Category Archives: bitterness

Blessed

Christmas is only a few days away. I am keenly aware that this time of year can be incredibly stressful on its own without adding the additional stress of going through a divorce. I also know that the holidays can be a painful part of the year, too – especially if one has experienced a loss during the year. I remember the first holiday season after my dad died – we felt empty, like something was missing. The holidays are still a rough time for my mom because she misses my dad so much.

I divorced right before Christmas seven years ago. As a result, I didn’t have much money, but I did have a great deal of anger. I was angry that my finances were shot. I was angry that my children did not have good holiday memories like I did. I was angry that ex had more money and was able to give my children more for Christmas than I was. That first Christmas after my divorce was not a very good one.

I was so angry for so long that I lost sight of one thing – how blessed I was. I had a roof over my head, a job, food in my cupboards, a car that ran and people who loved me. God had provided the things I needed. There is a big difference between needs and wants. Our needs are those basics we need for survival, food, shelter and clothing. The wants are everything else – a car, a cell phone, new shoes. Even with as little as I had, I was still richer than many people in other parts of the world.

I am blessed. I do not have the latest and greatest of everything – I don’t need it. I don’t have a car with all the bells and whistles – I don’t need it. I content with what I have, where I am, and with whom I am sharing my life. I have man who loves me. I have a new grand baby. I have six amazing children. My mom is in good health. My siblings are all doing well. I have a good job and a good boss. I have two hilarious pups who think I am everything. I have wonderful friends. What else is there?

The floor beneath my Christmas tree is not stacked high with gifts. I didn’t go into debt to buy gifts this year. My bills are paid. I am content. I am blessed. I thank God for keeping me in His care. As this year comes to a close, I do not wish for next year to bring financial prosperity or more stuff, I wish for more opportunities to serve – my coworkers, my family, Cycle Dude, my church and my community. I am blessed and I wish to bless others.

Keep a quiet heart this holiday season as you meditate on the reason for the season – Jesus. Don’t allow yourself to become overwhelmed by expectations, relationships and unfulfilled promises. Know that you are loved. Stay tuned. . . .

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What is There to Celebrate?

The first holiday season after a loss can be especially difficult – whether it’s the loss of a loved one or the loss of a marriage. I remember the first Thanksgiving after my dad died. My mom and I were celebrating Thanksgiving with my sister in another state. After Thanksgiving Mass, we all three just stood there and cried because we missed my dad so much.

It’s so easy to fall into a funk during the holidays – sadness, anger, depression, and bitterness. Cycle Dude said his deceased wife is the one who made the holidays joyful for him and his children. There just doesn’t seem to be any spark in his holidays. I am determined to change that this year (since I am living in his house, too).

I decorated his house for fall because it’s my favorite time of the year and I always decorated my home for fall. I have tons of Christmas decorations that I will set out as well. I have discovered that there is something to celebrate after my divorce – peace, stability and joy. Those things were dreadfully lacking in my marriage. I celebrate a life of gratitude – for Cycle Dude, my children and soon-to-arrive granddaughter, my pups, my friends, etc.

My life is not perfect – whose is? Yet, there is so much in my life to celebrate. There is so much to be grateful for. If this is your first holiday season after your divorce, it doesn’t have to be depressing. Take time for yourself – what do you like to do? Go out for ice skating and hot chocolate with a friend. Volunteer at your local homeless mission. Bake cookies with your adult children, or for your neighbors or the children at church.

But most of all, have a grateful heart. There is always something to be thankful for. What is there to celebrate? Life! Take the time this holiday season to enjoy life. Stay tuned. . . .

Beginning With Joy

Prior to my recent move, I asked a friend of mine to text me the questions one uses when sorting through stuff. One of the questions was, “Does it (the object) bring you joy?” If not, toss it or give it away. The thing is, so much of my stuff has to do with my children and they definitely bring me joy! Cycle Dude has given me until May 1 to sort through all my stuff. How do I condense all that joy?

Webster’s Dictionary defines joy as: “The emotion evoked by well-being, success, or good fortune or by the prospect of possessing what one desires; delight; bliss.”

I must admit that joy was the furthest thing from my mind when I was going through my divorce. If you could have seen my emotions during that time, they were a swirl of nasty, acidic, putrid muck – rather akin to nuclear waste. Emotionally, I was a prime candidate for a Superfund cleanup site. Yuck, yuck and more yuck.

Yet, I had people around me who encouraged me to remember joy – my children, my best friends, Cycle Dude, my dogs. Moments of joy during my divorce were fleeting, but they were there. When I finally emerged from my toxic cocoon, almost five years later, I saw there were people waiting there for me – people who loved me and had my best interests at heart. It was not hard to feel joy, and gratitude, at their presence. My healing journey had taken on a whole new feel, beginning with joy.

Dear one, if you are at the point in your healing journey where you feel like toxic sludge, you are not alone. I encourage you to look for moments of joy – in God’s creation around you, in the laughter of your children, in the hug of a friend, in the taste of a delightful piece of chocolate! Your joy may come in bits and pieces right now, but soon, those bits and pieces will grow larger and larger. Joy is part of the healing journey. Stay tuned. . . .

 

 

Lessons from a Coyote

I once heard it said that the two most adaptable creatures on earth are coyotes and cockroaches because a) they can both be found in nearly every corner of the world and b) they have been around for such a long time. That may be all well and good, but, like I a told a PhD Etymologist candidate one time, the only good cockroach is the on the bottom of my shoe. He was appalled and held his Madagascar Hissing Roach a little closer. But, I digress.

Back to the coyote. These wolf-like mammals are everywhere. They’ve become highly adaptable in a world that is rapidly encroaching on their habitats. Coyotes have the remarkable ability to adapt their entire lives in order to survive in different habitats.

I believe God uses His creation to teach us valuable lessons. There are many scriptures that refer to an animal as an example of a spiritual characteristic. When we are going through a hard time in our lives, we may need to stop and look around us at the beautiful creation set before us. What kind of lessons can we learn from a coyote that will help us on our healing journey?

1. Be adaptable: Going through a divorce is just plain nasty. You can either dig your heels in and become angry and bitter or you can shake off that nasty man and continue on with your life. One of the most adaptable animals in the world, the coyote can change its breeding habits, diet and social dynamics to survive in a wide variety of habitats. Urban
coyotes take advantage of swimming pools, dog water dishes, ponds and water hazards at golf courses and other water-bearing human artifacts as a source of moisture. However, the majority of coyotes never see people.

(Read more: http://www.desertusa.com/animals/coyote.html#ixzz4dadmEud9)

What changes does your divorce bring – living on your own again? Moving to a new home, city or state? Getting a job? Instead of fighting the change that is happening as a result of your divorce, embrace it. Learn to adapt to a new ‘normal’.

2. Be resourceful: Urbanization has encroached on the coyotes’ territory, and they have learned to look in other places for food. Unfortunately, that food may be in the form of a domesticated animal, though coyotes don’t usually subsist on domesticated animals. Depending on how wide their range is, the coyote can be singular as a carnivore or more of an omnivore (eating both meat and plants).

As a mid-life divorcee, you may be facing a job change. Start out as a temporary employee or a part-time employee in order to get your foot in the door. Do you have a lot of stuff left from your marriage? Sell it! Use the money for your needs. Take stock of your assets and liquidate what you can in order to take care of yourself.

3. Be patient: The coyote has a great deal of stamina and will stalk its prey for 20-30 minutes in order to wear that prey down. When the prey is at its weakest, then the coyote will strike.

You did not get into the situation overnight (that precipitated the divorce), you will not get out of it overnight. Divorces can be like a festering wound – mean and ugly. Be patient and give yourself grace as you heal. Have stamina and do not allow yourself to get worn down.

4. Ask for help: Coyotes live and hunt in groups. They know there is safety in numbers and more hunters can be more efficient at times than a lone hunter. Coyotes have different vocalizations that communicate their needs. They know one another’s ‘voices’.

My mother always used to say, ‘There is safety in numbers’. As you walk this healing journey, make sure to get connected to a support group or a couple of friends who will ‘have your back’. Voice your needs. No one can read your mind.

5. Be strong: Coyotes are feared hunters because they hunt in packs, like many of their wild cousins (the wild dogs of Africa, wolves, jackals). Coyote pups learn to hunt from their mother. By the time they are a year old, they are strong enough to hunt on their own and begin their own families.

Pray for God to put a ‘coyote mom’ in your life, someone who will walk with you through the divorce and teach you to be strong. Someday, when you are strong enough and healed enough, you may be called upon to be that ‘coyote mom’ for someone else.

Thank God for His awesome creation and the lessons He teaches us through it. Take heart, dear one. You are not in this alone. Not only does God walk along beside you, but so do many other women who have found themselves in this same situation. Stay tuned. . . .

 

 

Isn’t It Time?

A couple of weeks ago, my sister posted the following question on Facebook, “How do you know when to let it go?” She never elaborated on what “it” is. I think her question is shared by many people. How do you know when to let (a relationship, a marriage, a fear, etc.) go? I have a few thoughts:

1. How is “it” affecting you? If whatever it is makes you feel physically ill, or causes you mental distress, or interfers with your ability to function in daily life, then you need to let it go. Holding on to something that is harming you is not good. It’s almost like willingly drinking poison.

2. Does the other person remember or care about the issue? My sister-in-law has held a grudge against me for over 27 years. I don’t even remember the incident. My brother had to remind me what happened that caused his wife’s grudge. She is the only one whom the pain of the grudge effects. I don’t feel any pain over the incident because I forgot all about it! Holding a grudge is liking drinking poison expecting the other person to die.

3. 10-10-10: Ten minutes from now, ten days from now, ten years from now – will “it” really matter? What effect will it have in/on your life?  How is it going to affect decisions you make?

4. Why are you holding onto “it”? Sometimes, we think that holding a grudge gives us ammunition against the other person. Unless you can shoot spears from your eyes, it really doesn’t give you any ammunition. Do you avoid the other person at gatherings, parties, when you see them out in public, etc.? That’s wasting quite a bit of energy – planning your “escape route” when you see that person, planning ahead what to do in case you do run into them, keeping up the negative feelings for that person. Life is so short – why waste your energy on being angry and negative when it only affects you? The reason you are holding on to it is only for you – the other person could care less.

5. We are not promised tomorrow: Being angry, holding a grudge, being fearful, being negative – these are all things that harm us. Life is too short already without cutting it even shorter by harboring negative emotions. What if the object of your anger or grudge were to die suddenly? Would you be happy? Or would you regret not having the chance to make amends?

Next month, I will be driving 8-10 hours by myself to another state in order to make amends with my sister-in-law. Her oldest son and his wife are pregnant with their first baby. I want to share in the joy of my brother’s first grandchild. I don’t want a grudge or a negative attitude to stand in the way of celebrating this little life. The Bible tells us that if we have offended someone, we are to go and make amends. It also tells us that if we have been offended, we need to go and clear things up with the other person. Either way, the responsibility for relational healing is on us. Is that fair? Not always, but what is the cost of a broken relationship? I would much rather approach my sister-in-law to make amends than to continue in this stupid relational impasse brought on by something I did over 27 years ago. It’s time to let this go.

Isn’t it time for you to let something go? The anger and bitterness toward ex? The grudge you’ve held against that person for the better part of a decade? The fear that no one will like you because you’re divorced? Your health, mental and physical, depends on your willingness to let it go. Stay tuned . . . .

New Adventures

I was in a meeting this morning with the department heads and the CAO at Myjob. We have been meeting together since my boss left last month. It’s a chance to touch base with everyone in the Facilities Operations Division and work out issues that come up. After the meeting, the CAO asked if she could meet with me for a couple minutes. She has been looking for a replacement for her Executive Assistant who left a little more than a month ago to take another position in the company. CAO asked if I would consider being her assistant on a temporary basis. That does not mean I have to give up my current position, but I would fill in with her until she hired someone permanent.

I am more than just a little nervous. I have never worked for anyone on the Executive level before, much less in a large company. CAO said she made an offer to a young lade she had interviewed, but has not heard back yet from the lady. Who knows? This may turn into a permanent position.

It’s easy to get bogged down in the emotions – pain, anger, and bitterness – of a divorce. When we allow those negative emotions to overwhelm us, we miss out on the bigger opportunities in life. The journey toward divorce healing should take us further and further away from those emotions and closer to the freedom that comes when we are healed of those emotions. I think dwelling in those emotions impedes our ability to reach out and try new things.

I found myself getting bogged down in the negative emotions of my divorce. Looking back, I know I missed out on some important things because I was so mad and disgusted with ex. I let those emotions take over instead of letting them go and enjoying the gifts God has given me – my children, family, boyfriend, etc. Don’t allow those emotions to get in the way of living life to the fullest. Stay tuned . . .

 

 

Stuck in the Story

It’s almost like a bad dream. You know the one – you keep having the same dream over and over. You wake up before the dream ends and you end up frustrated because you can’t seem to find out what happens – you’re “stuck” in that dream. It’s similar to what Bill Murray’s character experienced in the movie, “Ground Hog Day”.

We can become “stuck” in the story of our divorce. We run into people we knew as a couple and when they ask where our (former) spouse is, we give them the “We’re divorced” answer hoping that we don’t have to elaborate. Sometimes we may feel obligated to elaborate, but it’s not always a good thing to do. As much as we’d want to give into the temptation to speak ill of our ex, we don’t need to do that, to spread gossip about him. We don’t need to relive situations that we are healing from. We don’t need to get pulled back into the pain and darkness of that time.

It is possible to tell the story of our divorce without going into all the sordid details, without getting “stuck”. When you tell your divorce story, think about:

  1. What did you learn from your experience? I tell my children to ask this question whenever they go through a rough time in their lives.
  2. What hindered you from healing? (bitterness, anger, resentment)
  3. Who helped you along the way in your healing journey? What did they do that made a difference?
  4. What good things have come out of your experience? (you’re stronger emotionally, you developed some new skills, etc.

Give a very brief summary of the circumstance of your divorce, then focus on what you’ve learned, how you’ve begun to heal and what good things have come out of the experience. Don’t get stuck in the story of your pain, but grow in the story of your healing! Stay tuned . . .