Beliefnet
How Great Thou Part

I remember hugging my friend when she lost her mother.

“I wish you knew my mom,” she said.

“I did know your mom,” I replied. “Because I know you.”

I could grasp what she was trying to convey. My friend loved her mother so much she wanted me to identify both the love and the pain she was feeling. She wanted me to understand her mother. But of course, I did understand her mother. Each time my friend dropped by with food when I was sick, went over the top with birthday gifts, let my dog out even though she was not a fan of our four-legged friends, picked my kids up at the last minute or worried about a friend in need.

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You know from whence someone hails by who they are as individuals. 

You can feel the love and the warmth and you can identify the value system they were molded by.

I was reminded of this conversation when I went to court recently to support a friend.

I wrote about it in the column before last entitled Why You Need to Listen When a Strong Woman Asks for Help.

In that column, I also spoke about the complexity of making my decision. Not because I didn’t support her. I support her one hundred percent. She is one of the most loving people I know and she is experiencing a terrible divorce.

It was multi-faceted. There are so many moving parts in my life right now and there are also so many similarities in our journey.

You think that would have made my decision easier.

On the contrary, it made me worried. It’s difficult enough dealing with my own soon to be ex-spouse. I did not look forward to facing another person’s significant other in court.

Of course, if you read my previous column you would also know this is not like me.

When people need me I am there. I don’t need the time to think.

My sister recently said, “Colleen, you are allowing your life to be led by fear.”

I knew immediately she was right. I already knew that myself. However, there is something to be said for someone saying it out loud.

I rationalized by telling myself – Well, of course, I am, another person is controlling me and I never know his next move.

There was only one reason I hesitated and needed to think.

It was simply fear.

A fear I have developed by being pursued in divorce by a person who knows zero boundaries or more simply put – a bully. And the worst kind of bully. A man who would intimidate a woman and children if it meant it would cost him less money and in his oft-repeated words mean ‘he would win.’

I was raised to be present for people.

I had and have to stop letting fear lead my life.

There is an absurdity to it in many ways.

After all, we clearly know strong, confident men do the right thing.

Why be led by fear when facing weakness and insecurity? It seems illogical. But the powerless position a woman who stays home for many years puts herself in makes the playground ripe for the picking. Add to that equation that this type of bully will stoop to the most egregious form of behavior and ‘use and confuse’ children as I like to say. This can make an otherwise sound mother incapacitated.

You don’t go after, alter, or endanger a woman’s children and expect a good reaction.

There really wasn’t ever a doubt I would be there. It was just an internal reckoning with fear I have become sadly, far too familiar with.

And something, I am none too proud of.

I sat in court and I fought back the tears as I caught the momentary trembling in my friend’s voice as she spoke her truth. I was filled with sadness, frustration, and the indignity a person must suffer all in the name of responsibly trying to free themselves and their children from an unhealthy situation.

I know that indignity.

I glanced over at those around me. All the women in her life. Some I knew and some I did not. I found myself proud to stand amongst them and of course, the ones who were present for her far outside the courtroom walls that day.

And all I could think is – I know these women. I know how they were raised. I know their mothers. 

I know their significant sense of right and wrong, their loyalty, their compassion, their empathy…

And I know most importantly, in the face of fear when all others may stand back and hesitate, these women were taught to step forward and lead.

I made a decision the other day that put me in the company of strong women.

And I couldn’t have been prouder to let go of my own fear long enough to stand amongst them (as I had always been raised to – again).

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(Photo courtesy of Pexels)

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E-mail: Colleen.Sheehy.Orme@gmail.com
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