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Sunday, December 8, 2013

Wisdom for the Injured...and Refusing to Settle for Something Less

Happiness, Holidays and Healing.

I had to stop with three, otherwise I would have a 4-H sort of thing going, and that would just raise all sorts of copyright issues!  And, just to set the record straight, I DO like When Harry Met Sally, but I don’t know that I would really rank it as my favorite…primarily because I’m not a “favorite” sort of person, I like all sorts of things.  Although, would have to say, there aren’t many Meg Ryan shows I don’t enjoy…

Now, back to the topic at hand…the 3 H’s above.  The holiday season, for those who are not married, often creates a sense of unhappiness in the midst of everybody else’s “happiest time of the year.”  Seeing families and couples in the midst of holiday preparation and celebration can accentuate for single people that they don’t have that special someone around in their lives.  A divorced person adds to it that awareness that, in the not so distant past, they DID have such a person around, who is now gone.  The same is true for a widowed person.   I think the hardest of all are those who experience the reality that the holiday season have a high rate of divorce applications surrounding it, as if this holiday was the last hurrah.  So, instead of happiness, loneliness, sorrow, uncertainty and pain might be the experience.  Which is the harsh reality of our world anyway, that there are always hard things as well as joyful things, and we have to learn to handle both.

Because of these hard things, many people, especially out of loneliness, start intensely seeking someone to marry or at least to be with.  Perhaps you have seen, as I have, individuals who divorce, shortly after getting into another relationship that ends up being very shortlived and generally not very healthy.  Perhaps they get together out of the loneliness, or a neediness to be with someone, or even just a physical attraction and desire.  Sometimes I think there are some who seek that individual believing that if they can just get with the right person, everything will be okay, that, “I will be okay.  I won’t hurt anymore.  I won’t be lonely anymore.  I will be complete.”  Holiday loneliness can drive such an urgency.  But the truth is, all too often, these kind of relationships do not solve problems and issues, instead they exacerbate the problems and issues that are there, or maybe even create more of them!

Today, I just want to encourage my readers to be wise.  How much better it is to experience some inner healing before trying to start into another relationship.  Remember that young surfer who was attacked by a shark and lost a limb?  She didn’t get back on the surfboard that day.  She did get back on eventually, but first she allowed time for her wounds to heal.  We see the same thing all the time in professional sports.  When a player is injured, they are taken off the field or court.  They generally don’t come back out during the game.  And maybe not for several games.  They get back into the game once the healing is complete.  Although the wounds of divorce and broken relationships are not physically visible, and the healing is harder to identify within, the wounding still needs time for healing before an individual “gets back into the game,” so to speak. 

Imagine a football team on the field of players who are all injured, some limping down the field, others having arms that can no longer move to throw or catch a ball, and others walking around dazed because of their concussions.  I suspect it would not be very hard to defeat that kind of a team, don’t you agree?  So, by analogy, doesn’t it make sense that if you are going to get into another relationship, it would be wisest to do so when you are in good condition, when your wounds have healed up, when you can bring a more healthy YOU into that relationship?

Some talk about how many years it takes to heal from divorce, sometimes tying it to the number of years married.  I have heard one year of healing for every four or five years of marriage.  But too often, people rush back into the field of relationships half healed, like the players of the team I described.  Some people may do that to try to prove that THEY aren’t the people who are somehow to blame for the marriage, that THEY are okay!  But to rush back too fast increases the odds of another relationship failure.  And the statisticians say that in second or third marriages, the odds are already way against us. 

The best holiday gift for those who have been relationship wounded, is the gift of healing. 

I like that the prophecies about Jesus mention the phrase (echoed by Wesley in his Christmas carol “Hark the Herald”) “risen with healing in his wings.”  Christmas is about healing, healing of sin, sorrow and the woes of earth.  I encourage you to allow Christmas to remind you to seek the healing from God that brings wholeness, rather than settling for something less.  How much better it is for two people who have experienced healing and restoration to join together in marriage than for two still limping in pain to try to start something fresh in their weakened state.  If you have a friend or family member who you believe is rushing into a new relationship too quickly, though they may not be willing to hear what you have to say, it is still a caring thing to encourage them to consider slowing down.  As I have heard said many times, “If it is truly love, it will still be love in a year from now, because love can wait.”

TL:dr  New relationships are best pursued when healing is complete, not from the state of loneliness or desperation.

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