Row with the Oars You’ve Got After Divorce


“Everyone must row with the oars he has.”    English Proverb

Okay, if you’re reading this, you are probably going through a divorce.  Probably a divorce you didn’t want, didn’t expect and don’t like.  Yep.  You’re in a boat you don’t want to be in.  And you’ve got some kind of oars.  Some of us have nice, smooth, well engineered oars that make the trip better.  Others have some old boards you found in the bottom of your leaky, creaky boat.  Some of us may be on a raft with only a pole to propel us forward.  So. Where you are is where you are.  You might wish you were in a different boat with different oars, but you aren’t.  Your life right this minute is what it is.  You (like all the rest of us) have got to decide what to do now.

You can either sit in the boat complaining and sobbing and screaming.  Or … you can start rowing.  The whining and crying aren’t going to do any good in the end.  They might bring some relief temporarily, but the fact is, you’ve got to start rowing with the oars you’ve got.  Hint:  the trip will go better, and you’ll get to your destination faster if you just accept where you are and figure out where you want to end up, and get going.

Here’s a story that doesn’t involve a boat, but it does involve being in a really crappy place.   It’s the story of Paul, who was in a dark, smelly, wet prison (most likely in shackles)  when he wrote the words below.  Paul seems to be saying that you can learn  (yes LEARN) to be content in “any and every” situation.  Really?  Even in divorce?  Even when I have to live on a lot less than I used to?  Even when I have to sell my wonderful house and live in a little tiny apartment?  Even when my kids have to meet the lovely and thin (always thin!) other woman?  Is being content possible in my situation?

I’ve seriously tried to figure out how it is possible to be content in “any and every” situation.   Try being thankful you have a boat and oars at all.  Be thankful you have the strength and guts to row.  Be thankful you have a God who will help you with every stroke and promises you will reach your goal if you just keep rowing and doing joyfully what he has asked you to do.

“I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.”  Philippians 4:12

Earlier Paul wrote:  “No dear ones, I am not all I should be but I am bringing all my energies to bear on this one thing:  Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead …. ”  Philippians 3:13a

P.S.  One of the RADiCAL Women on the MDRcommunity wrote recently about her rowing class.  We were talking about praiseworthy things we were all doing and she added, “Then, I went to my rowing class on our local river (I’ve been doing this since last summer, fall and spring) and got to do something fun, interesting, physically challenging with a group of great ladies.”

I would love to get into a rowing class!   I’m sure when ThornyVista (her RADiCAL name) gets in the boat she doesn’t start crying about the oars she has to use.  I’m sure she and her friends just start rowing.  And since they are all working together, they can probably get to their destination a lot faster and even enjoy some parts of the ride as they go.  I imagine there is some laughing on the journey and they probably have a great breakfast or lunch after their workout.  Let’s all quit complaining about our boat or our oars or our life and just find some good women to travel with and start rowing!   If you haven’t already and want to join us, check out and click on the CLICK HERE button in the MDRcommunity area and you can see different ways to join us!  The more the merrier and the faster we’ll all get better!  



About the Author:

Suzy developed Midlife Divorce Recovery as a safe refuge for people healing and surviving the overwhelm of divorce. Starting her first RADiCAL support group in 2003 she's been helping women navigate the journey of divorce ever since.

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