It’s been kind of a heavy week and my posts have reflected that. So, tonight I decided to bring a little levity into the mix. But to understand the day, it is important that you understand the backdrop. And I have to start out by reminding you that Kristin, our oldest daughter, is going through a divorce, which most of you already know. But in Indiana, before a divorce can be final, it is required that both parties attend a class on effective parenting and helping kids through the realities of the situation.
Kristin wanted to complete the course as soon as possible so she can get on with the next season of her life, and I have to say that her attitude is wonderful, especially in view of all the hurt that she has experienced during the last several years. The end is in sight.
So several days ago she registered to attend the course that was being offered today, but she was unprepared for what she encountered. Now before I go any further, let me stress that you can’t be around Kristin and not have a great time. She is the life of the party and is incredibly funny. Her recollections of events leaves us in stitches and she is a member of the Drama Team at church if that gives you any idea about her affinity to play to an audience.
Early this afternoon, she headed into Indianapolis to attend the class. She parked the car at the location, entered the building, and was instructed to deposit her purse for inspection and to walk through a metal detector. She couldn’t believe it…. they checked everyone for weapons, collected the fee in cash (no credit cards or checks allowed) and then she passed back through the metal detector before being allowed in the classroom. She mentioned something about a pat down search but I was laughing so hard by then that I didn’t hear everything she said.
Now Kristin didn’t grow up in a marginal environment. The thought of metal detectors and weapons is something that she only thinks of at the airport – not when attending a class on helping children cope with divorce. She told me that 50 people attended the class, and many thousands of people attend each year. Of course, Kristin also told me that she thought she was the only one without tattoos or body piercings who attended the session. Knowing Kristin, it must have been some sight. She was afraid to go the bathroom and so it was not the most pleasant afternoon – even though, at the end of it, she gave the instructors high marks for their presentation and their longevity teaching for so many years.
The things that made this intriguing for me are the examples that the instructors used to indicate a safe vs. an unsafe environment for children. The example of the unsafe environment included reminding the attendees that leaving heroin needles on the coffee table when the kids were around was not considered safe…….. Conversely, allowing dessert for dinner (you know, eating cake instead of a balanced meal) was certainly not endorsed, but it was at least “safe” and would not constitute grounds to call the police. Duh…….
Likewise, if you had a meth lab, you would want to make sure that you weren’t actively engaged in the manufacture of the drug when the kids were home from school… Now remember, Kristin can add details for dramatic effect, but I couldn’t stop laughing as she was recounting her afternoon and she swears the parts about the needles and desserts are absolutely true – cross her heart. By the way, two people in the class were already engaged to be married when their pending divorces were final.
One man made mention of the fact that he wished his family support group would give him more space – then Kristin announced that she didn’t know what he was complaining about; that Jill had moved in with Kristin three weeks ago after her arrival here from Oklahoma. And while we love Jill, it is true that she will have been gone from her own home close to three weeks. Kristin isn’t making this stuff up….
Apparently, Kristin became an instant hit in the classroom, which doesn’t surprise me. Everybody was laughing about Jill’s visit to Kristin’s. Soon, almost everybody in the group wanted a “Jill” and one woman even asked Kristin to send Jill over to her house when Jill got tired of staying with Kristin. It must have been some class.
The problem, as I see it, is that they have to teach about not leaving drugs or needles out when the kids are at home. It just blows my mind that these kinds of topics actually have to be taught. Where do people come from, and is this a true indication of what our society has regressed to? Apparently so.
Even though this is all foreign to Kristin, she had to go through the experience of today to fulfill her requirement. She just can’t wait for all this to be behind her. She wants the suffering to end.
That reminds me of 1 Peter, a book written about our suffering. After opening his story with the good news of salvation, he tells us in 1 Peter 1:6, “In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials.” In other words, even though we know the outcome will eventually be better, most of the time, we will have to suffer before we experience the joy we hope for.
My encouragement tonight is that it is important to keep your eye on the outcome and to realize that sometimes the intermediate steps are difficult and seemingly endless. Just like today for Kristin, when she kept texting me how much time was left before the class was over. My prayer is that God will protect you during the difficult times when you become susceptible to weakness and to heading in the wrong direction. Peter teaches us that sometimes suffering is part of the plan so that we can rejoice even more when the trials and tribulations are over. So, Kristin made it though. She texted me to let me know that she was on her way home. Congratulations, mission accomplished, onward and upward….. Grace and peace,