“When traveling, some people prefer a nice smooth freeway and speeding to their destination as quickly as possible. I prefer side roads, stopping at weird looking shops, gawking at old houses and barns, and possibly ending up somewhere totally different than what I had planned.”
As I sat in traffic the other day, feeling my frustration and irritation rise, I started to study all the signs warning drivers about road construction and the various kinds of barricades used to narrow lanes and re-direct traffic through the obstacle course.
As I looked at these things I thought about how the same signs and barricades, could be applied to describe the stages you go through in divorce. Yes, this is how I entertain myself when I’d really like to drive over the guy holding the “SLOW” sign, as if we actually had the choice of going “FAST” in the bumper-to-bumper traffic.
Road Construction versus Divorce
Road Work Ahead – New life ahead. Prepare yourself.
Uneven Pavement or Rough Road – Things are going to get bumpy. Hold onto your coffee cup and slow down. Carefully pick your way through the bumps and holes that lie ahead.
Fresh oil – Things are black and smelly. You feel like gagging. Although some of it will stick to your tires and you’ll carry it around for a while, the blackness and repugnant smell will dissipate.
Sign with man holding flag – Yes, I know he kind of looks like a matador taunting you with that bright flag (e.g. divorce papers) but you really should resist the temptation to run him down. Okay, that’s the second time I’ve mentioned running someone down. I am just kidding! Do you not recognize satire when you see it? Really! 😀
Sign with wavy arrows – You’ve been thrown a few curves. But isn’t it fun in your Mini Cooper (e.g. sleek body you’ve gained from the Divorce diet) to roar through those new bends in the road, hopefully without hitting any of the cement dividers or barrels or cones? Oooh, those cones are so tempting! I know I can weave my way through them! Which brings us to our next sign.
Double the fines in work area – Mistakes in life can be costly. They may have led to the divorce in the first place. Saying and doing stupid or unhealthy things during the divorce are doubly costly. You may feel like you have no pride anymore and don’t really care what happens to you, but avoid doing or saying things you’ll regret later. You are going through a divorce, so you probably have a huge, suffocating, debilitating, sickening list of regrets already. Don’t add to it.
Detour – You were heading along, thinking everything was fine, you had your life, your plans, you were secure in the belief that you would always be with the person you love. Then blammo! You are sent in another direction, completely against your will, you are afraid of getting lost, of maybe not having enough gas to make it, you are beginning to panic! When do you get back to the main road?! The one you are familiar with. In the case of divorce, perhaps never. And perhaps that works out for the best. Enjoy the new scenery.
Be prepared to stop – This could mean a couple things. You may want for it to mean that this is all going to stop and your H will come back to you. But more likely what it means is that you have to stop thinking that’s possible. You have to kill the hope, at least the hope for that and hope for something else. Stop remembering what you had together. Stop looking at what you could have done, should have done. Stop regretting. Stop blaming yourself. Stop loving him (easier said than done). I’ve been told that when I share my thoughts and feelings with my H, that I am dropping pearls into mud. Good analogy. I wish I’d thought of it. I’ve made up my mind to stop. My heart just isn’t there yet. Keep praying for me.
Sometimes when a road is in bad shape but resources are low, the holes and cracks are just patched with asphalt. The following year, the patches have eroded and the road needs to be fixed all over again. But when resources are available (because there’s some kind of economic stimulus package), a construction crew is able to completely tear up the road and put a brand new surface down, hopefully one that’s much more lasting than the original. They enhance the road with whatever will make it function better and serve more people.
I don’t want to just do a patch job on myself and on my life. What would be the point of that? I want quality and durability. I want to be a blessing in the life of my friends, family, and everyone who encounters me. That sounds so hokey, I know. But it’s what I want, and God willing, it’s what I’ll be.