to switch to a vegetarian diet. Then my sister got me re-thinking the issue.

So, why pescetarian? Continue reading


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