Word of the Day

Today I want to talk about words.

I suppose one word in particular.

At the beginning of everything, the word “divorce” was terrifying. In my mind, I saw scenes of a courtroom. Both sides are furiously throwing around passive aggressive statements. There’s the scene of the dad (or mom) with all of their things taking off down the road, while the kids are left waving goodbye. And this is a story more often true, than not.

Divorce conjures up a lot of imagery. A lot of it is painful from my past, and my present.

I guess to say it out loud takes a lot of work. People generally start out with “separation” and “splitting” and eventually get into that nasty word.

Divorce.

A huge separation of life and spirit.

It sounds a bit violent to me. Unfortunately, it is the word we have deemed necessary with the action.

I’m sure it derives from something in Latin. I’m sure I could just google it, but I’m not.

I’m writing all of this because I wish I could’ve read something like it when I was going through everything. Well, I still am, actually.

divorce

Those of you who read this blog often know that I started writing about my pain almost instantly. There wasn’t any way around the fact that I was going through a very hard time. At one point, I just had to say it out loud, “I’m going through a divorce.”

And that was all it took to have everything come falling in on me. It’s such a sad word. Don’t let me take anything away from the seriousness of this decision. These things are important. The weight of words are important. But I wanted to take a minute to explore its weight.

Divorces are not all the same. Kids, no kids. Some both agree it is for the best. Some are knock down, drag outs. And some have to deal with money and property.

Whatever you’re going through, try not to lump yourself into something you can’t grasp. It is a very personal thing, but don’t hold it in. I’m not saying be proud of it, but if it’s a word that’s making you sick, take it out and examine it.

You and your partner are getting a divorce.

If I could have talked to myself eight months ago, this is what I would have said:

Let me be the first to say how sorry I am.

I will not give you a silver lining to look towards, because they are temporary.

How are your finances? Are you okay with bills? How can I help you in this transition? Who’s feeding you and are you taking care of yourself?

If you want me to, let me sit beside you in the darkness and I will listen to the parts of your pain.

I can tell you that things will get better with time, but you don’t want to hear that either. You know things will get better. But right now, you’re really hurting.

AND NO ONE HAS HURT WORSE THAN YOU AT THIS POINT.

No one in history knows your pain. And you are right. We are wrong.

Your pain IS unique. There are lots of variables and emotions that we all have to embrace.

People will be there for you, and then they won’t. And then they will. They have their own lives and their own battles, but it doesn’t mean they’ve also abandoned you. Your community is trying to figure out how to handle this as well. Have a bit of grace with them, especially if we are young and inexperienced with these tough things.

Let me buy you a drink.

But I’m going to make sure you don’t get out of control, and know that some nights, taking the edge off helps you to sleep better.

It’s going to take a while, and I’m sorry.

You are going to come out of it so much stronger. So much wiser.

But then, sometimes, it will hit you like a wave and you will have trouble getting out of your pajamas.

Let’s go get a cheeseburger.

You are loved and thought about. You are going to wake up tomorrow. It’ll still probably sting. But each day is a new way to process your pain, and you will. You will move and grow and change. You will be capable of such a deep love that the idea of having it again will excite you.

And some days, you will also imagine what it would be like if you were alone the rest of your life.

There’s no best way to go about these sorts of things.
If it seems like you need to do something hard and emotional for the sake of clarity and forward motion, DO IT. Your throat will get tight and your belly will burn, but it will make you stronger and softer.

The truth is, your story can go anywhere.

And this is me not giving you a false hope, but only to open your heart up again. Because you are needed in this world. And we want you to add to our lives just like you did when you were married. We want you to spend time with our kids and cook food for us and go out to get a drink, even if you are a third wheel. Trust me, the married folks you hang with will love on you. It will change, but they will, with time, love on you.

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You are not damaged goods. We are all damaged goods.

But we are good.

And the piece of earth that shattered under your feet will be bumpy and raw for a while, but things will still grow. Greener. Taller. Deeper into the earth, through the cracks that will always be there.

Be free of God’s judgement and the judgement of your family and peers that watched you get married. You did not fail.

Go easy on yourself.

Accept the love people want to give you.

Go with what feels safe in certain times. If you are cautious about something or someone, give it some time. Because you will have opportunities to fulfill your needs, and with time, it will all become more clear.

Yes time, as much as you hear people telling you, will indeed heal a lot of things. You will still feel pain, but the sting becomes less and you become more.

And that’s the truth.

But for now, take it easy on yourself.

Use that scary word when you need to because it will get smaller and smaller.

It is a part of your story now, in a way you never thought it would.

You my friend, are resilient and the world needs you.

You my friend, are endless.

 

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3 responses

  1. Quoting you: “You will be capable of such a deep love that the idea of having it again will excite you.” That is soooooo true! Someday, Josh, when you hold your first child in your arms, you will feel such joy that the pain of today will just seem like a distant echo of the past.

  2. I don’t remember too much about my divorce. It’s been so long and my ex husband and I have lost since forgotten the pain we went through as we separated our lives from one another.

    I can relate to some (not all) of what you said here but you put it well when you said that every divorce, like every person, is unique. Your writing has a comforting feel about it, even when it’s full of sadness. I don’t know if you write professionally (and I never say this) but you have a gift for expressing yourself.

    I’m glad you’re sharing it.

  3. When I started telling people back in 2004 that I was divorcing my then-husband, nearly everyone said “I’m sorry.” When I told my massage therapist I was, she said “congratulations.” I looked at her quizzically and she said, “Divorce is not a failure – you were successful as long as you could be – congratulations for doing your best for as long as was possible.” While it may not work for everyone, for me it was an open door to forgive myself and to have hope for the future. I am ever thankful for her words, and for those of Maya Angelou, who says in the times of greatest struggle we *must* say thank you, and be grateful for the lessons that are coming. Oh and the guy who said to me, hell, Aimee, it was just your practice marriage! 🙂

    Hell with society’s subtext on the word divorce. The pain sucks but it’s not defining. Your strength is earth-shattering. Hell yeah!

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