And after some days Paul said to Barnabas, “Let us return and visit the brothers in every city where we proclaimed the word of the Lord, and see how they are.” Now Barnabas wanted to take with them John called Mark. But Paul thought best not to take with them one who had withdrawn from them in Pamphylia and had not gone with them to the work. And there arose a sharp disagreement, so that they separated from each other. Barnabas took Mark with him and sailed away to Cyprus, but Paul chose Silas and departed (Acts 15:36–40)
Becoming a child of divorce bursts the bubble of safety that envelops a kid’s first years in the world. It may be hard to remember that bubble as adults, but we see that look of safety on the faces of the young. We may try to chasten it, but parents will tell you that kids stride through life with an irrepressible assurance that the world is a plaything that will never do them harm. If you are lucky enough to have such a childhood (I didn’t), you might even come to believe that the love of parents and the safety of home is a birthright, something that will always be.
Becoming a child of divorce changes that. Mom and dad, the cause of every breath you take, come apart at the very moment when you are trying to put yourself together and make sense of the world. Do not misunderstand my statements here. This is not some facile claim that marriages must never end. Sometimes abuse or infidelity destroys that which was once beautiful and true (For those who need to hear this, if someone is abusing you, get free). With those caveats firmly in place, it is important to acknowledge that for the child the death of a marriage brings trauma. It forces you to confront, before you are ready, the world as it is not the one that you would like it to be.
The traditional Anglican/Episcopal priest in the United States, who lives in the aftermath of 2003, is a child of divorce. This divorce is not in fact between the Episcopal Church and what would become the Anglican Church in North America. This is a misnomer. The Episcopal Church has, in truth, never loved us. She has to a greater or lesser extent, depending on the season, tolerated traditionalists as a manifestation of the diversity that gives her a sense of self. My family was a smaller fellowship within the Episcopal Church that told me a beautiful story. This family described the Anglican Communion as something that transcended the limited perspective of a homogenous American church that had lost herself amongst the ruins of modernism and the false start of post-modernism. This family spoke of creeds, sacraments, the three-fold office, the consensus of the church fathers, and the authority of the Scripture. I believed them.