Saturday, September 4, 2010
The Gift of the Struggle
I get the phrase. That which doesn't kill you makes you stronger. I believe it. But I am to the point where if I get any stronger, I should be granite. Divorce, sick child, moving twice in 2 years with 3 small children, maintaining sanity post-divorce, maintaining sanity of children post-divorce... I mean, how strong does a person really need to be? Apparently I needed some work. And now, I am feeling like the lesson is learned and I'm good. So stop trying to kill me!
One thing I have learned in the last few years, is that there is a gift in the struggle. I have heard people talk about being able to appreciate the lows so that you recognize the highs and all of the other ways to say a variation of the same theme. I agree with that. At times I have felt like I have had my share of the lows, and I am ready for some highs.
But when I stop to think about it, my highs are the lessons and results that have come from the struggle. My boys are Jake, 12; Luke, 10 and Joseph, almost 8. My children and I have become closer because of our mutual struggle. No divorce is easy, but some are particularly revolting. I had a particularly revolting one. The thing I think I am good at is communicating with my boys and telling them what they need to know at each one's own level. I talk a lot. About how to look at life, personal responsibility, choices we make, etc. We are all very aware of each person's feelings and personalities. I don't know if we would have had the same need for closeness without the struggle.
My youngest has seizure disorder. We are lucky that he is well-controlled and healthy. But because of this diagnosis, my family has learned to live in fear. He can go years without an issue at all, but it is always there. You never have the same comfort level again. And it affects us all, not just me. My whole family watched him from the beginning. We are all afraid.
However, there is a lesson in this struggle. We are all able to feel empathy and stick together to keep him healthy. My older boys will come home from school if Joseph has been sick and the first thing they say is, "How's Joseph?" If they are sick, they tell him to stay away to keep him from getting it. We all get mad if someone exposes us to illness.
I used to write in a journal. Regularly. And then when my marriage fell apart, and my husband read every journal I had ever written in, I stopped. And I tore them up. Of all of the things that he had done to me, that was one of the most violating. I have tried to pick it up again in the last 6 years, but I just can't do it, so I am going to write here. Less personal, but I have things to write about that just don't fit into my dating one or my children's one. So here we go!
I will tell you next about the most interesting day today at the hair salon. You never know where you will meet someone who affects you with one conversation.