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Sunday, February 17, 2019
Life After Divorce
Hello out there! It’s been a while since I have posted a piece. Sorry about that, I had hoped to get something out for you before Valentine’s Day, since that can be such a difficult time after a divorce.
If you are one who really struggled this year, you have my sympathy, BUT, you also have now passed a significant milestone in forward progress.
But I have been legitimately busy since I last posted. Today is the one month marker from the birth of a new grandchild! We got to see the baby shortly after her birth, and then again a few weeks later. At the same time, we were working diligently on a number of hectic activities at our church, including a special marriage building dinner for couples in celebration of Valentine’s Day. Out of that hectic context then, I am going to give you today’s thoughts.
I have shared in my books about the time a friend told me, as I struggled through my own divorce, that a divorcee she knew had told her that there is, “life after divorce.” That truth was very hard to see at the time, but as we spent time with our new little granddaughter, the reality of it was right in front of my eyes. (Well, right in my arms, actually!) And then once again as we were part of our special Valentine’s ministry at church, the truth was reinforced once again.
In our case, when Nola and I got married, we each brought children from our previous marriage into the relationship. Those of you who have had that experience know all the ups and downs, uncertainties and joys that come with such a merger. However, such a “merger” means that, for me, there are now more opportunities for grandchildren! And that new grandbaby reminds me that, difficult though divorce is, both for the one divorcing and for the children caught up in their parents’ divorce, on the other side of divorce, life goes on. There will continue to be family gatherings. Babies will be born. The various ups and downs, twists and turns that life naturally brings…marriages, funerals, job changes and moves…all will continue to be part of the natural cycle of life. Sure, a divorce leaves behind complicating factors such as working out holiday schedules in light of time children spend with your ex, or parent child relationships that can be strained due to a wide variety of factors, or even simply the impact of the financial drain that divorce brings with it.
But life goes on…there IS indeed life after divorce.
It can be easy for all the negative experiences and complications to drag you down, to absorb your attention and cause you to lose track of the good things that happen in life. But then a new baby is born (or whatever your event happens to be), and you are reminded that there are good things in life as well, good things that would never have come your way had there not been a divorce.
For me, that includes the reminder of Valentine’s Day. Our little dinner church celebration also included live piano music in the background. As our pianist cancelled at the last minute, a friend and I filled in. The music selections were the usual sappy romantic music. As I practiced and played the songs, I found myself remembering a time when those kind of songs brought tears of sadness, because of the broken relationship of my first marriage. But with this event, I found included were memories and tears of joy. A song from “The Phantom” reminded me of the time my new wife (of 15 years now), procured tickets for us to go see a live performance at an unusual theater for a delightful weekend away. Other songs reminded me that the dream of what being in love could be like is more than just a dream, it is something that can actually be experienced when you meet someone truly special who is truly committed to you.
Once again, it turns out there is, indeed, life after divorce. A fresh start. A new relationship can be different.
LIFE GOES ON!
Sure, the pain and scars of divorce carry forward and, to some degree, shape how we experience life afterwards. But there are plenty of other pains and scars that everyone carries with them from their past into their future. And there are things we learn, things we appreciate, that only have the impact they do because of the experiences that were so difficult at the time, such as divorce. A life after divorce that can be filled with lots of opportunities that would not have existed otherwise.
For me, that reminder comes in the form of a little, tiny baby girl who is one month old today. Your reminder may come some other way, but however you get there, especially during those dark and difficult days of life, never forget that life goes on, and as it does, there will be some wonderful experiences ahead!