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Sunday, May 26, 2013

Divorce and the Graduate

What’s the Worst Thing About Divorce?

Somebody actually asked me that question one time.  Do you want to guess what my answer was?  I simply said, “Everything.”   I was reminded of that the other night, after having attended the graduation of one of my step-children.  Being the last child to graduate, there was an awareness of the end of an era, the end of court ordered schedule and financial negotiations.  At yet, in the attending, there was the awareness of so many opportunities missed as time was spent with the other parent, and the awkwardness that arises as each seeks to find a niche for themselves without intruding or being intruded upon by the other parent.  Even something as simple and significant as a high school graduation is impacted by the complications and emotional upheavals of divorce and court battles.  And impacted even more than a decade since the divorce of her parents.  And there will be difficult things to handle for many, many years to come.  You remember the fairy tales of childhood, where the prince and the girl meet, marry and live happily ever after?  That is such an artificial myth, isn't it?  But people who believe you go to court and get the divorce, then life happily divorced ever after are also believing an untrue myth.  Those who believe divorce is some easy solution, or that you go to court and get the decree and then it is over, are sadly mistaken.  Tragically mistaken.  Irreversibly mistaken. 

Having said that, though, I do want to acknowledge that there are many who have suffered terrible abuses in their marriages:  physical, emotional, verbal or sexual abuse.  For those people, divorce does set up opportunity to at least minimize some of those things.  But even then, a spouse who treated you poorly will become an ex-spouse who treats you even more poorly, just with less opportunity and from a greater distance.  Many of us can relate to that truth.  The complications of divorce are so many and so sad.  In my books, there are special sections that recognize this fact, that Christmas, your birthday, or the child’s graduation are all impacted and complicated for many years to come by the fact of divorce.  At the very least, these events bring bittersweet moments in which memories of past celebrations or emotions of lost opportunities bubble to the surface.  And, of course, there are those of us who experience the garbage of individuals intentionally seeking to make things difficult or to be intrusive. 

Today, I would like to simply raise a thought with you in regard to this.  Divorce cuts a wide swath of devastation and loss in our lives, and the scars upon our hearts can take a long time to heal over.  Yet it is a kind of devastation that is very difficult for others to understand, even if you try to explain it to them, it remains beyond comprehension.  (Which, by the way, is why my little book is helpful for people going through divorce, it speaks from within the shared experience as it points a way for connecting with God.)  AND YET…

And yet, everybody has things in their life that are hard.  Being divorced, it is easy to think that life could be so much easier if you didn't have to deal with all the resulting garbage.  And it would be nice not to have to deal with all that.  But even if you didn't deal with that, there would still be junk.  Finances could still be tight.  Your job could still be stressful.  Your child could still be having problems at school.  It is an artificial unreality that we create when we allow ourselves to be so bogged down with the extremely frustrating hassles of divorced life that we begin to believe it would be so much rosier if it hadn't happened.  In some ways that is true, but those other roses have thorns, too.  If you are struggling, it might be wise to recall that.  Just thought I’d pass it along. 

TL:dr  Divorced life is difficult and complicated….but life without divorce is, too.

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