The opportunity for a new beginning may not be what you're envisioning in the aftermath of divorce. Let's face it, it's hard to be optimistic and look for the "silver-lining" in the wreckage of a broken marriage, especially when you're struggling to just get through the day. But time does have a way of changing all that...
My dear sisters in spirit, I wish that I could sit and talk with you. If I could, I would reassure you that you are going to be okay. You will get through this. I know that it doesn’t feel that way. I know that it feels like you’ve come to a dead end and you can’t see past the pain and darkness of your present moments, but what if I tell you that what feels like an ending is really a beginning for you? What if this is really an opportunity for you to stretch and grow in ways that you can’t even imagine right now? What if this is a door opening in your life inviting you to step through and begin your own personal journey of self-discovery and empowerment?
If I could sit and talk with you, I would tell you that I have been right where you are now — feeling lost, betrayed, hurt, alone, frightened, anxious, overwhelmed — feeling like your feet have been kicked out from under you and you aren’t sure of how to stand on your own anymore. After my marriage ended, I would have shaken my head in disbelief at anyone who suggested that my separation and divorce was a new beginning. I couldn’t imagine the potential of a fresh start within the rubble of my life because all I could focus on was getting through each minute, each hour, each day.
When people told me that things would get better, I couldn’t imagine “better.” I was just trying to survive each moment, and above all, to be everything my children needed. There wasn’t enough time or energy for me to dream of any bright tomorrows. All I could focus on was trying to survive… and trying to mask my heavy, aching heart and the bottomless well of grief that had opened within me. My dream of a loving partner and happy family lay shattered at my feet, and I was left with nothing but jagged bits to try to piece together.
At first, all you will be able to focus on is survival, and as you try to put the pieces of your life together, you will go through the motions that living requires of you every day. You will also realize that the world didn’t stop because your life did. It will feel like it should have stopped, but it doesn’t… and you can’t either. You will force yourself to go on and to do what needs to be done.
What got me through those first weeks and months were my children and my work. I focused on providing all the love and security that my children needed to begin to heal, and I gave my all to my work. Yes, I still hurt and mourned for the loss of my family and life as I had known it, but my circumstances prevented me from wallowing in despair. My children were hurting, and I did everything I could to be everything for them. I was also working a full-time job and doing contract work on the side to make ends meet so work and children consumed every waking hour… and provided much needed therapy. I couldn’t do anything to fix my marriage, but I could love and support my children, and I could find some sense of fulfillment in my work.
As the months passed and we settled into life on our own, I began to experience what I can only describe as openings within me. Through these openings, the knowledge that we were safe and free began to uplift and animate me. I wasn’t turning cartwheels in joy — not yet — but I was beginning to feel the promise of “better.” Instead of focusing on the load I was carrying and the trauma of my husband’s betrayal and subsequent verbal and emotional abuse, I began to appreciate our newfound security and freedom. We didn’t have to go home to a house that was wracked with a husband’s guilt and torment. We didn’t have to tiptoe around as if on cut glass, afraid of doing anything that might provoke his rage. We were free to be, free to play and make noise, free to laugh and have friends over, free to be ourselves.
If I could sit and talk with you, I would assure you that the light will shine through the darkness that shadows your life right now. I would tell you that the pain, fear, shame, and loneliness that I experienced after I fled from my marriage were precursors to the greatest lesson of my life. What felt like the end truly was a new beginning for me — an opportunity to dig deep and discover inner resources that I didn’t know I had and the start of an incredible journey of self-discovery and inner growth.
I wish I could sit and talk with you. I would take you by the hand, look deep within your eyes, and tell you it truly will be okay. This experience will test and challenge you beyond anything you have experienced in your life, but as you rise to meet this challenge, you will empower yourself more than you ever dreamed possible. Then I would give you a big hug and whisper in your ear, “You can do this. I believe in you.” - Linda Aspen-Baxter
Linda Aspen-Baxter is a wearer of many hats — teacher, writer, editor, blogger, mother, lifelong learner, and seeker of personal and spiritual growth. Learn more about Linda on LinkedIn.
Embracing your new beginning can be daunting, but it can be an opportunity for transformation and amazing personal growth. These articles can help: