Cycle Dude and I like to go to the local used book store to knock around on a rainy day. You never know what you’ll find on the shelves among tons of used books. Last time we went, I found a book by Hoda Kotb, host on NBC’s The Today Show. The book is entitled, “Ten Years Later”.
Hoda writes about “six people who have faced adversity and transformed their lives”. It’s a good book that illustrates the resiliency of humans. As I was reading it today at lunch, I thought, “You know, I’ve faced adversity in the aftermath of my divorce. Here it is almost ten years later and I am still standing, a better person than I was before.” My opinion is in no way meant to discount the adversity others have faced. Adversity is a daily companion to many people.
My adversity went something like this: My credit was shot, ex-husband stopped paying alimony halfway through the court-stipulated time period, I was saddled with medical bills he didn’t pay (as stipulated in the divorce settlement), I had to declare bankruptcy, I was homeless for three weeks, I was almost evicted, and I got kicked out of my apartment for “complaining too much”.
I would agree that some of the adversity was of my own doing. But how was I supposed to pay bills when I was living paycheck to paycheck and my credit was in the toilet? There were many times when I had to make the choice of gas or groceries, electric bill or dog food, doctor visit or rent? People told me to “get rid of” the dogs. Really?! My dogs were my companions and often the only ones who listened to my broken heart at 3am. No – they are family members.
I made too much to qualify for any kind of community assistance. I once went to my church for help in paying my electric bill. The church secretary told me the church didn’t do that and to go to a community service. I went to the community service, only to find out a) they took a month to process my application for assistance and b) I made too much to qualify. Ex didn’t beat me, so I didn’t qualify for legal assistance to collect the alimony. I didn’t make enough to hire a lawyer.
My adversity? Being invisible. Even though I was on an incredibly tight budget, I did not qualify for any kind of help. Thank God for friends and family members. I say I was invisible because no one saw me as being needy, even though I was. I guess I just asked the wrong people the wrong questions. I always thought that if I won the lottery, I would start a foundation for women like me – who were divorced, but “invisible” – not making enough to meet my monthly obligations, but making too much to qualify for any community services.
Now, almost 10 years later, I live with a wonderful man whom I deeply love, have a great job and still have the pups who were my companions at 3am. My children are near and grandbaby #3 is on the way. My life has been transformed.
Adversity comes in all shapes and sizes. One man’s adversity is another man’s setback. It all depends on how we face adversity. Will we fight it or will we silently surrender? The six people mentioned in the book I referenced earlier fought. I fought. I remember thinking, “I’ll be damned if I am going to let this divorce and ex ruin my life!” Choose to face adversity with as much strength as you can muster. It may take a while, but we can come out on the other side better people than we were before. Stay tuned. . . . .