I was walking into Mass this morning and one of the young and pretty "in group" women called my name. I turned and she was smiling and handed me a flyer and wanted to know if I wanted to be a part of a summer all-women's book study (6 weeks) on sexuality. She had a box of flyers and I saw a list with the title "Coming to Book Study" on it and a quick scan showed they were all the younger married crowd. She was very sweet including me because most of these young moms are homeschooling their youngsters and are all into "toys, parks, homeschooling, and play dates". I wondered why she would be inviting me, an old divorced woman, to a group discussing sexuality . They are using the book, "Men and Women Are From Eden" and it looks interesting and I ordered it today to see if I wanted to go to this study. I guess you have to also bring a Catechism and Bible. It's sounding intense and that's a red flag because this gal argues about everything. I always said I was like Jacob, I wrestle for the blessing in everything .
This is the hardest aspect of being divorced for me, lack of intimacy. I'm not just talking about sex here, I'm talking about all the ways we express sexuality and sensuality in our lives; hugs, kisses, holding hands, back/neck rubs, arms around each other, and, of course, sexual intimacy. I continue to grieve that loss. What I've noticed is that I can go for a week without having any physical contact with another human being. I joke about feeling like "a ghost". I see church members/priests hugging people but those of us who are the "divorced" women are kept at arm's length. What does someone think I'm going to do if they hug me? Drop a key to a local hotel room in their suit coat? I want hugs too but I wonder if I'm considered "dangerous territory" to men/priests.
I don't see any other "divorced" women so it increases my sense of "standing out". Why Marcy would invite me is not certain but it may be she wants a differing opinion over the "happy housewife" and that I will bring a radically different experience to these discussions (nothing wrong with being a happy housewife, I'd love to be one myself).
How can I say how much I miss waking up with someone's arms around me, or just saying, "Hey let's just spend the morning in bed and forget about everything else" or the times I wake up hugging a pillow and realize it's just a pillow, feel empty, and cry? Do I talk about my struggles with chastity, which I admit has never been a strong suit of mine--probably because I have been married since the age of 18 with only a 1 year period where I didn't have an intimate partner. I have noticed more aches and pains, I'm aging and the idea of having no one to be with is frightening, and sad. I am still grieving the loss of affection/intimacy/ and yes, sex.
All of that whizzed through my head and the fact that I am under specific direction with a confessor regarding chastity, communion, and confession. I have some issues and how do I stay true to myself without making these delightful moms feel embarassed? I really want to live according to the teachings of the Church but it always seems like I'm kicking and fighting...I learn by debating and I can't see that working out very well in a class setting . I will leave like a volcano someone stuck a cork in if I hold it all in . The course uses Theology of the Body as it's base and I wonder if there is any way that I can learn something that will give me courage, hope, and determination to live a holier life. Sadly I want to live a holier life and at the exact same time, I don't want to--I just want company--I sold out for that before and here I am. Is this their way of reaching out--they know of the divorce.
Maybe, but today the Deacon gave me my papers for my lack of form declaration of nullity and he grabbed me and hugged me. He's a really heavyset 70-something guy with a big gray beard. His hug was like a big bear hug and I felt tears....but I blinked them back. He was happy for me, happy I can go forward. I know HOW I choose to live in my divorced status is every bit as important as the decision to end a horrible relationship, but I'm just not sure who I am any more and how I go about redefining myself into someone new when I was always an "anything goes" gal when it came to intimacy. "Do what you want but keep it quiet" . That doesn't work for me anymore. I want more than that. I want to be honest, I want to be real, and I want live my life God's way.
To go or not to go... but the fact she invited me...it was like she gave me a great big hug of sorts...well that just felt good.
Hugs to you ,