“According to Greek mythology,
humans were originally created with four arms,
four legs and a head with two faces. Fearing their power,
Zeus split them into two separate parts,
condemning them to spend their lives
in search of their other halves.”
– Plato, The Symposium
We are coming up on the 4th anniversary of what my little family calls “Bravery Day”. The day where three children decided to stand up for our family and tell the truth no matter what the cost and I, as their mother, had to make a decision that would affect every part of our lives from that point forward.
I was raised in the church. When I was younger, “Divorce” was the hot-button topic in churches. There were always whispers and gossip about people who had affairs or got divorced and how they were going against God. There are still people today, no matter the circumstance that triggered a couple getting divorced, that will treat a divorced person as if they are a lesser human being, someone who is tainted by sin and someone to be looked down upon. This is one reason why it was very difficult for me to give up on my marriage of 10 years and the family we had created. I felt like I was doing something wrong, even though I knew at that point, it was my only option. Little did I know that divorce should be a last resort, not because of what people thought, but because of how it affects someone going through it.
Malachi 3:16 says that “God hates divorce.” I now believe that is completely true. Not because it is something “Christians” should look down upon, but because it wrecks the people going through it and the God I believe in would not want anyone to hurt this badly. When people marry, the “two become one flesh” in the eyes of their God, their family and friends. They live their lives together as one – and then when divorce happens – it rips that consecrated union back into two again. Neither of the people involved get everything back the way it was when they entered into that union. Nothing is ever the same. It HURTS; physically, spiritually, emotionally, financially . . . it just plain SUCKS. Four years later, some of the wounds caused by my divorce have not completely healed. They may never heal completely.
The first couple of years after I made that big decision were filled with every emotion possible. Never before (and I hope never again) have I felt so many warring emotions at one time. I would go from desperately sad to so angry, I wanted to hurt someone. I am not an angry person – but I became one during those transitional years. There were nights that I honestly felt like my insides had been ripped apart, and my emotions were bleeding all over the floor and no amount of medicine, hugs, therapy, or rocky road ice cream could make the pain stop. There were those friends and family members who wanted to help, but didn’t know how. They would tell me we were better off, that I needed to pick myself up and move on, that things would be better now . . . but that isn’t what I wanted, or needed to hear. I needed to mourn the loss of every single part of my life. Nothing would ever be the same again.
Luckily, there were a few friends who didn’t know what to say, so they didn’t say anything. They were just THERE. They listened. They got me tissues when I couldn’t stop crying, and fed me and my kids when I could barely get out of bed. They felt angry and sad and scared with me, but they didn’t try to tell me when it would get better or when I needed to “get over it”. If it were not for those friends, I know that I wouldn’t be here today writing this post.
It is sad that I know so many people my age who have gone through something like this, or are going through it now. I see friends or family members, and I recognize the look on their faces, the way that they walk, and the mixture of sadness and shame in their eyes. If you are one of those people right now, I want to tell you something:
- No matter what caused you to be in this situation – I am sorry you are going through it. I know that it hurts, probably worse than you ever imagined it could.
- Seek out those friends and family members that you know will love you no matter what and tell them you just need them to listen and to love you.
- No one else needs to try and fix it – because no one can.
- No one but you can determine how long it will take to heal.
- No one but you can determine when or even if you’ll ever be ready to try again with someone new.
- Take time to remember and learn from the experience.
- Just keep putting one foot in front of the other; ask for help when you need it and hide under the covers and cry when you need it.
- There may be times when you use food, wine, or other vices to attempt to drown your sorrows and that is okay. Just don’t make it a habit because taking away the ache for a few hours will not heal the source of that pain any faster.
- Gather your support system and don’t pay attention to those who think they know better than you. You just get through it however you can.
“There is nothing that can take the pain away.
But eventually, you will find a way to live with it.
There will be nightmares.
And everyday when you wake up, it will be the first thing you think about.
Until one day, it’s the second.”
And one day you look back, realize it is four years later and the sun is still coming up in the morning and setting at night and you’re finally able to appreciate the beauty of it again.