Recently two of my coworkers were discussing the pain of divorce and how the loss, similar to a death, is difficult for everyone involved. One mentioned how hard marriage can be early on, especially if you marry young. She drew me into the conversation by asking how old I was when I got married.
Smiling, I answered: Twenty-four.
It can be hard sometimes, she said.
Yeah, I remember clothes being thrown out on the porch and angrily backing out of my driveway, almost running him over back then.
The other coworker looked at me with shocked, wide eyes as if to say she could not believe this about me.
I laughed. Oh, I’ve been to crazy town! I’ve been the mayor of crazy town!
We don’t really know people….we assume we do, but we don’t. People don’t typically tell their sketchy stories.
Each of my coworkers then shared a crazy story from their early years of marriage and we had a good laugh together. It wasn’t marriage-bashing or blame-casting. It was actually kind of uplifting. As we open ourselves to others, we often find we are not alone.
Crazy town, in my mind, is internal chaos that spills over in out-of-control ways. You don’t know how to handle yourself, so you try desperately to handle someone else.
The only reason I could share a bit of my crazy and laugh about it simultaneously is God.
Neither of us was a bad spouse, we just had a lot to learn. We kept at it — still do –by the grace of God. It’s just life. Everyone deals with crazy and chaos sometimes but we don’t admit it because we think it means something is especially wrong with us.
Perhaps you smile as you read this post because you’ve served as mayor, too, but it doesn’t define your life anymore.
Perhaps you cringe because you’ve been there but are ashamed to admit it. Don’t understand how we can smile about it.
Perhaps your current zip is inside the town limits and you don’t know what to do.
May I encourage you?
Everyone passes through crazy town. Some more than others, no doubt. And sometimes the infractions we suffer or commit are indeed relationship deal-breakers. But whatever the circumstance…whatever outcomes need to be…however lost and stuck you might feel…you really, truly are not alone. I promise.
A visit to crazy town does not mean failure. It does not mean loser. It does not mean irreparable.
It means human.
I mentioned God’s grace. Those tried and true words, by the grace of God.
What does it mean, really?
Grace explains how He can be for us. Wants to see us push through, heal, thrive, grow, become, flourish. Grace is divine favor resting upon our lives simply because we believe, call upon and have faith in Jesus. Grace is the substance of His love for us. It’s the conveyor belt on which peace, wisdom and strength move into our lives.
It’s by His grace we keep on keepin’ on. By His grace we receive encouragement on that tough day, by His grace we feel His presence and love overcoming loneliness, by His grace we hear and accept truth into our hearts about ourselves and our situation, by His grace we give and receive forgiveness, by His grace we make right choices. Again and again and again.
By His grace we learn to let go, smile, reconnect and enjoy life.
Hey look. We all make pit-stops in crazy town from time to time. I certainly do. It’s why grace is necessary. Why Jesus came.
And why we don’t have to stay.
Now that we know what we have — Jesus, this great High Priest with ready access to God — let’s not let it slip through our fingers. We don’t have a priest who is out of touch with our reality. He’s been through weakness and testing, experienced it all — all but the sin. So let’s walk right up to him and get what he is so ready to give. Take the mercy, accept the help.
–Hebrews 4:14-16, The Message