Skip to main content

Divine Guidance

Years ago, my sister taught me the technique of asking for divine guidance in choosing books at the library. She said, "Simply pray as you are walking in for God to lead you to the books you need." Since then I have practiced this with surprising results. Once I was led to a book called Farm Sanctuary. Though I couldn't imagine why I would need to read a book about factory farming, trusting my intuition, I picked it up and read it. It spurred my decision to become a vegan, which has made me much more compassionate--not to mention healthier.

So a few weeks ago when I was drawn to the book Falling Apart in One Piece, one woman's memoir of her struggle through divorce, again I questioned, "Why?" And on that trip to the library, I picked it up and put it back down, thinking, "My marriage is good; why do I want to read about someone's divorce?"

However, on my next trip to the library, again I was drawn to this book. Trusting intuition instead of logic, I got the book and read it. It's not too often that I feel "Aha!" moments, but literally halfway through the book, I did. The author says that when she began telling people about her husband's leaving her, they peppered her with questions, "Is he having an affair?" "Did you see this coming?" "Were there any signs?" Eventually, she wrote, she realized that these questions were not related to her crumbling marriage, but to people's desire to protect their own marriages from a similar fate. Instinctively, people withdrew from her, she says, as if divorce were a contagious disease.

In reading that passage I realized that I was doing just that to a dear friend, who was experiencing marital problems. She had confided her issues to me, and I had listened, advised, shared my own issues with her, and finally withdrawn feeling complicit in the knowledge I had and afraid to be a partner in her crumbling marriage. For days, I avoided her because I felt guilty. However, in reading this book, I realized that her marriage is not my responsibility. My role in her life is as a friend--to listen to non-judgementally and to offer unconditional compassion and love.

While no one's marriage is perfect, and yes, divorce is hard not only on the couple, but also on everyone around them, it is not contagious. Their marital issues are not ours, and by showing her sympathy, I am not jeopardizing my own happiness. Although it is always my initial reaction to withdraw from conflict into the safety of my own family, I realized in doing so I was withdrawing a potential lifeline from a friend adrift in the sea. And that...well, that just is not who I want to be.


Popular posts from this blog

Did I Love Him Enough?

I just started reading a new book. It's called Weight Loss for People Who Feel Too Much by Colette Baron-Reid, who I discovered on my current favorite podcast: This is Fifty With Sheri and Nancy. It is blowing my mind and showing me that some of the extra pounds I'm carrying don't even belong to me. Seriously. This is yours, this is his, this is hers, and oh wait, THAT? That belongs to a person who isn't even part of my life anymore! Great. Take your shit back.

More on that later. But, listen to the podcast. Seriously, you will love it!

Anyway, while in this super zen, grown-up, boundary-setting, higher self head space, I need to tackle an issue I've been avoiding for about 18 years but really strongly avoiding for the last 6 months. My son is growing up. He graduates from high school on Sunday, and in a few months, he's moving to Columbus to attend THE Ohio State University.

Can I tell you a secret? I used to LOVE everything about THE Ohio State University, bu…

Why Didn't I Report It?

When I was 17, I went with friends to a party at a boy's house from another school. I drank too much and passed out. I don't remember much about the incident, but I woke up with my friend screaming at a boy, pulling me up and dragging me to the car. She told me that she came looking for me and found me passed out. The boy had his penis in my face. I don't remember it. Thankfully.

I never told my parents who would have said, "How stupid could you be? You shouldn't have put yourself in that position." They would not have said, "No one should put his penis in your face without your consent."

A few months ago, I saw a picture of that boy on social media. He's a man now. With a beautiful family. He probably doesn't remember that night. I wondered: What might have happened if my friend didn't walk in and tell him to get his dick out of my face? Were there were other girls whose friends didn't come looking for them? Did they ever tell anyone…

Before and After

We all have defining moments...instances when something happens--good or bad--and you know from that point forward you'll measure your life in terms of before and after that event. Of course there are sometimes more than one, but there is nearly always one.

For me, it was my brother's death. February 5, 1989. There have been others. A dear friend's death in 1992. Another brother died in 1997. My dad died in 2011. But February 5, that was the one for me.

I started to think of and look at things in terms of before Chris died and after.

Before Chris died, I believed in magic. In God. In miracles. After, I believed that you should never let yourself get too comfortable or trust happiness because it would be ripped away from you.

Before Chris died, I often felt special and love and cherished. For too long after, I felt pretty worthless.

Before Chris died, I believed that I was brave and strong. After he died, I felt weak and afraid when I needed to be brave and strong.

Before …