When my husband first moved out of our home, the absence of his presence in my day-to-day life was of course, huge but… what I hadn’t thought about… was how I would feel once so many of his personal items were gone: The bathroom now seemed bare without his toothbrush, his shaving items on the counter, his robe hanging on the door. The closet was now half empty and seemed abandoned and unused. Paintings had been removed from the walls, furniture had been taken, large gaps of what now seemed like transitional space lay everywhere around me. And though I was in pain, saddened by my loss I knew I must take to the task of making this place that was once ours… my own. I spent several weeks on this chore: organizing family photos, separating my husbands accidentally “left behind” items and boxing them to be picked up later. I cleaned out everything that was no longer useful from my past, and rearranged everything to start my future anew. I was surprised to admit it, but it was lovely to put all of my things, exactly where I wanted them, without concern for anyone else’s opinion. I couldn’t help but smile to myself with a sense of accomplishment and independence. Personal space becomes a home base of security and serenity when dealing with painful situations. It is the place we come to at the end of the day to feel soothed and at peace. – “Dear God, thank you for giving me a place to live. No matter how small, no matter how empty… it still holds my faith in your guidance.”
Today is my daughter’s birthday and I was thinking back to the day she was first born.
Some people say after a divorce, that they made a huge mistake…
that they should have never married their mate…
And during a difficult time in a person’s life, I can understand why they may feel that way… But… imagine all that would be lost.
I think of my daughter, how much I love her, how she is grown into a beautiful young woman, and I am so proud of her and her life accomplishments…
And I am grateful that my husband and I had this child together and spent so many years enjoying our time with her.
I have learned that every person I connect with in life and every event in my life… yes… good and bad…. leads me to the joys that I have today.
Without my love and commitment to my husband… I would have never had the gift of my daughter’s love.
Without my daughter’s love, I would not have the joy that fills my heart today.
“Dear God, help me to remember that there is joy in the smallest of things, that there is wonder in every life event.”
When we lose people to death, we take time to mourn the loss and celebrate their lives.
When we go through a divorce, we are often told to:
Get over it!
Don’t you shed even one more tear for that ex of yours.
When I lost my husband… it felt like a death… and… it felt like I was unable to mourn his loss.
He was still walking around in the world… he had chosen to leave… I was left behind… shouldn’t I be too angry to mourn his loss?
The truth was that I missed him terribly despite the pain that we had just experienced together.
I missed our shared history, the way he could make me laugh, the proud knowing look that came over our faces when we watched our children at play.
It was a hard loss.
Today, my ex-husband stands in my kitchen as I write this… I can hear him laughing with our son, chatting with my mother… and when I step out to greet him, we will hug and laugh and remember our years together with joy.
In the beginning… remembrance brought pain but now… it holds us together as a family. And even though our lives are now separate… they are still connected through our shared past.
“Dear God, help me to remember that all is not lost. That the record of our lives is still held in the passage of time and that it is safe and ready to be shared when the pain subsides.”
Every relationship serves a purpose.
Some relationships last for long periods of time while other relationships… seem to end before they even get started.
After my divorce, when enough time had passed, allowing me to look back in perspective, I began to exam all of the relationships in my life to see where they had led me.
My husband had been the catalyst towards my musical career.
My children had led me to want to be a good parent and a teacher.
My friends, my students, taught me to be present for others in the world, pass on knowledge, and have compassion:
Each relationship, serving a specific purpose, to lead me on my chosen life path.
Even my most difficult relationships brought me insight into how I wanted to be treated by others and how I wanted others to treat me and often…
by spending time in these difficult relationships… I was able to see how my “shadow self” would often become present:
How I might become obsessive or needy with someone who refused to openly offer support and love in a friendship.
How I could bully someone if I felt they had harmed one of my students or friends.
Observing a side of myself that I did not like, and that I hoped to improve, became obvious when I saw my actions repeated again and again within the confines of my relationships.
I learned that some relationships are “not to be” and are “not in my best interest.”
I learned that every one passes through my life for a reason and that they are a teacher… a teacher that brings a lesson that I must study to gain experience, strength, and hope… and share my growth and my knowledge in all of my future relationships.
It is up to me to find the “higher ground” when I am struggling with another’s self-will.
It is up to me to see the purpose in all of my personal relationships and embrace them.
“Dear God, help me to value all of my relationships. Help me to see the lessons I need to learn in each, and give me the strength to accept that people will come and go from my life, and I must find love and compassion as they walk with me or pass by me.”
It took time for me to see my marriage and my divorce clearly.
Friends would tell me that, “I just needed time to get over my wounds.”
Others said, “You will have perspective on this situation once time passes.”
The advice was hard to swallow when all I wanted was an immediate release from my pain but…
Time did bring perspective.
I was able to see that my husband had suited me perfectly for many years of my life, and even though I was disappointed and hurt when he chose to leave, after a significant amount of time passed… I could see that what had suited me perfectly as a young woman… no longer suited me as the woman I had become.
My husband and I were on different life paths and once I had perspective… I knew that we were better off as friends… than as a married couple.
Today, after going through my divorce, I have found that it is easier for me to accept that emotions, passions, and turmoil will calm with time.
I don’t always enjoy waiting for perspective… but I do look forward to the clarity that will come with it.
“Dear God, help me to be patient. Help me to wait for time to bring me clarity after enduring my hardships.”
My divorce was a painful journey.
It was a journey that I didn’t want to take.
I had married believing that I had journeyed towards my husband… and together… we were now “the destination.”
It was hard to let go of our life and begin again… alone… on the road.
Like any journey, I learned that it was important to watch for signs, enjoy the view along the way, and be open to the surprises I would experience.
I made new friends and learned to love again.
I now know that I will never end up at a specific destination.
I am constantly on the journey and must find a way to have peace in the idea that we are always traveling.
“Dear God, help me to be aware on my journey. Help me to find truth and maturity along the way.”
Before I went through my divorce, I never truly accepted an outcome that didn’t seem to work in my favor.
I always thought that I knew what was best.
I always believed that the other person must be absolutely wrong and if they would just stop being stubborn, we would both end up with the correct outcome: My outcome.
The best outcome of course.
But then one day, I heard a friend say, “I have to stop playing God. I think I know best for everyone but that’s just not true.”
I had to admit to myself right then and there that I liked playing God.
It gave me a sense of control and honestly, I thought if everyone would just do what I would say, my outcome would protect them from future pain and harm, and keep them on the right track to a better life.
Well, that isn’t how life works.
People have to choose their own path to walk.
I can offer my own experience, strength, and hope to help guide them on their way but…
their choices, and their inevitable outcomes… must be just that: their choice.
I know now that this is how others find their spiritual growth.
I don’t have to like every outcome in life… but I must accept that it is a necessary part of learning.
We may see others on a path of destruction, but maybe that is the path they must walk to find their salvation.
“Dear God, help me to accept all outcomes. Help me to see that you have a bigger plan than I have the ability to imagine.”