Towards the end of my marriage, I realized I had no support system. My husband had done really well at isolating me and I would have nothing to fall back on if I left him. So, when a dad from my daughter’s school was handing out flyers for a meeting to start up a local farmer’s market, I jumped at the idea. Finally, something for me to do! There would even be people there!
I honestly thought that I hated people, but felt like it was something I needed. So, I went to the meetings and was miserable with everyone. The first meeting I was able to sit apart from everyone and avoid talking to them but the second meeting, the layout was in groups of tables. And I was stuck sitting beside the pastor of the church.
The first things I did were to tell him I hate his church logo and make a bunch of sarcastic (but true to me) comments about how I didn’t want to sit next to the pastor. I was a really lovely person. But, he took it in stride and laughed it off.
Meanwhile, my marriage was getting more and more aggressive. My husband was downright vicious in what he would say. There was a particularly bad blow up at me one day right before my meeting, but I had to get out of the house, so I went. I was obviously not okay. I was struggling to hold it together and had to step out at one point for a breather.
The pastor pulled me aside at the end to make sure I was okay and I gave him a cliffs notes version of what was going on. He was super supportive and we started meeting every week from that point on. What amazed me, and kept me going, was that he knew I was atheist. He never once mentioned God. He didn’t ask me to pray at the end. He just listened and supported me as my marriage fell apart and, eventually, as I struggled with being a single mom.