Friday, June 10, 2011

divorce sadness

I've heard about two more divorces in the last two days. It's strange to be more on the outside again, to be just a normal hearsay person, to not be hugely triggered. I always immediately think of the kids and just want to weep. It's like hearing about civilian casualties in a war bombing. (But I wouldn't say that to the parents of the kids, because I know they are already hurting horribly for the kids, and I know at least one of them is not doing it just because they are selfish.) On the other hand, the kids have been living in the war zone for quite some time, so the divorce can also mean the beginning of a different kind of healing for everyone.

I'm struggling to pull together my viewpoint. I don't know if I'll ever have a solid one again. The temptation when facing these emotions and the chaos of "why?" is to retreat backwards, to avoid feeling the feelings by taking refuge in rules like There Must Be Biblical Grounds For It.

I know that empathy is the deeper magic, the anchor we can cling to (which might result in even more uncomfortable feelings to experience, because you're adding those of others on top of your own). Yet that anchor will fragment into many bits of light, like how rainbows of sunshine go off of a crystal in so many directions on the wall. Empathy goes towards the kids, who are emotional victims. Empathy goes towards the spouse who may or may not have "cheated," because to be driven to cheat sometimes means there was a severe drought of love. Or, on the other hand, empathy goes to the spouse who was cheated on, because the cheater was a narcissist. Or empathy can even go towards an abuser, one who was not able to give love whether from past abuse, or a personality disorder, or just choice.

Or empathy goes towards both parties, neither of whom cheated but both of whom had too much stress and never saw each other because human beings were never meant to partner up in a society where it's possible to both work 80 hour weeks and have kids on top of that and move across the country 10 times in a lifetime, preventing family and communal support from ever growing into place. It's the best of times, and the worst of times. Great possibilities come with great challenges.

Any relationship - your kids, your friends, your spouse - requires a conscious investment of energy, time, joint relaxation, laughter. It's easy for any of them to not be getting enough. The strongest love, like the healthiest plant, can die without the right conditions. (And the not-strong loves will still die, even if you invest everything you've got. I've lived through that.)