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October 16th: Time and Perspective

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.”

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October 15th: The Journey

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.”

October 14th: Outcomes

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.”

October 13th: Relief

After months of fighting to save my marriage, I was surprised to find that when the end of our relationship finally arrived, I was relieved.

I felt a soothing calm over my entire body.

My mind slowed and relaxed.

It was no different then any physical struggle: I was worn by the constant battle… the constant expenditure of energy.

I still had my moments of sadness, of melancholy… that quiet longing for what I could no longer have… but the relief filled me with a new found strength and hope. I could now see that there was a release to this painful time in my life.

There was a sense of drive again… of wanting to move forward.

I began to conquer little things I had been neglecting for months during my emotional turmoil:

Washing clothes.

Paying bills.

Cleaning the house.

Getting the car tuned-up.

Each chore that had once seemed so overwhelming to me during my pain, now seemed like a small accomplishment.

And each small accomplishment, added to my relief and soon… I felt pleased with my progress and actually happy that I was moving on.

Relief soothed my soul and brought me peace as the door to my marriage finally closed.

“Dear God, thank you for bringing me relief from my pain. Thank you for walking with me through the pain I endured.”

October 12th: The Benefit of the Doubt

I spent many years married to my husband… close to twenty.

And I often gave him the “benefit of the doubt” when things seemed out of place to me.

When my husband was in recovery, I knew that I could usually count on his word… but… when he was active in his disease… I knew I couldn’t.

While our marriage was coming to an end, his behavior led me to believe that maybe he was using again.

I couldn’t put my finger on what I felt was wrong and so I gave him the benefit of the doubt.

I didn’t find out until much later that “what was wrong” was our relationship and why things seemed “out of place” was because he hadn’t yet told me that he wanted a divorce.

When I found out, I thought about all of the times I had given him the benefit of the doubt and I was really quite angry.

But then… I took some time and thought about it calmly.

Why had I continued to give him the benefit of the doubt when I felt in my gut that something was wrong?

Where were my boundaries in this situation? My voice?

It was up to me to decide how many times I was going to give someone the benefit of the doubt before I called them out on their behavior.

I realized that I still had some boundary work ahead of me in my future.

Today, when I look back on this time period, I realize that my husband was fearful to tell me the truth, fearful to end our marriage, afraid of my reaction, and the inevitable fall-out of a twenty year marriage coming to an end.

Could he have handled his end of things differently?

Yes.

Could I have handled my end of things differently?

Yes.

I know now that we both did our best with the skill set that we had at the time.

Today… I know that I must be reasonable when I give someone the “benefit of the doubt” and be willing to address an issue as needed and not just allow it to continue on in a limbo of denial.

“Dear God, help me to be strong. Help me to express myself calmly and logically to friends and family if I feel that they may be skirting a difficult issue.”

October 11th: Surrender

When a situation seems unbearable or unchangeable I find that it is best to practice acceptance.

During my divorce, there came a time when I realized that it was inevitable that there would no longer be a chance of reconciliation with my husband.

I knew then… that I had given my all, fought hard to save my marriage, but now was the time to accept and surrender.

My surrender did not imply failure.

My surrender was just that: accepting what I could not change and embracing the outcome that my Higher Power had chosen for me.

I could no longer protest it.

I could no longer fix it.

I could no longer fight it.

I needed to submit to it.

I knew that I would find peace, strength, and serenity once I stopped resisting and accepted my Higher Power’s spiritual path for me.

“Dear God, help me to see that nothing in your world is a mistake. That you have chosen my path and I have chosen to walk it.”

October 10th: Bad Behavior

Just the other day I was with someone who means very much to me.

I was so excited to see my friend, it had been nearly two months since we had a chance to be together.

Yet, when I was there at their home… I immediately felt on my guard and began to act out of character.

I was reacting to the times we hadn’t been able to be together.

The times my friend had planned to see me but then something came up and I had felt abandoned.

I began to believe that my friend did not value my love and friendship…

That they were only seeing me that evening out of  “convenience…”

And suddenly…

I was acting out… being hurtful in my remarks… trying to get my friend to react in any way and show me some type of emotion in regards to our friendship.

My friend said, “Who are you to come over to my house and say such things?” Which of course, only made the situation worse.

I was “acting out” and my friend was “reacting.”

I felt horrible that evening… the way I behaved… and I told my friend exactly that… which immediately stopped our silliness.

We were then able to go on and have a lovely evening together: I felt close and soothed by my friend’s presence.

Looking back, I see now that I could have easily said, “Can I talk to you a minute? I’m feeling hurt and I need you to comfort me. It makes me sad and I feel that you don’t value me when our plans often fall through or I don’t hear from you for long periods of time.”

And my friend could have easily responded with, “I’m sorry. You must know how I feel about you. You’re my friend. I would never purposely hurt your feelings. I value you in my life. I was really looking forward to seeing you tonight.”

How things might have been different if we had both just put ego aside and let our mutual love and friendship rule the moment.

Sometimes we let our ego and our emotions drive our bad behavior.

If we can just step back when we begin to react, and ask for what we need, we do both ourselves and our friends a kind service.

We allow the relationship to move forward with lovingkindness instead of resentment and fear.

“Dear God, help me to love my friends even in my weakest moment. Help me to love my friends even in their weakest moment.”