Divorce is such an overwhelming experience that it’s easy to feel like you’ve lost yourself. Do the powerful emotions that accompany the divorce experience have you feeling depleated of energy and hope? Do angry words and terrible memories plague your mind throughout the day? If so, I am writing this article especially for you.
I receive a lot of mail from people feeling overwhelmed and lost because of their divorce circumstances, and it may help you to realize you are not the only one suffering so much. Here are a few sentences from an email sent in by a reader who shares how overwhelmed she feels by her anger.
I am writing because I still feel so angry – at myself for marrying him, and at him for the lies I believed… I am angry that he has so easily moved on and how everyone thinks he was blameless because I left him… Mostly, I am angry that I teach my daughter how much God and Jesus and the Holy Spirit and Mary love us, but sometimes I wonder why I suffer so much with worry and sadness. What advice would you offer?
I would begin by saying I understand these feelings completely and they are quite normal. Grieving the loss of your marriage brings with it a roller-coaster of emotions. In regard to dealing with your anger, there are many practical things I can suggest, such as exercising, therapy, and those are excellent and effective things to do. But, by far, the best one I can offer you is to place yourself in the presence of Jesus as often as possible and for as long as possible. The best place for this to happen is at a Eucharistic Adoration chapel, or in front of the tabernacle at church. When you spend time with Jesus this way, you will begin to experience the love and consolation you desperately seek. It doesn’t matter if you pray, write, cry, stare, or rant and rage interiorly, all of it is good and what God wants. Why? Because this is precisely the time God is calling you to Himself. He knows what you are going through like no one else does and He is trying to draw you nearer to Him so He can refresh you with His love and His grace.
This may be a challenging proposition for you because your day-to-day responsibilities might make it difficult. But try to carve out some quiet time to be with Him. If you don’t have access to an Adoration chapel, try taking 30 minutes to read the gospel reading of the day or some other spiritual work and quietly reflect upon it. If at all possible, attending a silent retreat and taking an entire weekend to be with God is also a great idea.
In regard to wondering why a loving God allows so much suffering, I must say this is a big issue about which many scholarly books have been written and it’s difficult to give it justice in an blog article. But, there are some insights of my own I can offer.
Divorce happens because someone made a terrible choice, and did so of their own free will. Free will is a gift from God that He will never take away, despite the fact the choice causes untold suffering for many. But every time a bad decision is made, it creates an opportunity for God to bring about great things, even miracles in the lives of those who are suffering.
Suffering also strengthens us; it has a sort of tempering affect. For instance, my son broke his left femur bone when he was 7 years old and endured incredible pain and suffering. The healing time seemed to take forever. But when he was healed, his bone was actually stronger than it had been before. The same thing takes place with emotional and spiritual suffering. If you allow it to happen, suffering can change you for the better and make you stronger and wiser because of the experience.
I know this suffering is unwanted and it would be better if it didn’t happen, but since these are your circumstances, don’t be afraid to look for the silver lining to the storm cloud. Have faith that God will bring good things out of what has happened. It’s His specialty.
I highly recommend the book, Making Sense Out Of Suffering, by Dr. Peter Kreeft to anyone who is suffering. Please send your questions and comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.