[ Godsends ]

Keeping the Faith

On a bright Sunday morning in July, I came downstairs and poured myself a cup of coffee. My wife of 22 years was sitting at the table, reading the morning paper.

"Good morning," I said.

"I want a divorce," was her response.

I went into shock. Somehow I went to church that morning and performed my duties. I was a lay leader, a Sunday school teacher, and the church's music director. No matter how I felt, no matter how drastically my life was changing, I had responsibilities.

Somehow I stumbled through the morning. I had already accepted the responsibility to preach in our pastor's absence the next Sunday morning.

My wife went through with the divorce. She could not be dissuaded, nor would she explain to anyone why our marriage relationship had changed.

One of the first concerns I dealt with was how to continue my church duties. My wife was lead soprano in the choir that I directed. Since we live in a small town, there was a real danger of people in the church taking sides in issues that should remain between my wife and me.

I managed to attend to my duties in the church. My wife attended another church for the next six weeks while I asked church members to please love her back into fellowship.

Eventually she did come back, and today sings in the choir that I direct.

In the meantime something else happened in my life that was destined to heal the hurt and rejection I felt at the dissolution of my marriage. A lady with no blood relatives in the world lost her family.

I offered to let her live with me in my small apartment until she got back on her feet. She had other problems. She was seeking solutions in the bottom of a liquor bottle.

Her problems were so much greater than mine that I quickly forgot about my own. I took an interest in her and offered what guidance I could.

I told my pastor what I had done, that I was living with a woman not my wife, and that she needed my help, and that if it was a problem for him that I would give up my church leadership positions.

He refused to let me step down. As I write this story, that woman is working steady, has her head on straight, and is on the verge of moving into her own apartment.

She is like one of my own children to me.

And if God sends angels to look after us, then this lady has been my angel. Nothing physical, just friendship and mutual support in difficult circumstances.

She credits me with saving her life, but I tell her God did it. If I had anything to do with it, then it's because God was working through me.

And I'm ready to stand on my own two feet, upheld by God's loving hand. It was difficult to take a stranger into my home, but it was the right thing to do.

I am a better man because I answered the call when I saw the need. And I quickly forgot my own problems when someone came along who was in worse shape than I.

"I cried because I had no shoes, until I met someone with no feet."

Carl P.

Port Isabel, TX