De-find You

I met someone this weekend that told a story I have heard many times before. Young woman meets a man, falls in love and marries. The marriage lasts for well over twenty five years and ends abruptly. No notice, no planning, just one day, one mate decides to tell the other, “I am leaving. I want out.”  

Put on the brakes, el pronto, and change gears.  Pull out your new deck of cards and start shuffling because you will need a new set of cards to finish out your life. Nothing in the past will be quite the same.  You will need to change because your future will be different.   I try to explain this to women when they are facing this scenario. Some women are extremely receptive to the idea of change and some are just not ready to make the transition, even though it is inevitable.   Change is a part of growth, and we must accept it.  Accept it with grace and humility and move on. Resisting it will only make it harder and more stressful.

This weekend the person I spoke with was contemplating who she was and wanted to be.  How exciting I thought that was!  I think, in her mind, it was a scary journey.  In my mind, maybe it was what God intended all along.  It apparently took her husband leaving for her to actually stop, and take a good hard look at herself. 

Now, in wonderment, she is trying to define herself and figure out who she is.  She admitted she has never really been sure.   I think she will find, as others see her, a beautiful image of love, compassion and humor.   But she must see,  feel and experience that with her own eyes and heart.  Self-worth and self-love are part of God’s gifts to us also. We must accept those blessings bestowed on us like all of his others.  

For far too long, she, and many others like her, have been hiding behind the shirt tails of her husband, quite literally, defining who she is by her last name. A marriage does not mean we lose our identity.  A strong relationship should entail a discovery of continually growing and redefining ourselves as life changes. A supportive mate should allow their partner that growth, in fact should welcome it. It is a reciprocal process as time passes. In her case, this woman I speak of,  much of her identity was tied up into her partner, what he wanted her to be, by her own choice. When he grew weary of someone playing a part, whether well intended or not, out the door he went. 

The more we talked I began to see that her hurt had more to do with the fear of being alone with herself and finding herself than the divorce or losing him.  Interesting, aye?  I kept hearing the song in my head by Jason Mraz,  “I am Yours.” It is such a simple little song but with a wonderful message about life.  See how precious life is if we just open up and enjoy it.   Love it and each other.  In this case, she needs to love herself.  Without doing that, she will never love another.  That alone will keep her warm and happy every day. That alone is a precious vital gift that only she can bestow on herself. 

Total dependency on another is not healthy.  As we age, death is inevitable, death of a marriage or physical death.   Our sole existence cannot be tied exclusively to one individual or one entity.  It can’t be encapsulated in one relationship, or when that relationship ends, our life ends.   We can’t sum up life is good simply if we have food in the cupboard or when we are hungry, life has nothing fruitful to celebrate.   Life’s value can’t be solely in being rich with lots of coins in the bank or there is no richness involved in the sound of God’s angels singing or hearing someone say I love you with heartfelt meaning.  Life’s existence and purpose must be self-defined and unfortunately some individuals lose something they love before faced with defining it.   

So the next time you run into someone whose marriage has ended after many years, instead of questioning what went wrong, I recommend a different focus.   Open up your mind and heart and encourage them to grow,   Maybe this is the time for them to live more fully, concentrate on recreating themselves a bit or fine-tuning some things and enjoy living in a slightly different way. And perhaps it is a reminder to you to do the same! 

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