Fear after Divorce
About Faith: Despite Divorce, Learn to Live your Life without Fear of Unknown
Going through a divorce is such a tremendous loss that there is a temptation to become overprotective of what you have remaining.This is especially the case when it comes to children.There are few parents who are a worse example of being overprotective that I am.
As a parent, I harp on safety so much that sometimes my children refer to their dad as the “safety officer.” From an early age, I’ve taught them fire prevention, drug prevention, stranger awareness, and pedestrian safety. At school, they learn about contraception, rape prevention, and AIDS awareness.
Of course, our employers set a great example of this, too.At work our employers host Prevention Conventions. We wear hats, helmets, and seat-belts. We take lifesaving classes in smoking cessation, self-defense, defensive driving, CPR, and stress management. But no matter what I do, I still understand that life will always have the most tragic possibilities. I was reminded of this one night when a three-year-old boy entered our emergency room with his mother.
Mom had done everything to make sure her son’s world was safe. She had taken him on a play date to a beautifully swept tennis court in an exclusive metropolitan suburb. The court was locked, supervised, gated, cleaned and staffed by background-checked employees.
“Can I take off my shoes, Mommy?”
“Sure,” she replied, not wanting him to be so restricted.
He then began to explore his environment by kicking at the tennis fence. This was fun. “I’m in a giant playpen with mommy,” he must have thought. It was safe. There was no way out and no way in for anyone else. If any trouble did come, mom was close enough to meet it.
Close enough, but not fast enough. Sometimes trouble comes at the speed of light. Barefoot, he kicked a place on the fence near an outdoor outlet that was not properly grounded. The fence was electrified. Standing barefoot, on a court damp from the morning’s rain, his life spirit evaporated with the morning dew.
An emergency room staff can sometimes be judgmental. They will often try to quickly surmise how they would have prevented a given tragedy, but all of us in the ER knew that there was nothing any of us would have done differently. We were frozen in the realization that this could have been our child.
We may feel that we’ve come a long way since our divorce, but lest we think we should do everything and be everywhere to prevent heartbreak, I think we must ask ourselves “How much is a tragedy really preventable?” If we fill our days with extraordinary amounts of effort to prevent heartbreak, won’t we somewhere along the way be missing life?
The Christian scripture teaches that “It is appointed unto a man once to die.” While the teaching admonishes us to be ready to meet our God, I think it’s saying more than that. I think it is calling us to live our lives the way we would if we were to know that death is coming tomorrow. In the words of a popular movie, Make your bucket list and do it!”
If the fear of heartbreak stops us from living, loving and longing for a peaceful future, the divorce that toppled your world will also have succeeded in toppling your future. Heartbreaks will always be a reality, but life should be lived and I choose life.