“Those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” Isaiah 40:31
Four years post divorce, I can now recognize the great value of a life lesson learned as a direct result of the incredible pain of my divorce. It is about Hope and how vital it is in life.
Prior to divorce, I was not aware that my ability to Hope and my understanding of its importance were weak and under-developed. I thought I was smart, rational, intentional. I considered myself a planner; I determined what I wanted to accomplish, created goals and a strategy on how to accomplish them. I was also a doer. Once I had a plan, I was focused and energetic, and would set about to make my plans happen. I relied heavily on my intellect, abilities and drive. There is nothing wrong with this approach to life. But, I have discovered through divorce, that it is not always enough.
I had done my best in all the things I believed were “right” for me – completed advanced education, worked hard, built skills, earned a good living, saved money, was honest and authentic, a loving and devoted daughter/ wife/ sister/ stepmom/ friend, a disciple of Christ… Certainly nothing wrong with that list. But I can see now that in the past, I looked at Hope with arrogance, perhaps even a bit of distain. I didn’t Hope for change, that was too insubstantial. I prided myself as a person of action, I created change. I didn’t really need Hope, I had more important abilities than that.
But, during the consuming and searing pain of my divorce, I was unprepared for the loss of my focus and drive as primary strengths to move me through my pain “efficiently”. Without those tools, I didn’t feel powerful enough to actually create the new life I needed. Crisis required me to accept change imposed upon me, and resulted in me needing to initiate additional changes. But for a while, I could not seem to muster the abilities, energy and focus that I had relied upon prior to divorce to now initiate the action I needed to create change. Instead, my debilitating pain had rendered those attributes in me impaired. This was my first serious encounter in life of the incredible need for Hope. I knew cognitively that life would be good again, eventually. But when I couldn’t feel that, I began choosing to rely on Hope to sustain and strengthen me in the meantime . I Hoped that I would be able to rely upon my other attributes again, but I didn’t know if so, or when.
So when I saw the movie “Tenderness” recently and heard this quote, I am grateful that I now know how vital Hope is in life. “ … there are two kinds of people: those who chase pleasure, and those running from pain… pleasure helps you forget. But pain, pain forces you to hope. Tell yourself this: this can’t last. Today could be different. Today something just might change.”
Not by choice, but by necessity, I can say I have gained the ability to rely on Hope and on Trust, in God, in others and in myself that by moving forward, even one tiny step at a time, and by knowing that today does not have the final word, change can and will happen. Hope gave me the strength I needed to keep believing, keep trying until change slowly began to happen. Now I am able to choose to use my “efficient” tools of intellect, focus, drive … but I can also choose to incorporate the critical elements of Hope and Trust in much greater doses too! Thanks be to God.