FB conversion pixel

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

The Destruction in Moore reminds me of divorce because...

Can You Believe the Devastation?

I grew up in the Midwest.  I have heard lots of tornado warning sirens through the years.  I have seen the aftermath of tornadoes up close.  But I have never actually seen a tornado, except one in the sky a few miles off, that hadn't quite touched down yet and was heading elsewhere.  One of the daughters told a story about a time she was at school in North Carolina under a tornado watch, and they were going around telling everybody they had to go to the basement.  She looked out the window and replied, “I’m not going to the basement yet.  This is the time back home when we go outside to see if we can see any forming.”  And she is right.  I remember several times walking the sidewalk out front with her searching the skies to see if we could locate any possible tornado clouds.  But we never did, except the one I mentioned above.  And that is just as well, actually…they are not something one really wants to see up close…not like those folks in Oklahoma this week.  I do think it would be exciting to be a storm chaser/spotter, though.  Maybe someday.

Our hearts surely go out to those folks picking up the pieces of their lives.  I have seen first hand what it looks like right afterwards, and have helped gather pieces of people’s lives.  The folks in Moore have their work cut out for them.  And from the interviews I have heard, have a great attitude that will help them through; and they seem so appreciative of any help that is offered, as I’m sure many of us will. 

Every time I see the destruction of a tornado, it also makes me think of divorce.  I am struck by the parallels between the visible devastation of a tornado and the invisible devastation of a divorce.  All those people displaced from their homes…by a tornado or by the papers filed at court.  As people emerge from the tornado shelters, they look around and feel like their lives have just been shattered, just as many do who walk out of court with a divorce decree in hand.  As I look at the tornado’s path, I see all those memories, mementos and possessions scattered far and wide, many never to be recovered.  Possessions and mementos are lost in divorce, as well, sometimes in the possession of the ex, sometimes lost in the upheaval of hurried packing, sometimes destroyed by an angry spouse.  The people in Moore are being asked what they will do, where they will go, whether they will rebuild there in Moore.  The same questions every divorced person asks inside.  The same decisions have to be made, albeit without the help of insurance coverage or disaster relief assistance.  Most of the people interviewed in Oklahoma indicated they would rebuild their homes, start again.  But it will never be the same when rebuilt.  The doorpost that has the children’s height marked on it won’t be in the new home, the old familiar walls are gone forever.  After a divorce, one has to start rebuilding as well, rebuilding a life, maybe a career, probably rebuilding their ability to trust, definitely rebuilding a future.   And many things are lost forever, never to be the same again.  People will gather round to support and help the tornado victims in Moore.  Sometimes people do the same for victims of divorce, but not often enough.  I was very blessed with caring people during my rebuilding process, but many go through that pain all alone.

If you have been divorced, I am telling you nothing new.  If you have not, I invite you to view the pictures of Oklahoma with a double perspective.  See the people and destruction there on the ground, but then also recognize that similar destruction has come to the one you know who is divorcing or divorced.  As your heart feels with sadness for the loss the tornado victims have suffered, and you experience compassion as you seek to find a way to help, let some of that sadness spill over to those whose marriages have died, and your compassion cause you to consider that they, too, might need your encouragement and help. 

Would I rather have gone through a tornado or a divorce?  I’m not sure, especially now that I am years down the road in a new marriage I find very fulfilling.  But if I was in a situation where I had a choice, I wonder if I might not have chosen to experience a tornado over a divorce.  Because during my divorce I recall saying to a friend as I was sorting out household possessions, “It’s just stuff.  What really matters most to me has already been destroyed.”  And yet, as my new marriage proves, just as those folks in Moore will rebuild and move on, so it is possible after a divorce to rebuild a meaningful life and move on into something good.  But both require a lot of faith and a lot of work.

TL:dr  There are significant parallels between the destruction of a tornado and the destruction of a divorce.

No comments:

Post a Comment