Alone is a frightening place to be, and it’s not for cowards.
Having spent more than twenty years as a military wife, I spent a lot of time left alone for a season. This solitude is something else.
Our first year of marriage was spent in Korea, and the only complete phrase I could utter was “Kagee-wah oogie-mo ship-shee-o” … please don’t bring me anymore! The waitresses in the club where we dined were very gracious to the American wife who had come to live in their country with her husband! Frank worked nights quite a lot, and perhaps I’ll tell you sometime about the night I woke up to find a man with a machete in my bedroom! But Frank came home that night; he knew I would be there (and fortunately, I was, still,) and I knew he would come.
A few years later, we were stationed in Germany and in order to get us there more quickly, my husband rented a house on the side of a mountain, not as close to his installation as he might have wanted to be (not close at all!), but at least we could be together – when he wasn’t on maneuvers, which was not very often. Alone on the top floor of a beautiful house with panoramic views in every direction, I was enchanted with our new home, but I could not even say, “It’s nice to see you” to the people downstairs. Horrid! Frank had stocked the kitchen, bathroom, and nursery, but if I had needed anything I could not have driven to Post to get it, even if I’d had a license … I didn’t know the way!
For those of us who find ourselves alone, alone with no one coming home, with half of our heart and life gone and forever, there is a vehicle and there is a way to get where we need to be, to find wholeness and more – to find Romance, Capital R.
First, let’s run a reality check: in every marriage, even the sweetest of all, someone has to die first. We hardly think of that, standing at the altar, and we shy away from that certainty while we live, but it is a fact. In my case, I’m glad my husband wasn’t left without me, but it’s not the same planet without him.
There is a divine romance for women alone. The Scripture speaks of it, and many have found it. We in Cor Unum are those who refuse to refuse the Nearness of the Lord, clinging to what we had or growing bitter over what has been taken from us. We don’t have what we wanted, but we have the Lord, the inventor of love and romance, greatly desiring to live these years with us, and to make them years of fullness and fruitfulness. Nothing was taken more than is now given in Christ Jesus.
We in this Abbey trust the goodness, and we choose the Presence of God. For every opportunity we would have had to minister to our husbands, whether gone through death or divorce, Christ Jesus, Savior and King, will get every ounce of that ministry, which is to say our attention, our esteem, and the warmth of our souls learning to make what matters to Him matter supremely to us. That is love, and we will have it, here in Cor Unum Abbey, monastery of the heart.