A few years ago, my marriage of over twenty years came to an end. Simply put, I never thought that would be my story. After many years of struggle, hurt and failed attempts to make things better, I found myself in the place I did not consider an option earlier in life: divorced.
There was so much to deal with all at once. I had lost a partner. I was overwhelmingly concerned for the well-being of my three kids. My financial situation dramatically changed for the worse. There were so many people with whom I needed to share the news. I sold and moved out of our family home. It was overwhelming to keep doing the normal tasks of life while navigating such challenges.
Ninety days later the immediate pressing issues had calmed down enough that I could focus on my own emotional healing. So many intense feelings came to the surface: denial, anger and grief. Some days it was tempting to identify as a victim to such circumstances and become bitter and negative. Thankfully I enrolled in a divorce recovery program and found a guide through the unknown paths of this journey.
Victor Frankl, who was subjected to horrible conditions in concentration camps during World War II, wrote: “Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms – to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.” Man’s Search for Meaning.
Over the course of many months I worked through my denial, anger and grief, and found that the lessons learned by Frankl apply generally to many other areas of life. I could choose to identify as a victim of difficult circumstances, or I could opt to believe those circumstances were not the ultimate defining reality.
Albert Einstein is attributed with saying, “I think the most important question facing humanity is, ‘Is the universe a friendly place?’ This is the first and most basic question all people must answer for themselves.”
In the aftermath of divorce, I realized how I had lived much of my life with an underlying mindset of a victim. I felt like I was powerless against circumstances, people’s actions and a perceived unfriendly universe.
A new awareness opened within me in the weeks and months that followed. Slowly and mysteriously, I began experiencing a transformation. I began to answer Einstein’s question with a confident expectation that the universe actually is a friendly place, and I could draw from its abundance.
Though I would never wish divorce and its aftermath on anyone, it can be a journey of transformation to a new place of authenticity. Given time, it can be an ending that unlocks the door to unexpected new beginnings.
©2019 Alpha Center for Divorce Mediation
This is the first article in a series by Alpha Attorney-Mediator Greg Hubbard, Esq. about his personal journey through divorce. Drawing on his experience as a practicing attorney and clergy member, Greg was able to work through issues with his spouse to reach an agreement that allowed his family to begin to rebuild their lives from a positive foundation. This experience led him to join Alpha Center as an attorney-mediator.