Thursday, August 22, 2013

Blending In


Adult Children of Divorce just want to blend in, but sometimes we stick out.

As I arrived at the Christian Writers Conference I was recently invited to, my goal was to learn about what it takes to be a writer, what is involved in publishing an article or a book, and to just observe. Observe, blend in and quietly learn.

I drove down the winding road toward the conference center, past a shimmering lake, allowing myself to breathe in the cool calm.   Walking into the room, I was greeted by a welcomed familiar face and others who were displaying welcome. Centerpieces of painting supplies on each table dripped the theme of creating, whether it be by brush, or pen.

Realizing that the frog out of water down by the lake probably felt less uneasy than I did, I determined to act like I belonged.  These were writers. Real writers. Those who write for a living. Those who know how to pay attention to words, adverbs, sentence structure, and write many drafts before they are satisfied. I have journaled, and written a few Bible Studies, and I blog about being an Adult Child of Divorce, but I don't see myself as a writer.  But to blend in , I got to work meeting people and learned that Writers and Artists are just like you and me.

Our conversations swirled around topics such as the weather, our travels to the conference center, and what we were expecting to eat for dinner that evening.
Until that first time I was asked, I truly had not anticipated the question , or my answer and the accompanying emotions and thoughts.  

"What do YOU write?", I was asked.   Write, I thought, ...I don't write, I blog...umm..oh, I have to tell them what I blog about....it is making me feel vulnerable telling a complete stranger something so personal and painful.  I usually don't tear up when I tell people about my parents divorce anymore, why now?  What will their reaction be?  There, I got through that...whew...

Gratefully, my first "asker" was gracious, sensitive and listened with compassion. She shared of understanding grief due to a different situation in her own life. That helped me be prepared to answer the question and tell over and over that I blog about being an adult child of divorce.  I explained that my parents divorced after 45 years of marriage. The responses were all kind. But each time I answered I felt like I was sticking out.  The gracious listeners didn't do anything to make me feel that way. I just know my situation is not the norm.

I wanted to blend in and now I was feeling that my life's portrait was making others think about their own marriages and the marriages of their friends and their parents. One woman expressed that thinking about my story made her realize that marriage is fragile. People were beginning to wonder if their relationships were made of thick canvas, or thin paper.

How I wished I could say that I blogged about my leisurely summer spent up north,  or that I was writing a Farmer's Market vegetarian cookbook . I prefer to help people draw positive and good conclusions about life.  Then I could blend in better , I thought.

As we writers and artists talked we remembered how in art class as children, many of our teachers would tell us to be creative and work on our project the way we wanted to .  But then the teacher would come around to each desk and direct us to make our picture look just like theirs. The end result would be 20 pictures with the tree, the lake, the cloud, in the same spot. 

Adult children of divorce blend in , we look the same for many years. Our families meet for holidays, we read mail from " mom and dad" , and we feel normal. Now, we stick out. We compare ourselves to others and find a big smudge in the middle of our work. The general idea and beauty is still there, but the colors or brush strokes are not always ours by choice.

As I talked more and heard more about the lives of the other artists and writers, I realized that I DID blend in more than I first thought!  Their stories and topics they wrote about included some textured areas, as well.  Their canvases had smudges in places mine didn't. They , too, had eyes to see the beauty amidst the imperfections.  With the understanding that God has something to do with the colors, hues, shades, objects, and message of our lives, we accept His careful touches with each stroke he makes.

If we as Adult Children of Divorce stick out as different , maybe that is not a bad thing. Others can think hard about their marriages and maybe put more work into them. They can realize how hard on family members divorce really is. They can listen and understand. And then we can do the same as we learn of their situations. 

I see myself more as a writer , after attending the Christian Writer's Conference. Although I may not have blended in as I told the story of my parents divorcing after a long marriage , I observed and I learned that when using our God-given abilities to convey God's working and presence in our unique life expressions, each painting sticks out in the gallery for a reason , just as God intended.

Topics

JANUARY TOPICS : Help and Hope
Grief
Bonds Unravel
Pain
Anger

FEBRUARY TOPICS: Anger
Counseling
Bargaining
Triangles
Honesty
Depression
Waiting
Boundaries

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

APRIL TOPICS: Postcard
Holidays
Recipe
Photo Album
Pathway

JUNE/JULY : Reflecting and Writing Again

AUGUST:
Acods and Listening
Acods and Materialism
Acods and Identity

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

NOV/DEC:
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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