The Round Table

by Rhonda, January 19, 2022

Sitting at the table was awkward.  I hadn't been back in church in nearly two years, let alone a women's Bible study.  Divorce will do that to you.  It will make you feel uncomfortable in situations like this.  Perhaps I was jumping back into this too fast.  Church was enough, did I really need to join a weekly Bible study?  

My daughter and I were the first ones to arrive.  The tables were round with assigned seats.  We waited quietly for others to arrive.  Soon, another woman sat across the table and avoided eye contact.  She had shoulder length, brown hair.  She wore glasses and a tattered long sleeve shirt.  I said hello, she responded back, but never looked at me.  

She clearly didn't want to talk.  I wasn't surprised, given my insecurities about this event.  Who was going to want to talk to me, anyways?  It was going to be an uncomfortable evening, so I winked at my daughter (who was also nervous), and pulled out my phone to keep myself busy.

Soon, more women filed in, and our little round table was completely full.  Everyone was from a different walk of life.  Several were physical therapists, working at the local hospital.  Another was a stay at home Mom.  On the far side of the table was a pharmacy tech.  The leader of our table asked us to go around the table and tell if we were married, if we had kids, and a little bit about ourselves. 

Each woman answered, talking about their happy marriages an kids.  Soon, it was my turn.  The only person left after me was the quiet woman in the glasses.

I considered lying.  

Sure, it was a bad idea to lie in a Bible study, but I am not completely divorced yet, even thought we've been separated for two years.  Perhaps saying I was married for over twenty years was technically not a lie.

Finally, all eyes were on me.  I decided to avoid being struck by lightning in my first night of Bible study, so I took a deep breath and attempted to be as honest as possible.

"I'm divorced," I said.  The table leader dropped her eyes, regretting her decision to ask this particular question as an icebreaker.  "Its been about two years," I continued, "and to tell you the truth, its why I haven't been in church in a long time.  Its difficult to go to church when you're going through something like this."

The physical therapist spoke up.  "Did you feel like you couldn't attend church because of the divorce?"

I nodded, "Yeah.  I can't point to a specific reason why.  I suppose its because it was something we once did together, as a family.  I also didn't want to hear a sermon on marriage and put myself through feeling like a failure, sitting there with my kids."

The group nodded.  The physical therapist looked at me with sympathetic eyes.

My turn was up.  Now, all eyes were on the quiet woman with the glasses.  "I'm just home from Japan.  My husband is in the military and he's stationed there," she stared at the table.  "We're separated now, and my nine-year old daughter and I are back. I am just trying to figure everything out.  We don't even have all of our stuff yet.  I need to find a job."

The table was quiet for a moment.  I was about to say something when the physical therapist said.  "Do you have any skills... or what would you like to do for work?"

"I helped in ministry in Japan.  I wish I could get a job in women's ministry, but those are hard to find and I need to work from home anyways."  She looked at the table again and shrugged her shoulders.  "I don't know."

We quickly moved onto another topic.  But, my mind stayed on the quiet woman.  She wasn't stand-offish as I'd first thought.  She was stunned, probably fearful, and she had no idea what she was going to do.  She also didn't have an education, which meant jobs were going to be harder to find that would allow her to stay at home.

I realized she had the same fears about the meeting as I did.  It must have been worse for her.  I had two years of healing behind me.  I never considered she was struggling, too, I had simply been nervous for myself.  I assumed I was the newest one at the table.

Later that evening, we wrote down our prayer requests on white notecards and exchanged them, agreeing to pray for one another this week.  I received her card. 


1) Job  

2) Healing for a broken heart.

I don't know if she will show up again this week.  But, I have prayed her prayer requests every night and I will continue to do so.  

Healing can be a long road, but I know she doesn't have to walk it alone.

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