Precious Heart-Broken Heart
Precious Heart-Broken Heart
Love & the Search for Finality in Divorce
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I chronicle the nature of grief peculiar to divorce in a personal manner through the lens of my experience and clinical understanding. I begin with love and end with love.

In Part One: I begin with the fantasy that turned into tragedy, and I use the analogy of a clock's mechanism to show the general nature and course of healthy grief – especially in divorce. I start with an analogy of the mechanical nature of something totally non-mechanical and fully metaphysical. A mainspring, fulcrum, lever, and pendulums show how inward and outward expressions of grief facilitate or impede healing.

In Part Two: the Black Forest Pathway – How Expression Unfolds – chapters III through XII, a few other analogies are used to chronicle the journey through grief, like the "Bay of Heartbrokenness," the "Bridge of Finality," and the "Wasteland." With these analogies and some liberty, I take the reader on a walk through the "Black Forest," observing the various trees that make up grief in the various stages of a divorce.

In Part Three: the Black Forest – What Helps Expression – chapters XIII and XV, I step back and view the Black Forest as a whole; that is, in comparison with and without diminishing the grief of death, I show the peculiar and greater pain of divorce.

All analogies have some weaknesses, and there is no pretension to having chronicled every aspect. Even these are but scribbles. But perhaps the pictures and journey will help a little. If anything, I hope for an increase in sensitivity toward those going through a divorce, for it can be the most traumatic and painful event in a person's life – indeed, life-changing.

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I Loved her.

I loved her. . . . I still love that fine woman. Even though she is now my ex-wife, there will always be a special place in my heart that belongs to her. I wish her the best – most sincerely, the very best.

She was hurt. I hurt. The divorce hurt. How confusing. I dedicate this work to healing: hers . . . mine . . . all who have had a BrokenHeart.

At the first, in a moment, I plan to sketch the mechanism of grief peculiar to divorce, using the mechanism of a clock and a comparison with amputation: chapters I-II. Then in chapters III-XII, I chronicle my pathway through the Black Forest of grief in divorce itself, a difficulty cut pathway through a forest of imposing trees and underbrush. Then in chapters XIII-XV, we look at the mysterious and feared Black Forest itself, that in a fashion looms large and intimidating in most families.

It seems fitting to start somewhere near the beginning, like, once upon a time. When love was confusing, free, and full of fantasies. Where reality was conveniently denied and feelings seemed uninhibited. In a place where communication seemed like the meeting of mutual needs and conflict was absent. A dream-come-true began to unfurl before our eyes.

Naive children? Blurry-eyed adolescents? Not us.

I had worked hard through over a decade of higher education. She was successfully negotiating a second career and was a successful mother of two. We had both accumulated some mileage. With the mileage and through the scrutiny of our doubts and fears, we believed we had screened those precious moments with enough insight to weed out our delusions.

The season was springtime. Such a sweet love. In the springtime of this love, we chose a song. I punctuated the lyrics and gave it to her among the several poems I would later write. The song's name: "Masterpiece" by Atlantic Starr. Here are a few verses.

A picture perfect painting--that's what our love is.
And--yes--I need you so. . . .
And now I know,
I've found a masterpiece in you;
A work of art, it's true;
And I treasure you--My Love.

A beautiful song sung with such a wonderful melody. She loved it. I loved it. Each time it aired on the radio, we would sing it to each other.

In the courtship months that followed, our love grew. Could this be real? I wrote many poems of the sublime feelings I had for her. One of the first poems I wrote to her will follow. I wrote other poems of our love that cannot be shared.

In her kind and gentle and varied ways, she showered me with love. Truly, I loved her because she first loved me. She loved better. At the time, anyway, we seemed to be in love – the both of us. So we risked marriage to share our love more deeply.

We both had doubts. Fears. We had experienced turbulence in life. Both of us feared rejection and the resulting brokenness. Nevertheless, we proceeded to the altar. Arms burdened with fears. Feet shod in risk. Hearts full of high hopes and a dream.

We married.

In the pledge of marriage, we invested our heart and soul. We cherished the endearments in mutuality. We began to build the scaffolding of commitment. To each other we gave intentions and meaningful touches and gestures and gifts.

All of our inner beings had been donated toward the future of a mutual and treasured love. We had found our long-sought-after love. All the intimate and warm caresses. This treasured love was meant to grow with each moment. Meant to build upon each heart-gift. Meant to point toward a future forever.

We were not children infatuated with another new exploration. We were adults – in caution – consciously and constantly throwing ourselves at each other. We held each other and looked to the future with all of the accumulated wisdom and understanding that we could muster. A strength affirmed here, a weakness covered here. Together . . . how could we fail?

Maness grew up in Southern California and migrated to Texas in 1972.  After a short stint in the U.S. Air Force, Maness earned a B.A with a double major in Bible and Counseling at the Criswell Bible College from 1978 to 1985.  This was a time of dire poverty and much struggle.  He went on to earn a M.Div. with languages from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth in 1990, 1,600 hours of clinical from the Association of Clinical Pastoral Education at Shannon Hospital in San Angelo in 1992, became certified as a Suicide/Crisis Intervention Counselor for MHMR in the Concho Valley in 1991, and a D.Min. from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary in 1997.


He has received specialized training with the Texas Dept. of Human Services in Child Protective Services and with Texas Dept. of Criminal Justice (TDCJ) in Cultural Diversity, Safe Prisons crisis intervention program, and in TDCJ’s Post Trauma Staff Support team.


He has traveled throughout the United States and to several countries including Belgium, Israel, Egypt, Jordan, and Syria.


He is the senior clinical chaplain at the Gib Lewis Texas State Prison and a Certified Correctional Chaplain with the American Correctional Chaplains Association.  He is also a member of the American Correctional Association, Lions Club International, the Evangelical Theological Society, and several other state and national organizations.


He has written on a large variety of topics, both published and unpublished, and much of the work of his pen can be seen at his web site:

His interests focus on matters that affect the heart...the precious heart.




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