Monday, March 26, 2012

Count Your Many Blessings Day!

I do not have official authority to do what I'm doing today, but I'm going to do it anyway! I hereby officially, and authoritatively declare this day, MONDAY, MARCH 26, 2012 Count Your Many Blessings Day!

An important life lesson for me has ALWAYS been that even in the darkest of life times you can find blessings. Pollyanna has been a good example for me all of my life. People say that Pollyanna is too sugary sweet, too intensely saccharine for belief.

I beg to differ. If you recall Pollyanna lost both of her parents. She has been taken in by a bitter, aunt who is not aging gracefully. How does she cope with all of this? Playing the "grateful," game is her way of coping.

She really, truly, does not have much to be grateful for if you look at the surface of her life. She doesn't stay at that surface level. She's grateful for little things, and large things. She goes about making others lives better for having known her. The widow who is bed ridden by disease and has decided to focus on death, rather than life. The hermit who is wealthy but lives alone embittered by the loss of his wife. So many with so many deep problems are affected by this LITTLE girl with a BIG desire to find joy.

The story of Pollyanna is a fictional tale. Yet I have had the privilege of knowing many "Pollyanna's" who when faced with the most difficult challenges that life provides found ways to be grateful.

One example was a beloved friend whose son was killed while in the process of robbing a bank. There simply is no harder challenge than facing the loss of a child due to her or his own poor choices. I watched her sorrow, and suffer. Yet she did not lie down and give up. She mustered all of her substantial strength and kept moving....she provided a grand example to me of continuing to focus on her blessings when the obvious view in her life was a great tragedy.

I have faced many challenges in my life. I would NOT choose to be embroiled in difficulty or uncertainty. Indeed I would much prefer to live a luxurious life shielded from any problems.

One of my beloved cousins posted a great thought today. "It isn't about whether you see the glass half full or half empty, it's about being grateful that you have a glass and there is something in it!" HOORAY for that idea.

When I first awakened this morning I opened a book that I have and just let it fall to where it would. There was a very short article about being grateful for all of our senses: smell, sight, sound, touch, and taste.

I remembered that little thought as I enjoyed the creamy smoothness of my peanut butter sandwich, and the delicate soft feel of the white bread that the peanut butter was spread upon in my hand.

As I walked outside with our little doggy I rejoiced in the majesty of the mountains where I live. I even relished the cold tang of wintry blast that was in the air. (If you know me you understand that I don't really like winter so that was a

The blessing that I wish to count and announce here on my blog is the gift of family, and friends. I have NEVER been completely alone in my life. There have always been many, many people to love and be loved by. I am ever so grateful for this precious gift. all my friends, family, and those friends that I have not yet discovered, THANK YOU, I count you as my richest blessings!

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Too Poor to Divorce?

I loved my husband with a ferocity that sometimes rattled my soul. There was so much of him to love, oh, not in any NEGATIVE way. He was brilliant. He was funny. He was a comic genius. He was a singer. He was an actor. He could do absolutely ANYTHING that he wanted to do, he had virtually no limits beyond the normal physical limits of a 50 something man.

Now listening to the above words you might get the idea that our marriage was always smooth...never any friction between us. You would be very wrong in that assumption.

Nyle and I both had huge egos. We were both actors, youngest children in our families, and we both LOVED the spotlight. This caused many problems as we both reached for that nebulous spotlight of life.

To make matters worse we faced so many challenges that I heard a frequent reference that we were very much like Job of the Bible. It's REALLY hard when the chips are down to stay united, to spare each other anger, pain, and sorrow that are conjoined twins to stress and adversity.

We made the angry decision to divorce. We both felt that our relationship was toxic. We were ready to make a break and move on. We knew that it would be hard for our two lovely daughters but children are adaptable, right?

Nyle had worked in the "Family Law," field. That term is a euphemism for the "Break Up Family Law." I was delighted when Nyle left that post and got a job as Associate Dean of Career Services at a nearby law school.

So....Nyle called his former associate from his "Family Law" days to inquire about the process of getting a divorce. Imagine my shock and surprise when Nyle gave his recital of Fred's advice. "Fred told me that he was going to be brutally honest. Then he proceeded to say that "YOU CAN'T AFFORD A DIVORCE." Yes, I put those letter in caps on purpose. Please read on.

Fred said, "Split the house in two and each of you live in your half. Stay away from each other as much as you need to. Then he repeated the above words, "YOU CAN'T AFFORD A DIVORCE."

So...we did what he advised. We each took half of the house, and only came together when our children were around. The thing is, when we each had space and time on our own we remembered all the reasons why we fell in love in the first place.

We made the decision to go to couples counseling. Nyle told me that in an individual session with our therapist she said, "OK Nyle, do you want a divorce?" Nyle said that in that minute the realization came to him that if he divorced me he would NEVER have a wife that had known him in his youth, a wife that had born him children, a wife that was his youthful sweetheart." He answered in a loud and affirmative voice, "No, I don't want a divorce."

So...we learned, we studied with the help of a wise therapist. That's when we came to understand that when the storms of life had been battering us hard instead of uniting and pulling together we were splintering, and projecting our negative emotions on each other.

We also learned years later "There are things about each other that you will never be able to change. When you are in the marital relationship you have to take the entire package, not just the romanticized ideal."

Yesterday I spoke to a sweet friend who is going through a miserable divorce. I told her about Nyle and my experiences. She was so surprised. Seeing our relationship for the last four years she had NO CLUE that we had face such heated times in our marriage.

I share this post in the hopes that somebody else going through "changes and rearranges," that life inevitably brings to the marriage relationship will not just give up. Nyle shared some other advice with me in his "Family Law," days. I don't remember the source of this advice. "A mediocre marriage is far superior to a grand divorce."

Now that Nyle has made the mortal transition that all of us will make some day I am even more determined that there are only two reasons for divorce. #1. Abuse, sexual, physical, or emotional. #2. A partner that perceives that they have no problems...everyone else does, and they refuse to see any need to change or compromise in a relationship. It is simply IMPOSSIBLE to live with such a person.

Nyle and I had finally gotten much of our relationship right. We loved each other. Oh we still weren't perfect. Remember that whole idea above, "There are some things about each other that you will have to live with because they will never change."

Yet, how I miss him with every breath that I breathe. I would even be happy to go back to those hard times, just to see him, to hear him, to feel that particular energy that was only Nyle's.