Beliefnet
How Great Thou Part

A friend and I chat. It’s a familiar topic that keeps rearing its ugly head during divorce.

It seems yet another person is capable of opening their mouth to voice their particular thoughts on divorce.

Now, I can’t place more emphasis on the fact that these misguided people simply have no clue what divorce really is. I can’t imagine if they truly did, that they would believe extolling their personal judgements on an already suffering and weakened human being would be the right thing to do.

Let me repeat that.

If you are the family member or friend of someone who is getting a divorce – know that they are presently weak and suffering.

Of course, I do not agree with black and white or blanket statements. There are exceptions to this; however, for the most part, remember that divorce is a death. It is important to recognize that grief accompanies divorce.

Do not be foolish enough to believe that just because a person ultimately surrendered and began divorce proceedings that they actually chose divorce. Instead, understand that they acquiesced to it.

I was shocked at an individuals insensitivity to a friend’s divorce. “She chose this,” the person said to me as I encouraged empathy and compassion.

My response?

“I begged for God to ease my mother’s suffering and then I screamed in grief the moment that he did,” I say.

It is arrogance to have a big mouth and big opinions in divorce. It could almost be referred to as bullying and not just a lack of kindness.

I remember one day, a very outspoken person looked at me (or should I say looked down on me) and said dismissively, “Well, if I wanted a divorce, I would have just gotten one.”

This was a mean-spirited reference to my elongated divorce.

At the time, this sent me to the ladies room. I grabbed a tissue and gazed in the mirror fighting back tears. This woman did not matter to me. Nor did I care if she liked me nor what she thought of me. None of this mattered because my wound was gaping and she scraped it.

It didn’t matter who caused the pain. It was just all pain.

I made a decision that night. I did not respond to her. I would not make myself look down to look up at her.

Instead, I just romanced my internal response. What I would have liked to have said to her if I wanted to give her the satisfaction.

“How naive of you. You try divorcing someone that doesn’t want to divorce you.”
or
“Of course, you would because you are controlling so I am sure that you would be in control of your divorce.”

Maybe there should just be a few canned responses for these arrogant ‘know it alls.’

1. “Unhappy people give the best advice! Do you have any more?

2. “I’m sorry, I meant unhappy people who don’t feel very good about themselves. Thanks for the great advice!”

3. “I love getting advice from a marriage and divorce expert!”

4. “I had no idea that you were doing life so well! Tell me more!”

5. “Good to know you don’t fear heights. I would be afraid to be up on that high horse of yours!”

6. “You must forget all the times you complained about your marriage! Don’t worry memory loss is normal at your age.”

7. “It must be exhausting needing to be in control all the time! So sorry you can’t control my life, too!”

8. “I know divorce is scary. Don’t worry it’s not a disease even if your marriage is a mess!”

Well, you get the idea. While your divorce wound is gaping – avoid these people. When it starts to heal – feel sorry for them.
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I sit with my marriage counselor. I like to call him “Dr. Phil” because he has that same direct and likable quality.

“They used to call me ‘The Mayor of Great Falls,” I say.

“I miss that. I enjoyed that big world. I took pride in being there for people. In solving problems and leading things,” I say. “I loved everybody. I honestly could count on two hands the people I did not like. You could now say that I am quite the opposite. I don’t really want to be close to many people.”

“Colleen, you make this sound as if it’s a bad thing,” he says.

“It feels like a bad thing,” I respond.

“Did it ever occur to you that the opposite is true? That perhaps the bad thing was rescuing and pleasing the entire world?” he asks.

“I never really thought of it that way,” I say. “It just feels like losing people to me. I want my world to be smaller. I guess I am still not 100% comfortable shedding the ‘mayor’ in me.

I think for a moment.

It really isn’t the rescuer thing.

I am relieved to have shed that. And I really don’t care about a few people who didn’t have enough compassion or respect to allow me the dignity of navigating substantial loss. In fact, there is now an irony I find in that. After all, it was my overly compassionate personality that led me towards being a ‘mayor.’

I think that I miss being a leader.

Of course, once a leader always a leader. I’m just more of a quiet leader at present rather than the loud one of yesterday.

I know my counselor is correct. What initially drove me, ultimately exhausted me. I rarely said no and I left no problem unsolved.

Another irony since my own problem (my marriage) turned out to be the one problem which evaded me.

I can let go of feeling uncomfortable about my big decision for a small world.

I am no longer confused by it. I always say, “that I never needed to be liked – I enjoyed being liked.” There’s a difference. A leader does not need to be liked. A leader steps forward, interjects and will not stand back in the face of right and wrong. That is not someone who needs to be liked.

I guess that’s why it was confusing to me that I couldn’t entirely embrace my increasing need for solitude.

Why did I care? Why did I wrestle with it being counterintuitive to who I had been my whole life?”

After an hour with “Dr. Phil,” I have my answer.

I don’t miss being a rescuer. I miss being a leader.

I miss being a ‘mayor.’

And one day, when I am feeling loud again, I might run for a new office.

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10 powerful getting over you and moving on songs…

A few big artists mixed in with some to watch:

1. Chris Young – Think Of You (Duet With Cassadee Pope)

2. Tucker Beathard – Rock On

3. Mo Pitney – Clean Up On Aisle Five

4. Kelsea Ballerini – Peter Pan

5. Lindsay Ell – By The Way

6. Mickey Guyton – Better Than You Left Me

7. Ryan Robinette – Let Me Start

8. Jana Kramer – I Got the Boy

9. Jesse James – I Look So Good (Without You)

10. Tim McGraw – Angry All The Time

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Things are getting better.

I no longer remember what it is like to feel the pain of being attached to two. Instead, I am remembering the joy of being just one.

No, it is not as contradictory as it sounds.

I am not encouraging a selfishness or a lack of longing to one day know a partnership again.

I am just feeling the security, the predictability of regaining myself.

What does that mean?

It means that I no longer experience the pain of someone taking my life in a different direction without my permission or control. It means I can’t be hurt.

The more I find myself, I question…

Why did I simultaneously fall out of love with my husband and with myself?

It is somewhat of a riddle or one of those complex math problems.

“Married woman is divorcing and losing the love of one husband. At the same time, she loses the love of herself. How much love does the soon to be divorced woman have?”

You get the idea.

Why does losing the love of one person, make us feel like we don’t really love or like ourselves?

Sure, it ends up being temporary, but while you are experiencing a divorce it feels like a LONG temporary.

The answer to this math problem?

I think that we hate our spouse for letting us down, but we also hate ourselves for allowing the situation. For staying, for putting up with things, for all of it. So we attach some of the bad to us even if we weren’t the party who did the hurting. Even if we were the party who tried to save and fix the relationship.

So who do you really fall out of love with in divorce?

Initially, ourselves. Oh, and that person that didn’t really deserve us.

The good news?

The math word problem eventually comes out in our favor.

“Divorced woman loses the love of one husband. At the same time, she gains the love of herself. How much love does the divorced woman have?”

The answer? MORE!

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Sometimes lately, I sit next to people, my people, the ones that used to know me. The ones I feel most comfortable around.

Only there is an unspoken vibe.

They stayed with me through the worst of it, they ushered me along and listened (Boy did they listen so much longer than they should have), then they saw me smile again. They were happy to see that smile and honestly so was I.

It was SO familiar.

It was as familiar as the unfamiliar ‘unhappy’ had become.

I reveled in it. The reemergence of the new ‘old’ me.

Only it didn’t take long before I realized there would be a period of adjustment for me and for them.

I knew this truth because I had taken this ride with one of my best friends from high school following her divorce. I was so happy when she divorced. I was so ready to greet the new ‘old’ her. It was a surprise to realize that wouldn’t happen right away.

Yes, down deep she was still the same friend, but she had evolved in her journey. She wasn’t quite who she had been and nor, was she someone else.

I had a decision to make.

Did I want to allow her the changes in her life and keep her in mine? Or did I want to continue to need her to fit into my life in the same way that she used to?

I won’t lie. At first, I wanted the old fit. It was the most comfortable.

People don’t like change and I am no exception.

And then, I began to realize that although she wasn’t exactly the same friend I had spent so many wonderful times with – she was nonetheless my friend.

She was the new ‘old’ her. I still wasn’t completely comfortable with the changes, but I wasn’t comfortable without her. With time and with healing, she eventually became the girl she had always been.

I know there is an unspoken vibe for some that know me.

I know that at this moment there is a new ‘old’ me.

I also know that soon, with just a little more time and healing – there will no longer be new and old – I will just be me.

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There has always been a significant difference between spiritual and ritualistic Catholics. The gap; however, is widening. In large part, due to the excellent shepherding example of Pope Francis.

Pope Francis continues to dispel the notion of the so-called ‘Ritualistic’ Catholic, in favor of the ‘Spiritual’ Catholic.

The difference?

A ritualistic Catholic may go to church each Sunday, perhaps even more. They may live a life dedicated to their faith, but it is one of periodic worship, rule following, and judgement. It is spent more on a life of words than a life of continual Christian actions.

It is conditional Catholicism.

A spiritual Catholic, on the other hand, continues the walk outside the four walls of Sunday or daily mass. They are Catholic in action and not just attendance. They are faithful to Catholicism and the doctrines, but they understand that Christianity is tolerance, understanding, kindness, and love. It is not judgement. They live their lives to make a difference, to help others and empathize with others. They do not lose sight of the fact that all hardships, their own and those endured by others are each individual’s path in God’s unique plan.

It is unconditional Catholicism.

Pope Francis may not use these exact monikers, but he repeatedly urges today’s Catholics to continue their spiritual evolution and treat all people as Jesus did. He fosters religion and not rules. He promotes understanding and not judgement. He urges faith and not false motives. He asks for Christian unity rather than divide.

He reminds all Catholics what being Catholic means.

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There are great benefits to being happy. It allows one to fully engage in the present and contribute well to the world.

Happiness casts a living shield and makes it difficult for the negative aspects of life to stick. It is a given that life will present unhappiness. It cannot be avoided. However, the following five benefits provide inspiration as to why addressing and moving past difficult times is essential.

Generosity – It is easy to be generous of heart while experiencing happiness. A person may smile more, be more positive, support others and give back in ways that are difficult when unhappy.

Resilience – Happiness supports resilience. A person won’t necessarily let little things bother them while feeling the strength of happiness. They may usher easily away from a negative experience or disregard a petty comment.

Thoughtfulness – It’s pretty difficult to be thoughtful of other people’s needs and wants when pre-occupied with stress and sadness. Happiness opens the gates of selflessness and promotes the time to think of others.

Cooperation – A person who is unhappy may not only become difficult, but they may feel out of control. Conversely, a happy person feels empowered and is likely to feel less threatened by cooperating and going with the flow or group consensus.

Kindness – A happy person is a person who feels good enough about themselves and their current situation to be kind to others. It takes strength and a sense of self-esteem to not only appreciate others for who they are but to respectfully allow them to be who they are.

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The truth? A lot of people stay in unhappy marriages. They convince themselves that the grass isn’t greener. That they’re too old to start over. That everyone has faults and baggage just different ones so a new person will be more of the same or even worse!

It’s hard for people to be honest with themselves. Marriage is a lifetime commitment to the people who believe the vows that they made. It is also a very scary union to leave.

However, there are good reasons to leave an unhappy relationship.

Repeating the Past – There are plenty of marriages where one or two of the spouses simply attracted themselves to familiar personalities and repeated mistakes of the past. The same will more than likely happen to children that grow up with parents that lack awareness to stop a negative cycle of their own past.

Setting a Better Example – All children deserve to see the best example of a relationship as possible. One that is built upon love, respect, forgiveness, tolerance, teamwork and good communication. This should be the biggest priority a parent should have.

Making Sure Children Know Their Real Parent – An unhappy marriage changes people. They may become bitter, distant, resentful, lack joy, etc. Children deserve to spend their life with the best possible version of their mother and father. They should have the luxury of meeting the happy parent that brought them into the world.

Preventing Even More Damamge – A prolonged unhappy marriage can bring significant harm to a child. It can stress them, make them anxious, worry them and more. A marriage may be unhappy only a child should not.

Illustrating a Better Example of Love – It’s proven that children do not duplicate the love they felt from each of their parents when they pick a life partner. They model the relationship that they saw between two parents. It is better to see two happy, loving parents apart from one another than to see two parents mistreating one another.

To Grow as a Person – A fair amount of people can live in denial about their situations and the growth it would require to exit them. Life should be a continual journey of emotional and spiritual health and an unhappy marriage keep a person stagnant in other areas of their lives.

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I just bought a new car. My own car. The first car I have bought by myself since college. You know what I mean, no longer as a couple car.

Imagine my surprise when a radio computer package I signed up for suggested I name my new car AND load pictures of my new car.

My old car now that car deserved a name. It got me four years past what it should have. Isn’t that the kinda car you name? An old one? A loyal one?

And since it’s an old one don’t you give it an old person’s name? Like…

Bessy
Bert
Bertha
Fred

I didn’t name any of my previous cars only after I reflect on it, I think I should have.

There was the ‘I just graduated college and got my first car’ CAR.
There was the “I am finally making good money going to buy what I want kinda car’ CAR.
There was the “I am having a baby and need a safe car kinda car’ CAR.
There was the “I am having another baby and need a bigger car kinda car’ CAR.
There was the “I am over the van and re-emerging as an individual kinda car’ CAR.

And now there is the “I am over him and moving on kinda car’ CAR.

It turns out that AAA did a survey of 10,000 car owners and how they named their cars:

Based on vehicle registration number
Based on the car’s personality
Based on the make and model of the car
Based on the color of the car
In honor of a romantic partner or spouse or a celebrity or child

Hhmmm, I wonder if anyone ever names a car in honor of being emancipated from a romantic partner? You know,

Splitsville
Dump
Conscious (Uncoupling)
Freedom
Liberated

You get my drift.

Funny, I suddenly feel inspired…to name my new car.

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My friend just filed for divorce. She said she wanted to march in there with grace, you know…head held high, composure in check, tears tucked safely behind the dam.

Didn’t happen.

The dam opened, tears gushed through and grace turned into a ‘puddle.’

I remember many years ago when I first decided to get a divorce. No, not this recent three-year excursion. I actually attempted to leave before this. I chose an attorney and made an appointment. I was also ‘grace determined.’ After all, I was strong. I had made this appointment to begin with, right?

Nope. The high-powered attorney walked into the room, asked me the first question and you guessed it. The first answer was accompanied by an ’emotional flood.’ Crying is acceptable in a divorce attorney’s office, correct? I mean doesn’t it kinda ‘go with the territory?’

And there does seem to be a significant Kleenex investment office-wide – Someone’s gotta use em.

So I help myself. I snatch the white tissue to drain the flood and muffle my emotion.

“I see women like you all the time,” says the attorney as she shakes her head at me. “What are you women thinking allowing yourselves to become so vulnerable, giving up jobs to stay home, etc.”

You think this shock would absorb some of my tears, but no matter they arrogantly continue to fall from my eyes.

“I know,” I respond. “I’ve put myself in a horrible position.”

“Look,” she says. “I see a lot of women who are worse. At least you are confident!”

Confident???? I mutter internally to myself. She actually thinks I am confident??!!

I make my way to my car still bewildered that the graceless –

emotional artifact-stuffed –
to the brim with sniffling Kleenex –
‘woman-girl’ before her –
is somehow still identifiable as confident?!

I attempt to sit up straighter in my car. After all, she sees something in me that thus far, I believe has evaporated with marital malaise.

Different attorneys bring different bedside manners.

Different divorcing individuals bring the same tears.

The Kleenex, well, it’s pretty consistent. It has to be – because…

Doesn’t everyone cry in their divorce attorneys office????

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