This is the first time I have sat down at my computer to type this story and found myself not wanting to do so. I’ve actually been sitting here for thirty minutes browsing Pinterest, checking Facebook and Twitter, reading news headlines…anything but type in my WordPress address and click on the little pencil in the top right corner to start a new post. If you have ever been awakened by a bad dream and then been afraid to close your eyes again for fear it will return, you can understand some of the emotions that have come with the writing of this story. I wrote in the very first entry of this story that God did an amazing work. Many reading it already know the ending since they are people who know me beyond the screen of the computer. If I already gave away the ending, why am I having such difficulty writing what will most likely be the last few chapters? I am not sure of the answer to that question. I can only surmise that it may be a spiritual force. Even if only one person reads this story and finds a new hope in God because of it, that would be enough for me to be thankful I wrote it and enough for Satan to want to keep me from doing so. There may also be some fear, knowing that I shared details previously unknown except by those who were personally and intimately involved in the story. It is also very possible that it could simply be a matter of emotions–stirring up events from the past often leaves one emotionally spent and fearful that somehow, by bringing it up, it could happen all over again. Regardless of the reason, this has been a difficult entry to start, but my purpose in writing this in the first place was to give God glory for what took place. I press on now, hoping that is the end result.
The story is in its final ten days. Much happened in this period of time and it seemed that they happened quickly. Just trying to write it, I feel like a juggler, struggling to keep all the balls in the air…
The first week of April brought Easter. I was working on a scoring project ( a part time job I do from home several months throughout the year) so I was thankful that I had chosen this week to give Anna her spring break. We had met several times by now with Finance Guy. The first couple meetings were rough as Dave resisted being completely open, but he started to relax in that area as he saw that Finance Guy was trustworthy. Originally, Pastor 1 had told Finance Guy that he (Pastor 1) must be kept completely informed of all that took place. Finance Guy obliged for the first few meetings and then told Pastor 1 simply that things were coming along okay. That helped in Dave’s willingness to be completely honest with Finance Guy. In the few weeks we had met, we were already seeing some positive results. We were much more aware of our spending. We were being diligent in keeping track when we did use the debit card for anything. Before, Dave would use the card for some things and I would use the card for some things, but we never told the other that we had used it. Neither of us kept track of what was in the bank. That had all changed. We had a check register that we kept updated. We cut spending in areas that we could–canceled extended cable for a while, stopped eating out as much, and other simple steps that we knew needed to be taken but weren’t. One thing we both appreciated about Finance Guy was his genuine care for us. He was doing this for us, without charge, and taking up his time because he cared. He also believed that, even when money is tight, there needed to be some fun. He helped us make a list of ideas that still provided fun but didn’t cost any or much money. He then taught us how to work that into our budget. For me, Finance Guy helped me to learn that just because I wanted it didn’t mean I needed it or should go buy it. I admit to having much difficulty with this concept at first. I had pretty much been given all I wanted materially as I was growing up, and I entered marriage thinking my husband would do the same for me. He also agreed that we needed to replace the van I had been driving. When a final budget was done and we stopped living beyond what we could afford, Finance Guy believed we could afford to buy a newer vehicle. This news was music to my ears! Perhaps, finally, I wouldn’t feel trapped here.
Sitting in our driveway was a black Kia Spectra. We had bought it new in August of 2000. DJ had driven it the last year or so before he left for college. It was Dave’s car originally, but it ended up becoming DJ’s car while Dave rented a car for over a year. I’m not sure how that actually happened, but it did. When DJ left for college, Dave went to drive the car somewhere and it wouldn’t go into gear. We knew there were transmission issues with the car, and it appeared that the transmission may have finally given up. It sat there for months. It was not driveable, yet we continued to pay insurance on it. Each time I would stand at the sink and do dishes, I would see that car and miss DJ so much. I hated that car sitting there, and I hated even more the fact that we were paying insurance on a car that didn’t run. Finally, Dave called a friend to come and look at it to see if it really was the transmission. A mutual friend of ours, a guy from our church who lived a block or so away and someone we had both known for several years, said he would stop over some time to check it out. The first Saturday in April, Mechanic (as I will call him) came over. Dave had gone out somewhere that morning, Anna and Zach were both sleeping, and I was trying to work. I had so much on my mind and was struggling to concentrate. I hadn’t even seen Mechanic come to the house. I heard a knock at the door and realized it was Mechanic. He asked me if I could come out and help him with something on the car–he needed me to turn the key while he watched something under the hood. When his test on the car was done he came to the driver’s side door to let me know he was done. There were tears on my face at this point–I just had too much on my mind. I got out of the car, he sat down on the front bumper and asked me if I wanted to talk about anything. The tears were falling freely now–I was so embarrassed–and I spit out the words that I hadn’t yet said to anyone: “Dave and I are most likely going to divorce.” He was quiet for a minute. Then he said, “Well, that’s not good. Talk to me.” I started to tell him about the fights, the fear, and how miserable we all were. He told me that I could always call him if things got out of hand–even in the middle of the night. Tears just kept falling as I tied to talk about how hard this was on Anna and how she just wanted us to leave. And then I saw Dave turn into the alley. I immediately panicked, knowing if he saw me talking to Mechanic AND crying that he would know I had said something. Mechanic diverted Dave’s attention as soon as he got out of the car which allowed me to get inside before Dave could see the tears. I was very thankful. I went back in the bedroom, powered up my computer, and began working again. By the time Dave and Mechanic stopped talking, I had been able to stop the tears and pretend like everything was fine.
Sunday evening, before going to bed, Dave motioned to the CD set from Pastor James that I had set on the little heater by the couch. He asked me if he could take it the next morning. I looked at him and said, “Why?” The words came out sounding as bitter as they felt while still on my tongue. He got slightly agitated at my tone, raised his voice a little, and said, “Can I take it or not?” I replied with an audible “Yes” and under my breath, just low enough that he couldn’t understand what I said but knowing I said something, added, “You aren’t going to listen to it anyway.” That week also brought a much over due settlement for the accident that had totaled my previous van. It wasn’t much, but Dave said it would be enough to put down some money on a new van and have enough left over to buy a good used car. I was excited but I was also very nervous about adding a new van payment to a tight budget, even though Finance Guy had said we could do it with a decent down payment. I called Finance Guy to tell him that Dave had already talked to a guy about a new van and we could pick it up that day–but I did not have a peace with it. Finance Guy said if I didn’t have peace about it, to wait a few days. I relayed that information to Dave who instantly got angry at me. Pastor 1 called me and I told him about the plan to buy a new van. He became angry at me and told me that there is no way we should buy a new van and that I would just lose it in the divorce settlement anyway. He went on to tell me that he is frustrated with Dave–with the whole situation. Dave came home from work, so I quickly ended the call and tried to pretend like I hadn’t been crying. Dave told me that he would be meeting with Mentor that night. Those were the only words he said to me. We ate dinner and he left for Mentor’s house. I should have been working, but I was a mess. I had reached the end of my rope. I sat down, took out the piece of paper that had the name and number of the attorney, and I programmed the number into my phone. I had made the decision that I couldn’t do this anymore. Tomorrow, I told myself, I would call and start the divorce proceedings. I thought about calling Friend 1 but decided against it. I had to keep this to myself until the weekend was over. We had special plans that coming weekend that involved three of our four kids and there was no way I wanted to jeopardize them. The kids had been through enough.