Making Sense of the Senseless

When we are suffering and trying to get through the pain of divorce, it is easy to wish that someone (like a new mate) would come along to "save" us. But I believe that struggle is the opportunity God gives us to find our greatness, and it is amply demonstrated by this lesson from Nature:

A man is out walking one day and discovers a caterpillar tucked into its cocoon. Intrigued, he takes it home with him so that he can watch the caterpillar change into a beautiful butterfly. A few days later, he sees a small opening in the cocoon and watches with fascination as the caterpillar struggles to emerge. Try as it might, however, the caterpillar just can't seem to force its body out of the tiny hole.

Thinking there must be something wrong and wanting to help, the man takes his scissors and snips the cocoon open. The butterfly is freed immediately, its body large and swollen. Its wings, on the other hand, are tiny and shriveled. The man assumes that after a few hours, the wings will spread out into their natural beauty. But they never do. Instead of developing into the captivating creature that sails through the air, the butterfly is doomed to go through life dragging a swollen body and shriveled wings.

The struggle the butterfly goes through is Nature's way of forcing the fluid from the caterpillar's body into the butterfly's wings. Without the struggle, the butterfly will never fly. The man's act of "kindness" was in fact cruelty.

And so it is with us. No matter how difficult or painful the situation we are in, it is a necessary part of helping us become the unique individual we were meant to be. Victor Frankel calls it "unavoidable suffering" in his book, Man's Search for Meaning. In a divorce, if we jump into a new marriage before we learn the lessons from the old, we will stunt our growth and repeat the same mistakes. We merely prolong, not prevent, the pain.

So embrace your struggles. Don't look for the easy way out. Be kind and gentle and patient with yourself as you learn the lessons you need to learn. And remember that you are never alone. If you knew who walked beside you at all times, you could never be fearful again. All is well, and you are safe.

Affirmation: I am willing to learn the lessons I need to learn to become the person I am meant to be. I am willing to forgive my former mate, and to forgive myself. I am willing to do what it takes to learn to fly.

Mindy L. Hitchcock (Michigan Divorce Lawyer)