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Sunday, September 27, 2015

Divorce, Albert Einstein and Stupidity


In a recent day’s reading out of the little devotional book “Our Daily Bread,” there was a quote attributed to Albert Einstein that said, 

          “Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity,                                and I am not sure about the former.”

I must admit, I am rather taken by that thought.  I have done plenty of stupid things in my life and have observed others doing pretty stupid things as well.  In addition,  how often have you observed arguments between individuals and just thought how stupid it was to be arguing about whatever it was?  

The classic example, of course, is the children who argue over who rides shotgun and who is crossing the invisible boundary line in the back seat.  But alas and alack, it isn’t only children who act stupidly.  Personally, I might be wrong, but I categorize all the hooplah about the “Blood Moon” and the end of the world talk as an example of stupid (with the exception of course of those who found a way to convince people to buy their materials on the topic and made a fortune from it)!  

I always think the most important verse about the second coming is found in the words of Jesus in Acts 1:7.  In regards to the timing of the end of the world, Jesus says, in my paraphrase:  “It isn’t any of your business.”

Everything else we reflect on should be guided by that simple instruction.l  

Do stupidity and divorce have anything to do with one another?  Sure, lots of times.  Like people who are 50 and divorce their life partner to run off with somebody in their 20’s in the hopes of being young again.  Or individuals who divorce not because of a truly tragic marriage, but simply because they think the grass is greener next door.  Sometimes people get divorced because they don’t appreciate what kind of person their partner really is, and instead choose only to focus on their shortcomings and ignore the strengths that they loved in the first place.  And individuals who throw away decades of investment into a marriage relationship, thinking that it won’t make any difference in their lives, but instead find themselves starting from scratch again in so many ways.  

However, I think the place to find the most stupidity is during the divorce process itself and the aftermath.  Stupidity is present when couples go to the mat fighting over who gets a toaster, or eking out revenge in nasty little ways, such as throwing possessions out into the street.  

I have known individuals who have gotten their divorce, and then suddenly turned into a completely different person, tossing aside the values they held for a lifetime and living a life of reckless abandon.  That reckless abandon usually catches up to them pretty quickly!  

There are others who use the aftermath of the divorce to declare their own personal war - and become obsessed with finding ways to make the life of their ex miserable -  and like the Japanese soldiers discovered in the Pacific Islands - fighting a war that had already ended years before. 

The stupidest thing, in my opinion, is when someone enters into another relationship (or sometimes even another marriage) before the ink has even dried on the divorce decree.  No time for healing, no time for reflection to gain stability or perspective, just jumping into a need based relationship to avoid being alone.  Granted, sometimes those marriages work out, but the successful ones in those circumstances are few and far between.

Divorce is hard enough with adding additional stupidity to it…believe me, there is enough stupidity in it already!  

If you are freshly divorced or in the process, I encourage you to realize you are at risk of making stupid choices because of the emotional upheaval you are in.  Making the time to get some wise advice from Godly people  - who can provide an objective perspective - can save you a ton of heartache down the road.   

Don’t let Einstein’s quote apply to the choices you make during and after your divorce!

By the way, if those folks are right and the world does end, you can send me an email saying you told me so…but you’ll have to use my new heavenly address, though!

Sunday, September 13, 2015



Probably the phrase that best describes the experience of divorce would be that it feels like your whole world is falling apart and you have no control over it at all.  

So many things are at risk:  your future, your finances, your friendships, your living space…the list is very long.  

With so much at risk, though, one discovers an important fact that so many of us take for granted when things are going well in our lives.  

I cannot begin to describe the value of the various relationships of my life to offer encouragement, comfort and support during that terribly trying time.  Family members offered refuge, love, a listening ear, and even financial assistance  - without which I would have had a much harder time.  Good friends encouraged me and stood with me, helping me to see God’s hand at work even in those difficult times.  Knowing that fellow Christians were praying for me helped me keep my focus and priorities.  In it all, I discovered the people I could count on in my time of need, and those, as the saying goes, who were fair weather friends.  The incredible thing is that I ended up amazed at how many great people God had placed in my life.  Family members offered support time and time again.  My mailbox filled with greeting cards of encouragement.  Friends invited me to spent time with them in various venues, such as playing games or eating out together.  Sometimes, when it was just what I needed, it was the willingness of these friends allowing me simply to unload my heavy heart over the phone. 

As my world fell apart - I learned through those experiences that no matter what else was going on that I was truly wealthy.  

I had a great treasure in the form of wonderful family and friends, people who truly cared about me and my children.  

I don’t suppose they realize how it meant to me for even the simplest things that helped me keep going on.   I can never fully repay these friends for what they did for me.  I can only hope I can be as good a friend and support for somebody else.  I guess that is part of the point in writing the Finding God books in the first place, to pass on some of the encouragement I received when I so desperately needed it.  It is rewarding for me that every now and then I hear back from folks telling me that the books have helped them.

Whatever your situation in life, I encourage you to realize the treasure you have in the friends and family members who care for you, however few or many they may be.  If you are in a time where you need that love and support, don’t be afraid to reach out and ask, because you will learn that most of them do want to help you, but simply don’t know how.  Odds are God has placed those people into your lives for a purpose, much as the biblical Queen Esther found that she was in the palace “for such a time as this.”  God provides for His people, but never forget He often works through the people He brings into your life.  If you get to feeling guilty about always seeming to be on the receiving end, remember you can always “pay it forward” as the saying goes, to someone you will know in need, at a future date.

For those of you who served as my treasures 17 years ago, thank you once again.  I don’t know what I would have done without you.  Your support and help has never been forgotten. 

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Life's Play Book

It may just be me, but have you ever watched a good movie or television show involving relationships, and find yourself amazed at how the individuals know exactly what to say and how to say it to make everything work out before the end of the show?  Sometimes I wish I had a team of writers who would know what is going to happen in my life and my relationships and could simply hand me a script with all the right things to say and do to make all my relationships perfect so that everything is happily ever after. 

Real life, though…

Well, real life is messy.  Personal relationships do not follow a script.  People don’t always respond in the ways we might think they are supposed to, and odds are, we don’t always either!  Plans go awry.  People change and can be unpredictable.  Disappointments come.  Sometimes things just don’t work out.  And one of the results is divorce.

That is also why no parenting or marriage book is the last word…because children and spouses don’t always follow a script as easily as the books sometimes imply.  It is better to see them as resources filled with good ideas to try and to adapt as you develop your own personal relationships.  Some ideas will fit and work, some will be dismally useless in your situation.

I see this mentality elsewhere in our society.  I see lots of people, mainly young people, who love to play computer and other video games…I’m sure you know the names of a multitude of them.  What I have noticed is that, very often when they come to a part that is complicated that they cannot figure out, they resort to surfing the internet to find something called “cheat codes” that tells them how to jump ahead without having to figure it out or struggle through it on their own.   People just want answers to the hard challenges we face in life, and we want somebody to just give them to us.  “Give me a script.  Let me look up the codes.  It is all just too complicated!”

The truth is, life is rarely what we anticipate it is going to be.  Becoming an adult is far different from the imaginations of childhood.  Raising children doesn’t always end up with the results we hope for.  Career tracks sometimes get stalled.  Marriages fall apart.  But let us not forget also, that some things turn out much better than expected.  Whether things go well or poorly is not the point, rather, it is that the twists and turns of life rarely follow the scripts we write, and there aren’t often simple codes we can automatically plug in and make everything work.

I have been in plenty of situations that have left me confused or uncertain, and had many times it would have been nice to have a play book I could refer to that would lay out all the options with the best choice highlighted and underlined.  Instead, like everybody else, I have to make the best choices I can with the knowledge that I have, and sometimes those choices might even be mistakes.  Then, after I have made my choice, others will make their choices as well, not following a clear script either, and sometimes that all gets messy and jumbled up.  This is why forgiveness and understanding are so important.  It is also why we need second chances sometimes.  

Let me add though, that there is a script, and overall script that is the plan of God, and a “code book” we can turn to for some overall guidance in life.  

You see, God is always moving things into our lives and working in ways we can’t always see in our limited understanding.  Unlike the actors who have the entire detailed script in hand, with all the props and staging neatly described, we have the outline, and know the end story.  The chapters that make up our lives, we experience much like the individual who watches the move…one scene at a time.  The scriptures provide some structure within which we can operate best if we take the time to search them and follow the directions provided.  

Most of the time, though, we simply must trust the One who is the stage designer and director, to guide us through life’s winding pathways to the ultimate outcome of eternity with Him.