28 February 2013
A Loving Divorce
Going through a divorce is not easy. I know because I have been there. There are a lot of emotions, hurt, anger and pain. And so how is it possible to have a loving divorce? Weird question, right? First of all, I'll tell you, it's not easy. But it can be done. The key is prayer and forgiveness. Prayer has always been important to me. It took prayer to guide me to make my decisions. It took prayer to help me heal. And it took a lot of prayer to forgive.
As I talked to my friend, the analogy of a wound came to mind. In the beginning, the wound is fresh and painful. If you keep it clean, nurture it, and take care of it, it will slowly heal. Eventually, it will heal over and all that will be left is a small scar...to help you remember the good parts and learn from the past. If you treat the wound with bitterness, anger and hatred, it will keep opening and festering. A constant reminder of the bad hand you were dealt and the pain that you're going through - over and over again.
Forgiving one's self is the hardest of all. Growing up in a family where divorce was not in the vocabulary made it especially difficult. So forgiving myself for a failing marriage was the hardest, especially when I thought about my children, division of the family, and all that bad stuff. I am fortunate in that my ex-husband understood that we would forever be in each other's lives because of the children we have together. We tried hard to never speak badly about one another in front of the children or otherwise. We never allowed our kids to feel that they had to choose sides. We worked hard to be there together for their birthdays and family events. It was a lot of work, quite often very awkward, but in all things we thought first of our children. And as they grew older, we had less parenting to do together, and so our differences became less and less prevalent. Eventually, time healed the wounds and both of us moved on and remarried.
Our children have now grown into adults. My son was telling me the other day that he has so many friends who have divorced parents that can't stand to be in the same room with one another. I am blessed that things worked out as they did, but it's not random chance. Like I said, it takes a lot of work, an open heart and an ability to forgive. And it takes faith and prayer. None of us are perfect. Once I came to terms with this key fact, it became easier to forgive and move on. When we pray the Lord's prayer, we ask, "forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us." In other words, forgive us the way that we forgive others. I try very hard in all things not to judge someone. I leave that up to God. When it's time, He will be the one to judge. My job at this time, is to spread His love and light to others. This is my daily prayer.
This past October, we had the honor of sharing a very blessed moment together. My ex-husband and I walked our daughter down the aisle together as she approached the altar to marry her best friend and the love of her life. When we kissed her and gave her over to her handsome groom, we took our place in the pew as her loving parents - next to our respective spouses. Love is forever. Sometimes it changes shape and reinvents itself. Old wounds heal, and all that remains is a small scar to remember the good times, to learn from the difficult times, and to revel in the beauty of a life well-loved.