Sunday, August 16, 2015
The Secret to Life
NEVER THE SAME
Now and again I visit with individuals whose lives are touched by divorce. Whether due to the end of their own marriages or their children or parents, they find they are impacted by divorce in some surprising and unexpected ways.
A recent conversation related to someone who had just experienced a family event - a reunion or Thanksgiving - the first after a divorce and the comment was that the event felt odd with the spouse missing, having always had them there in the past. It just didn’t “feel right.”
My response was something along the lines of, “That’s right, it isn’t the same. And it never will be again. Neither will Christmas or Thanksgiving or birthdays or Mother’s Day. That chapter is now over, never to be as it once was again.”
This is most especially true if there are children caught in the middle of the divorce. As the teenage child opens the Christmas present, there is not the spouse at your side with whom you can recall that morning when they were young and the wonder as they opened their presents from Santa…the shared memory is gone. Maybe your tradition was to celebrate two Thanksgivings, for instance, one with each set of grandparents. But now, you are no longer welcome at one of those homes. It can even be as simple as a recipe that you are never quite able to make as well as your ex did. It could be that the woman is now handling car maintenance issues she never had to deal with before, or the man has to balance the checkbook that his wife so long managed for them. I won’t keep illustrating, because if it is part of your life, you have plenty of illustrations yourself.
Over time, you adjust to the changes, and sometimes individuals are thrilled that the changes have come after hard years, but not without recognizing there is loss.
The story doesn’t end here however.
As I intimated above, after divorce a multitude of changes come that highlight the loss of someone’s involvement. However, with the loss also comes a plethora of opportunities.
Since things will never again be just as they once were, you have the opportunity to create what they are GOING to be, and since you are starting many things over in life on your own, you get to design them in fresh ways that are meaningful for you.
I encourage you to not let the grief of the loss so dominate your thinking that you miss the chance to make something special of what is left. You can choose which things to keep and what new ideas to add. Instead of an artificial Christmas tree you might cut a real one. Instead of grilling out for Father’s or Mother’s Day, you might use the day to try a new restaurant.
You get the idea.
The big secret is, nothing was going to be the same anyway, really.
Things are always changing. Life is elusive. We only have each moment.
The people of today may live elsewhere tomorrow. The toddler will one day be an adult with children of his own.
Life is always changing, and it is a foolish thing to spend our lives trying to recapture a past that is past, when the secret of life is learning how to embrace the today and tomorrow that are coming our way.
Whether due to a divorce or simply the course of life, embrace change as an opportunity God offers we can use to explore a new adventure in life.