Recovering From Midlife Divorce – Step 5

May 01

This is part of a series.

Recovering from a midlife divorce is hard. I’ve been putting off this blog post because this is the area where I still struggle the most. However, I’ve been encouraged to Blog Without Shame and Write From the Heart, so I’m going to go ahead and jump in. Over my head. Oh well.

One really helpful practice when recovering from midlife divorce or any kind of trauma is to renew yourself spiritually.

What does that mean?  What kind of mumbo-jumbo smoke are you blowing now?

In this case, I’m suggesting that you go back to church or temple. Revisit the faith of your childhood or explore a new one. Return to the religious practices of your youth like prayer or meditation. If you’ve never prayed or meditated, try it.

But Elizabeeeeth. I’m an¬†atheist. I don’t believe in all that religious hooey.

Outdoors

In that case you can simply go outside and explore the natural world. Find a place where you feel peace and spend time there. Take a walk in the woods.
You might even consider going to a monastery for a short retreat. You don’t even have to be Catholic.

Gee, this is simple stuff. Why have you been struggling with this post?

Well, here’s the thing. I grew up in a church-going family and have belonged to one church or another for most of my life. Unfortunately, I’ve seen a lot of abuse done in the name of religion.

I stayed in a toxic marriage for many years because church people taught me that it would be sinful to get a divorce. I have a hard time trusting churchy people and I’m still not sure how I feel about God.

If God is good, and I believe that He is, why didn’t He change something…anything…so that my children could grow up in an emotionally healthy home? Does that mean that God did not have the power to make changes? But I thought God was all-powerful?

I’m wrestling with these issues, and I don’t have any answers. All I can do is cling to the shreds of my tattered faith and keep going with my life.

It’s hard.

Elizabeth Siggy

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5 comments

  1. This is so hard. I’ve been here (not because of divorce, but because of similarly shattering circumstances). I, too, heard many in the church (and out of it) judging me. I don’t have any advice for you, but I know that not understanding God’s will is not the same as thinking he is without power.

    I think one of the reasons people judge is to distance themselves from things that scare them. Rather than think it could happen to them, they convince themselves it must be entirely preventable, and, therefore, your fault.

    • Elizabeth /

      I think you’re absolutely right about people distancing themselves from people and events that scare them. My ex-husband and I certainly LOOKED like one of those “perfect” families. If it could happen to us, it could happen to anyone. At least that’s what they thought.

  2. Love your picture. To me, going out in nature like that IS a spiritual renewal. Trying to get into more of a mediation routine – meditation, with or without other aspects of a spiritual practice, seems to be good for everything from anxiety levels and blood pressure, to ingrown toenails, just about, lol.

    I think for many, “going to church” means entering a toxic environment, full of triggers to past traumas. Not all churches/temples/mosques have condoned or supported abusive relationships, whether within a marriage or between religious leaders and their “flock,” but many have. Sometimes a solitary spiritual practice is what’s called for, at least for a little while. Bravo to you for writing this post from your heart.

    • Elizabeth /

      Thanks, Beverly. It was hard to get it out, but very freeing to write.

  3. This is definitely one of the hardest aspects for me. I truly thought my ex was my soulmate and little by little he left me out of his spiritual growth and then out of our friendship and finally out of his love. Weird- but I understood that he was having some existential challenges and yet he couldn’t open up about it even with very gentle encouragement. Finally he is justifying his departure because of me not being on the same page spiritually and his new girlfriend is because he’s teaching her!

    So yes I understand this one is tricky I have a difficult time around our extended group of common spiritual friends

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