Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Behind the Curtain

This little wren has brought me much joy . I have known all about him and his coming and going ( literally) and he has just discovered me!!

Bird watching and feeding has been passed down through the women in my family. The enjoyment we get from seeing the amazing color and activity has helped us understand God.  Images of God caring for the birds ("Look at the birds,....your Heavenly Father feeds them Are you not much more valuable than they?" Matthew 6:26)  and images of God covering us and sheltering us with His wings ( Psalm 91:4) has made me watch these little creatures with wonder , realizing I am similar to the birds!

This morning the reality became even more vivid. I had attached a window bird house/box to my home for many years , but this year a wren became interested for the first time. The birdhouse is unique in that I can look out of my window and see INTO the back of the bird's nest.  First , I began seeing a little twig or two in the empty box.  Then I noticed some cotton stuffed into the crevices between the twigs.  More and more twigs and cotton and once in a while I noticed the wren himself , jumping on the twigs and rearranging them with his beak .  In and out of the nest. He was busy building. I was busy watching. But not to scare him, or to steer him away,  the curtain has remained closed.

Only true bird enthusiasts understand not opening the shade all summer long.  Or hardly being able to open the window to let in a cool breeze , in order NOT to frighten the little friend outside the window. Little by little, I would peek from the side of the curtain and watch. His nest got dense and I couldn't see much of him, so yesterday I decided to stand on some furniture to get a look from the top.

There he was! He saw me! He looked my way, startled and hopped to his escape hole, but looked into his nest, past it, through the glass at me again.  Then he hopped to the top and came close to the window and looked at ME with wonder!! I can't describe the moment . He finally saw behind that curtain, which he didn't even know was a curtain. He looked. I was quiet. I slowly withdrew the curtain to its normal spot , and he quietly went back into his nest.

Immediately, I thought " I am that little bird. Busy with the cares of my life, building my life and protecting my home and trying to find shelter from the storms. Yet I am unaware so often of something greater and more powerful than I. A voice and mind and heart is behind my curtain. He knows , He sees, He is watching. He cares , He enjoys me, his creation.  When I discovered He was there,  I wanted to know more about Him and what He was doing on the other side .  And discovering and knowing Him has brought me MUCH joy!!!

Telling the Truth

Telling the truth is something Adult Children of Divorce see as a lost art. Often before a divorce, during the process , and long after mom and dad separate for good, there is a string of lies on the part of one or both parents.  When I confronted my father on his lies, he said " Serenity ( not my real name) ,  Everyone lies!!"   Almost as if because it is so common, it should be accepted.  To me, lies undermine trust and credibility and I want truth. I want to be a truth-teller and to be spoken to , in truth. Early in my blogging I wrote a post that I have linked to , below. If you are struggling to know the truth in your situation,  or working to tell the truth,  or sifting through what others tell you , keep honesty before you!!

Words are important.  Jesus says over and over in the gospels, "I tell you the truth".  And the book of proverbs, which encourages wise living, speaks often about telling the truth.
Proverbs 12 :18  "Reckless words pierce like a sword, but the tongue of the wise brings healing "  Watch what you say and what you hear. Watch for the sword and be the healing.  What a different world we would live in if we could say " Everyone tells the truth"!!

honestly-whats-acod-to-believe    ( click on this link to go to former Honesty article)

Monday, July 22, 2013

ACOD Times To Remember

Adult Children of Divorce can't decide if they like calendars or not!

You flip the page on your calendar and see May 9th and the ache deepens once again. That was the day you got the call that your mother was leaving your father for another man. This is a date you don't want to think about.

You see pumpkins , smell leaves burning, and feel a cool autumn breeze . Later as you turn the calendar from September to October you no longer have warm, nostalgic feelings the way you normally do.  Instead, you feel a lump in your throat.  Last Fall you attended your parents divorce , and nothing has ever been the same again.

Plans for Easter are made, but the whole time you feel unsettled and can't quite figure out why.  Then you remember that was the time you usually celebrated mom's birthday and now you hardly keep in contact with her.  This is a time you don't like to remember anymore.

Remembering negative times and bad memories is common. Our bodies are wired to remember trauma or pain , as to avoid the trigger in the future.  This is important, but equally helpful is training ourselves to remember good things, thus balancing our memories and providing positive thinking during a difficult situation.

What if we ACODs decided to also focus on remembering that it was June 22nd last year when we saw mom laugh and smile after months of observing her anguish of divorcing late in life?    

Or remember that last Spring we began our counseling and when we see tulips and smell the spring rain, we will always think of our growth and how far we have come in healing?

And the first time you felt an epiphany when you realized "I can't fix this" and it is o.k?

As well as the time last week in the Hallmark store when you  looked for a birthday card for your mother and didn't cry or become angry, as you realized your feelings for your mother had changed since your parents' divorce? What if we remembered that!

Or remember the party, where when asked how your parents were doing, you could explain the divorce to an unknowing person, with a sense of strength and clarity, instead of crying.

As an Adult Child of Divorce, you can learn to like your calendar again. Begin this week. When you turn the pages this month, think about progress,  joy,  healing, and milestones you are making in your journey. Those are the times ACODs should remember!!

A Time for Everything  :  Ecclesiastes 3 : 1-8  ( read the whole chapter too!)

There is a time for everything,
    and a season for every activity under the heavens:
    a time to be born and a time to die,
    a time to plant and a time to uproot,
    a time to kill and a time to heal,
    a time to tear down and a time to build,
    a time to weep and a time to laugh,
    a time to mourn and a time to dance,
    a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
    a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
    a time to search and a time to give up,
    a time to keep and a time to throw away,
    a time to tear and a time to mend,
    a time to be silent and a time to speak,
    a time to love and a time to hate,
    a time for war and a time for peace.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Too Many Choices?

How many of us have looked at that old t-shirt in our drawer and wondered why we even keep it.  The color is faded, it may be too small or too big.  Misshapen or full of a few select holes, it still feels the most comfortable and is the wardrobe choice we go to when we want comfort, consistency and a sense of the familiar.

To liken marriage or divorce to wearing an old t-shirt is not completely a perfect analogy, but it may work as we talk about late life divorce.  According to an article in AARP's magazine from November 2012 called Why Long Married Couples Split   one of the reasons we see more later life divorces is because of a change in the number of real or perceived life choices.

Boomers live longer and like an old t-shirt, marriages fade and become less than they were in some respects as people age.  The colors may not be as vibrant, the "fit" may be different than before, and we may just tire of the look.  Boomers who have this attitude become discontent and begin to look around for a new choice.

People have always had choices about their marriages,  but maybe we have too many choices today.  Once we interacted with our immediate neighbors , family and a smaller local community.  Today we interact with hundreds of people via social media and email and our personal phones.  Once people expected to live with one person, grow old and somewhat complacent with one person and were content with a less-than-perfect relationship.  Today we think our relationship should always be vibrant, exciting and meeting our needs.

Too many choices and options can be bad.  It is a proven fact that our ability to make a good choice lessens when we have too many choices.  Experiments have shown that we are more likely to buy a home when we are given three houses to look at when house shopping rather than ten and we are more apt to buy ice cream when given just a few flavors to choose from rather than dozens and dozens.  Too many choices can cloud our thinking and cause poor decision making.

My thinking is to be careful what we PERCEIVE are our options.  Maybe we need to come back to our old t-shirt.  Adult children of divorce know what it is for a parent to obtain a new wardrobe in place of what is known and well-worn.  Maybe choosing what is comfortable, familiar and known , isn't such a bad idea after all.

The decision is maybe more about the choice to value the intrinsic worth of something that is cherished for past and present function and memory, especially in a long term marriage,  rather than agree with the "out with the old, in with the new" mentality.

I think if the old t-shirt still fits, in some way, shape or form,  wear it!!!


JANUARY TOPICS : Help and Hope
Bonds Unravel


MARCH TOPICS: Accepting Change
Forgiving Parents
Time For Serenity
Things/Objects of Meaning

Photo Album

JUNE/JULY : Reflecting and Writing Again

Acods and Listening
Acods and Materialism
Acods and Identity

Serenity Prayer Worksheet
ACODs and Simplicity
A New Look to the Blog!!
Serenity Prayer Extended Version/Worksheet
Why do we Blog???

ACOD Serenity Prayer
ACOD Fathers and Mothers
Things Still Aren't Right This Christmas

Grandchildren of Divorce
ACODs and Affairs
Keep Going
ACOD Forward and Back
Lord' Prayer ACOD version
Ripple Effect
Grief Revisited
Too Many Choices
ACOD Times To Remember
Telling the Truth
Behind the Curtain

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