I will always vividly remember the day, the moment, I officially filed for divorce.
Rain drizzled against the lawyer’s office windows, and I sat in the waiting room, my hands clasped to keep them from shaking. Feelings of sadness and a conviction I was doing the right thing played tug of war inside of me. The paralegal called me to her desk where I paid the fee, signed the contract, and she went into the back to make copies and bring out the official documents.
Then the tears began. I couldn’t stop them, and didn’t want to. Something precious and dear to me was ending, and I knew I needed to mourn its passing. The paralegal came back out and glanced at my face, but didn’t say anything. I quietly signed the rest of the papers, got my copies, and left the office. I had to tuck the papers under my sweater to keep them dry. It seemed symbolic, somehow, the necessity of clutching those means to an end close to me.
Rain is a depressing thing to a lot of people. They see it as blocking out the sun and warmth, or ruining good times. For me, growing up in the desert, rain is exciting, life-giving. To watch our home movies from my childhood, you would think it rained every other day, because whenever it did it was a cause for documentation and celebration. We have hours of video tape of us kids splashing in puddles and covered in mud, joyful and carefree.
That day, the rain was once again my friend. The heavy clouds draped low as if to hug me; raindrops mingled sympathetically with the tears on my cheeks. I wanted to stand there in the parking lot and let it drench me. I wanted it to soak up all my sorrows and fears and wash them away down the rain gutters where they would blend with the river and dissipate, gone from me forever. But instead, I got into my car and drove toward home. The sobs came then, followed by the shuddering gasps and the screams. I felt as if I would never be able to stop crying.
I experienced a deep, infantile need for my mama at that point, so, instead of going straight home, I stopped at my parents’ house and fell into my mom’s embrace. My parents were late for a meeting, but they didn’t care, and they just wrapped me in their love. I don’t know how long it took me to calm down, but, eventually, I started breathing again. I spoke with them about my pain and confusion about how so many people do this. How could it be that so many choose to rip their souls in two? Some multiple times? I realized, as we visited, that there are many reasons for divorce, and each person handles it and feels it in their own unique way. I, who had given my whole entire self, my entire being, to this marriage, was not just mourning the passing of a partnership, but also the passing of part of myself. I did not feel anger, hatred, or resentment toward him, so I did not have that as a shield to hide behind. I only felt raw, unmitigated pain. I hurt for me, I hurt for him, I hurt for the difficult journey we had made, and for the difficult journey that was to come.
So much hurt. But with that hurt, so much potential for healing.
Now, after some time has passed, I have been able to study, meditate, and discover a few things that have aided in my healing. There are a couple of phrases that consistently come to my mind throughout this process:
Those phrases work hand in hand to remind me that the hard times will end. There will be light and hope and happiness. That is how God planned it, and that is what he wants for us, for “Men are that they might have joy.”
Opposition in all things means that, however far we may fall, that is our potential for how far we can rise. The depth of pain I experience just means I have that much joy to look forward to. The intensity of the trials just signals the magnitude of the blessings on their way, the peace and happiness that is coming.
Already, the blessings have been rolling forth, sweeping up my little family and pulling us along on a new, beautiful journey. Already, I have healed so much and come so far since that day.
Today, I still feel some sorrow. I imagine that will stay with me forever, and I do not mind. It is a reminder of many powerful lessons.
But I now look forward to each new day and its possible adventures with all that I might discover, rain or shine.