He is in a Bible class I am teaching on Sunday morning. This class consists of people in their early to mid twenties, a few married and others single. A number of them are in a graduate school of some kind. For the last three weeks, we have devoted the last part of the class listening to the story of one of the class members. (A different person each week).
So yesterday, this young man spoke. Mid-twenties. Handsome. Athletic. Married to wonderful young lady who is soon to give birth to their first child. Yes, he has all of this going for him.
But yesterday, he wept as he remembered his parents’ divorce when he was 12. The pain and hurt many years later was still fresh. I watched the class as they listened to him. It was intense. I sensed that none of them wanted to miss a single word. Yet, I think I saw something else in them. I think I saw some of them thinking about their own lives. Their own stories. Maybe it is because I know a number of them. I know something about their home lives and their early years.
Sitting beside him was another young man, a husband and father, who shared a similar story just a few weeks ago. His parents divorced when he was the same age as this other man. These guys are friends. I watched both of them as each one spoke and as they looked at one another. My sense was that each one understood the other.
As he spoke, I thought about all of the men and women who I have had conversation with over two and a half decades. So often when people are hurt, deeply hurt, they wall themselves off from others or they even shut down completely. They decide they will never get hurt this way again. Consequently, their wives (or husbands) remain frustrated as they find they are married to either an angry person or a distant person.
The young man who I just mentioned will probably not become either angry or distant. He is doing what so many men do not do. He acknowledges what is real in his life (the hurt) and he recognizes that only God can get him through this.
I also thought about something else as he spoke. I thought about how long it has taken me to learn what he already knows in his twenties. I thought about how many years I spent before I allowed God to deal with some of the deepest and most significant areas of my life. Yet, I am also thankful that God is able where I am not. For that, I am grateful.