I felt the need to see a counselor while going through my divorce. She was very knowledgeable in what I was going through, based on her schooling, but also based on her life experiences. As our session was coming to a close one day she said, “It’s hard to give up your dream. You dreamed that you and your husband would raise your children together, travel together, grow old together, and it didn’t happen. Of course you are feeling devastated. You are grieving the death of your dream.”
I immediately burst into tears.
It was so true.
I had always had these visions of our future and how are life would be:
We would watch our son graduate from high school and we would look at each other lovingly and knowingly; proud of our mutual accomplishment of raising a successful child.
We would watch our daughter go off to college, or some day get married or both… and of course, I imagined my husband would be the one to give her away.
We would travel across the world, being loving and kind to each other in exotic locations.
It was a dream… a beautiful dream… but that dream was not to be.
The loss at the time was too much.
I had to grieve it.
If we had stayed together, would that dream have come true?
No one can predict the future.
Our past track record, our dysfunctional patterns, seemed to negate my dream of ever becoming a reality.
In the seventeen years that we had been married, I couldn’t come up with one time we had gone on a trip without our children. Each trip we had taken had ended with us fighting or my husband giving me the silent treatment. Maybe we would have traveled to exotic places together, getting along beautifully but… probably not.
I remembered back to my daughter’s graduation. Though we were both proud, we weren’t really getting along that day. We weren’t looking lovingly and knowingly at each other. My husband was tired of the crowd. I was hot and trying to keep everyone calm as I acted like a buffer between my own mother and my husband who weren’t really getting along during this period of time.
Yes…we were proud.
Yes…we felt a sense of accomplishment as parents.
Yes…we had great moments that day but it wasn’t like the “movie of the week” dream that I had pictured.
The reality was different from the dream.
It’s good to have dreams but it is also good to be able to look a dream in the eye and see the reality.
While going through my divorce, I had a hard time relinquishing the dream. I looked back and glamorized all that we had. I couldn’t see the truth in each situation. I could only see the dream.
I struggled to see what really happened because all I wanted to do was live in the dream: the dream that I thought I had lost.
The truth was, we had some great times together and we had some horrible times together.
The reality was that my dream was nothing more than a dream. As long as I held on to the dream, I would not be able to move forward in my divorce recovery. Today, I try to look at the whole picture… the loss of my dream and the reality of what our relationship really was.
“Dear God, help me to let go of my dream. It was a beautiful dream but it is now no longer helpful to me. If I can open my heart to a new dream, I open a door to the happiness that you will soon bring to me.”