I was chatting with my mother and grandmother this afternoon, and as seems to inevitably happen these days, our conversation turned to various tragedies of which we had recently become aware. A failed suicide attempt leaving a young man in a persistent vegetative state, relatively young women overdosing and dying, etc . . . Somewhere along the way, my mother mentioned gang violence and wondered aloud how to address it.
I don't wonder at all. I have written at length about fatherhood, and true fatherhood is the cure to that disease. Between that and reading J. Thorp's latest blog entry I began speculating about marriage and fatherhood and all varieties of things associated with it. As I did so, I was reminded of just how grateful I am that my parents have been faithful to one another and to their marriage.
It would be a lie to say they did not fight, that all things were always good, and that they lived their marriage perfectly. I remember very tense times in our household. Though I didn't really know why, I knew things were bad. One thing that never occurred to me, however, was that my parents might divorce. That was never an idea that I entertained. I had no idea what a firm foundastion that created for me until I started meeting people whose lives had been so severely shaken by the divorce of their own parents.
I knew a girl for a while who often spoke about her boyfriend and how she really loved him and wanted to marry him. The one thing that prevented her from making that commitment, however, was the divorce of her parents. She did not think that she could enter into a lasting marriage, and she was terrified to hurt her own children in the way that her parents had hurt her.
Even as I write this, I realize that there are lots of people in terrible marriages and that things are falling apart. This isn't a blog post about them and their marriages. It is about the fact that regardless of how bad it is and how much better things may be after divorce, there are going to be casualties. By the grace of God and sometimes the pure tenacity of my parents, I am not one of them - a fact for which I am supremely grateful.