Throughout my life, I have repeatedly told myself that I am strong. I can get through anything. The cage around my heart is solid metal, and it would take a lot to wound my soul. This was all before I realized that the greatest heartaches happen when the people you’ve already let inside your caged heart wound you emotionally. In a way, this is what happened when my parents started the process of getting divorced.
Their marriage had never been whole. Being in a home with raised voices and slammed doors didn’t veil my eyes to the trouble, but somehow I convinced myself that things would all work out in the end. After all, my parents are both fantastic people. They are kind, selfless, loving parents who would do anything for their children. In fact, that’s what they did for most of my life; they stayed in this marriage because they felt it would benefit their children to have both parents in the home.
I know that divorce is very common-place in the world, but I still somehow thought it was one of those things that just happened to “other people’s” families. But, I was wrong. That cage around my heart was being painfully removed and my soul was left vulnerable. I still don’t like the feeling.
Through the divorce process, I suddenly struggled with the relationships that I held most dear. I didn’t know how to love my parents the same way because of the hurt they had caused each other. It took me a while to realize that even though they had never personally attacked me, it still hurt that they would hurt someone else that I loved equally.
How did I begin to manage? Well, at first I had to grieve. I had to loosen my grip on the vision of my kids going over to a happy grandparent’s home for holidays. I had to grieve for my siblings who started doubting their ability to have successful relationships. I had to grieve for both of my parents and the blessings they were forfeiting. I had to cry it all out and pour my soul out in prayer. And pouring out these feelings to my Heavenly Father through prayer is when I started down the road of healing and repentance.
Prayer is an amazing thing. I sobbed my heart out to God, and I felt his anguish with me. I truly believe in a God that mourns when we are mourning, and comforts us when we stand in need of comfort. Beautiful truths from the gospel of Jesus Christ have taught me this. I felt His reassuring peace that we would be okay. I used to doubt that I truly could feel God’s spirit in my life, until unavoidable feelings of anguish would actually be replaced with feelings of love. As I turned my heart over to Him, I felt that I could learn to love again.
Turning my back on family when everyone was suffering was not a great idea, but at first that was my defense mechanism. I turned away because it was less painful than turning towards each other. As I realized I needed to repent of these feelings, I prayed to God to ask him how I can love my parents better. Over and over again the response I received was the scripture from John 15: 12: “This is my commandment, that ye love one another, as I have loved you.”
This is Christ’s message—to learn to love as he did. I have witnessed this in my own life. Christ never judged, only loved. He loved unconditionally. He loved people that hurt those that he loved. He loved those that sinned, and he surely loves those in need of his help.
How have I coped with my parents’ divorce? Well, I’m still not done on this journey and I think it may be a lifetime effort, but I strive to love them like Christ does. This has led me towards the happier, more peaceful road of charity.