September 16th: Longing

I have often struggled with longing for things I could not have but during my divorce… longing increased.

I longed to reconcile with my husband.

I longed to remove my past mistakes.

I longed for a perfect future.

Longing left my heart heavy… its strong, persistent yearning could not be fulfilled.

Sometimes, things would happen that would allow me for a moment to believe that maybe… just maybe… if I yearned for something long enough that my own self-will would make it happen… yet… it never did.

Longing was becoming an emotional stumbling block that was getting in the way of my day-to-day life.

It became hard to focus on my work, my friendships, my family… I was constantly consumed by my desire… my longing.

It is hard to let go of what we “long” for… but if it is stopping us from moving forward in our lives, from the work we need to do in the present, then we must find a way to let it go.

“Dear God, help me to appreciate my life today. Help me to see that to love the things I have is to truly be thankful for God’s abundance and grace.”

September 15th: Staying in the Moment

During my divorce  I found it hard to stay in the moment.

I would catch my mind in constant thought: either looking back at the past, or worrying about the future, but rarely in the present.

One day, one of my program friends said, “Don’t you see?  You’re straddling the fence of time. One foot in the past, one foot in the future, while you are ignoring the present. Take a moment… and enjoy the “present” view.”

I started to think about how often during the day I was living in my head and focused on a different time.

How often I was mulling over past events that I had no control over: those events had already happened. There was absolutely nothing I could do about it now.

And the future? That was taking up space in my head as well… but it wasn’t helping me to worry about the unknown.

I had to make a conscience effort every day to stay in the moment.

I knew that I had to spend time doing the footwork to move through my past and prepare for the future but… I had to also fight to stay focused on the fact that the present is all we have and the moments held within it are precious… not to be wasted… not to be overlooked.

We must find joy in the day, embrace the people who surround us, walk with us, during our trying times.

The simplicity of a moment: a beautiful sky, an ocean breeze, a walk with a good friend, a kiss from those we love, the small gifts of the present are more valuable then we realize and are too often overlooked as we struggle on our path.

Life is fleeting, and to waste precious time on what we can no longer change, and what we cannot possibly know, is to short change ourselves from all of the unexpected joys the present brings.

The “present” truly is a “gift” to appreciate.

“Dear God, help me to stay in the moment.  To find gratitude in the smallest things. I am thankful for the time I have on this Earth. Help me to appreciate these precious moments of my day-to-day life.”

September 14th: A New Direction

I had been with my husband for so many years that when we began going through our divorce, I felt truly lost.

I felt like I had no direction and wasn’t sure where life was taking me.

Some friends thought this was great.

They could see endless possibilities in my future.

I could only see my fear.

I was scared of what lay ahead of me.

I had so many hopes and plans for both of us.

It felt like we had walked through so much together, that we had come so far as a couple, and then… our dream was snatched away.

I needed my own direction now but I found it hard to navigate in such emotional turmoil.

I decided that the best plan for me would be to work towards goals I had first set within the course of my relationship with my husband.

Those goals weren’t so scary; it wasn’t too much of a change to start working on them now.

I looked at what I had planned for myself during the time we had been together:

I had planned to get back in shape.

I had planned to be closer to my children by being in their day to day lives, and engaging with them more.

I had planned to return to school to get my graduate degrees and I had planned to begin playing music again.

I made a conscious decision to work on those things.

I found comfort in the familiar.

These were goals, dreams that I was used to… I had set my sight on these goals for many years.

Now… was the time to act.

I began by exercising and eating healthy. I worked hard to take care of myself.

I spent time each day playing with my children or just sharing intimate conversations with them.

I went to the college and picked up my paperwork to apply for the graduate program and I began to play local shows with my band again.

It was a new start in the right direction.

Suddenly… I stopped feeling lost.

Sometimes change can be so big that we can’t bear it. But if we start with small, comfortable steps… steps that may have begun in our “former” lives… they can carry us over into our new beginning.

“Dear God, help me see your new direction for me. Let me have the strength to get out of my own way, and follow your path, the one that you have chosen for me.”

September 13th: Acceptance

After my husband left, I found that my divorce had filled me with an immense grief.

I missed so many things about my relationship.

I tried to look at the logic, the truth: that “we” didn’t really fit together anymore as “life partners.”

That we would both be better if we moved on, worked on our behaviors, and walked a new path…

but it just wouldn’t work.

I would miss one good moment we had shared and forget the ten bad ones.

Sometimes, logic can’t carry us through.

Sometimes we have to put logic aside and walk through our problems with acceptance.

Each time I caught myself thinking about the past, fantasizing about what “had been,” I allowed myself to enjoy the moment, relive my happiness, and then I said a silent prayer and thanked God for giving me that time with my husband. I accepted that THAT time had passed.

Acceptance is the bridge that carries us over our river of grief.

I found I had  to mourn the loss of what I loved, but accept that it was now over and that I would find wonderful new memories on the other side of the bridge.

“Dear God, help me to accept life as it is. Help me to let go of the fantasy of the past and walk bravely into my future.”

September 12th: Don’t Give Up

Everyone has a time in their life when they feel that they can’t take it.

Not one more minute.

Some problem, some trauma, some emotional spiral that threatens their inner core.

Don’t give up.

It may seem impossible to get through this trying time, but if you just keep moving forward, you will get through it.

Don’t give up.

Think of all of the others, who have walked through this pain before you… know that you are not alone.

Don’t give up.

It may feel like things will never get better, but they will.

It takes time to heal from wounds.

It takes time to mend from hurts.

Don’t give up.

Keep walking on the path of life and through its many twists and turns and even when it seems too difficult to walk one more step…

Don’t give up.

Around the next turn in the path may be that beautiful new road you have been looking for.

Don’t give up.

Have faith, keeping walking… “this too shall pass.”

“Dear God, help me to continue to move forward through my pain. Give me the strength I need to work through this troubled time in my life. I find faith and hope in your power.”

September 11th: Anniversaries

The day of my wedding anniversary had been difficult.

I wondered if my husband, wherever he was that day, even remembered the date.

It was hard to know that I wouldn’t be receiving flowers.

I wouldn’t be going out to dinner with him to celebrate.

It marked the end of a chapter in my life instead of a “new beginning” of another year of marriage together.

I knew that by staying home and dwelling on my disappointment, I would only fall into a deeper depression.

I decided that the best I could do would be to go out and enjoy the time on my own.

I planned my own special evening.

I had dinner with one of my close friends.

I shopped for a special book I had wanted at my favorite bookstore.

I worked out at the gym and went home to take a relaxing bath where I soaked and read my newly purchased book.

I had to let go of what would not be.

I had to find enjoyment in what I could… and accept that things had changed.

Anniversaries will be hard.

So will holidays.

Remember what joy you had, and create new joy to soothe your sorrow.

“Dear God, help me to find peace. Help me to let go of what was and fill my life with what is… let me find the small moments of joy that will soothe my weary heart.”

September 10th: Setbacks

I had been placed in many difficult situations in my life but for some reason, my divorce hit me the hardest.

I was devastated by the loss and had many setbacks on my road to recovery.

I would cry uncontrollably or call my husband hoping I could convince him to come back…

I would blame myself for the end of our marriage and beg God to please change things…

I felt like I was walking on a path and every time I made a few strong steps, someone would come up behind me and knock me down to the ground.

If I tried to get back up, it felt like I was being knocked down again.

In the past, over the course of my entire life, I had always believed that no matter how many times you were knocked down, you got up and you tried again.

This time… my belief in this idea could not carry me: I just couldn’t see the light at the end of the path.

I was tired.

I was hurt.

I felt lost without my husband.

I didn’t want to get back up and try again.

A good friend had to remind me that this was a natural feeling.

That I would take a few steps forward and then feel “life” knock me back down to the ground

She related it to her own experience with divorce and promised me it would get better if I just kept moving forward and accepted that sometimes I would have setbacks.

She urged me to hold on a little while longer… she told me that she could see my progress even if I could not.

Life is full of setbacks.

Some… are more difficult than others.

I realized that this setback was a terrible one for me because my marriage had been difficult and I had fought against divorce for so long.

I had hoped it wouldn’t happen but after so many years, my worst fear came true.

I was getting a divorce.

The loss of love is a great one.

It cannot be minimized.

Walking through this loss is extremely painful but you must continue on the path, stand up, brush yourself off, and start walking again.

“Dear God, help me to accept my setbacks as a natural part of my recovery. Help me to find strength in the moment, and continue to follow the bigger path that you have planned for me.”