Once upon a time and many years ago I found myself a middle-aged woman smack dab in the middle of a very scandalous, very public divorce in a small town. Now people all over the country love a good drama story but to those residing in small town America where little else happens it is big doings and everyone, I mean everyone wants a piece of it! I hate drama in my life and have as far back as I can remember, however even I must admit this period of my life checked off all the criteria for the requirements of a good country song!
When the story first broke, I was shocked at just how quickly the “good” news spread particularly among married women. The men, typically just as eager to share in gossip as their female counterparts, were more inclined to sit back and see how things would play out before getting involved. Equally amazing to me was just how many people knew who I was. People who previously were unaware I was alive, promoted me to celebrity status overnight and I could not go anywhere without being recognized and confronted. I must confess, I did try wearing sunglasses and a hat to disguise my appearance, but I didn’t fool anyone except my dogs. Once spotted I would be offered heart-felt condolences and inevitably asked a few questions in an effort to obtain a few previously unreleased juicy details. I left more than one inquisitive soul frustrated when I refused their kind offers to listen while I got things off my chest, preferring to leave them where they were. When alas it was time to part, I would be assured that if I needed anything all I needed to do was call. Those offers had a short expiration date.
As time went on and the initial drama died down, the women of the town came to a group decision and decided my status needed to be changed from victim to adversary. After all I was now a free woman and their husbands who they had looked at as middle-aged, fat, balding and lazy now looked just like Tom Selleck in his prime as the Marlboro Man. Of course I finding myself recovering from a freshly broken heart could not possibly carry on without a man and in view of a shortage of unmarried, available men anyone’s husband would do. Now no longer popular among the women in town, I was able to ditch my disguise and throw away the sunglasses and hat.
A little more time passed and the men of the town being convinced that there was no hope of reconciliation and the marriage was over for good decided their time for involvement had come. Time for a few of those luscious stud muffins, complete with toothless smiles and beer guts, to make their move. By this time I was running the town’s auto parts store and 95% of the customers were men. If you are not aware, I must tell you that when you are a middle-aged woman with a farm and without a husband it makes no difference what you look like or what kind of person you are, you are a hot commodity. It became a contest among the men of the town who would win the affections of the damsel done wrong and take possession of both her and her farm. To be honest, I had lost all track of just how many men of all ages and marital status I had dated during this period of time. I do remember being amazed that I had enough time to date them all, keep my job and take care of my farm and home.
Unless you have lived through a similar situation, you have no idea how thankful I am that chapter of life is behind me. As I look back I think the thing I still find the most profound is the enjoyment people got from my sadness and how my life became fodder for them. Gossip by it’s very nature is never rooted in love, never kind, never funny, never innocent and it is always at someone’s expense. Have you ever noticed how gossip is never happy, hopeful or worthy of praise? God’s Word tells us that gossip is as much a sin as murder or adultery. Gossip is like a weed that grows out of control, like a fire that cannot be put out. Once it is spread and repeated and let out of it’s box it cannot ever be put back in. At the end of it all, no one has any idea what the truth was to begin with. The good news is that gossip can be stopped and it can begin with each one of us. On a happy note, this is how my story ends: …..and they all lived happily ever after. The End.
Until we meet here again, I pray God bless you and keep your loved ones safe.