Friday, January 17, 2014

Windmills--- I never thought I would be divorced!


I never wanted to be divorced.  I actually never thought the word, "divorce" and and my name would be used in the same sentence.  However, I am divorced.  I am a survivor of the blows and battlefield of rejection.  I have lived through the legal torment, emotional and spiritual loneliness and financial devastation of single parenthood.  I did not deserve it.  However, it did not take me long to realize that I can be changed by what happens to me, for the good, and I WILL NOT BE REDUCED BY IT!!

Windmills are fascinating!  They are eternally at work to accomplish there end result---- energy!  They shift with the changes of the wind, and find themselves in around 10 different positions and angles each day.  They are not shifting from the wind to protect themselves, but right smack into it, in order to capitalize on the strength of the wind and the increased energy that confrontation invites, as a result.  There are windmills in Spanish Fork Canyon, that we would pass by,  from Northern California to Carbon County, each time we would drive to visit my relatives.  These windmills marked the final leg of our journey.  These windmills represented the end of a race.  The beginning of vacation.  The end of a long trip.  These windmills represented change from the past into the future.
I also remember a hillside of windmills, we would pass, each time we traveled from Pollock Pines to the Oakland temple.   As a youth, we would make this annual 3 hour trip each way, on a bus, as a group of youth.  However, one trip which I remember vividly, was in October of 1987.  I was by myself, 21 years old, and I was off  to attend the sealing of some good friends, just prior to my leaving on my mission.  Jessica McClure, a young toddler had fallen into a well, in Midland, Texas.  I had never been a new junkie before, and I have never been one since, but that story captivated me, as it did many, young and old.  Jessica, 18 months old, had fallen into a well, only 8 inches wide, and she was about 22 feet deep.  She remained in the well, 58 hours, until she was rescued.  I remember listening to the radio the entire trip.  As I listened, I watched for the windmills, which would not only indicate I was on the right track, but that I was getting closer and closer to the temple, the final destination of my journey. After a couple of hours of driving, finally my windmills were in view.  As they came into focus, I thought of little Jessica and her family and how their lives would never be the same-----and that this experience will make them or break them.  Later that night, Jessica was rescued.  She endured over 15 operations because of the trauma.  But, she made it!  Much like the windmills, the rescuers had to continue making changes to their rescue plans, in order to create the energy and engineering to get closer and closer to Jessica.  I remember vividly, hearing Jessica's voice, on the radio,singing a song from Winnie the Pooh.  Her little voice motivated her family and the rescuers.  Then, there were long periods of time when she was silent.  The quiet periods created and understandable panic for all involved.  Yet finally, after many changes and ideas, man power and brain power, Jessica and her rescuer were raised from the well.

Often times, when we face challenges, we experience those "quiet times" and panic sets in.  "Will I recover from this?"  "Will we ever be the same?"  Just like Jessica's rescuers had to be flexible, open-minded and willing to change in order to finally reach the toddler, we too, must be open to a variety of solutions to our challenges, and not be afraid to face the winds of change, and gain spiritual energy as we survive such challenges. I have learned that when you focus only on results, things will never change.  But, if you focus on change, and not be afraid of it, but face it, you will see divine results.

I remember about 8 months into my journey of single parenthood.  It was summer time, and my days were spent searching and gathering paperwork for divorce.  As I would be going through files or answering emails, it almost seemed like an out-of-body experience------ this really can't be me!!!  But, it was, and so I gathered.  One day, I realized my son's birthday was quickly approaching.   Most of our conversations were about "party planning", gifts he was hoping to receive, friends he was hoping to invite, what kind of pizza he wanted to have and what to do at the party.  As his special day got closer and closer, I would go to bed at night crushed with my own reality, that would soon become his.  I would find myself, conversing with my Heavenly Father.  "What shall I do?"  "How will I tell him?"  "Help me find an inexpensive way to make his day special?"  The next day, he awoke and in a very convincing voice, he said, "Mom, don't worry, I know exactly what to do for my birthday!"  I sighed with relief, as I thought for sure, he had been calmed and inspired by a higher power, to have little or no expectations.  And now, he would tell me to just not worry about it.  I gave him my undivided attention and got the biggest hug all ready to give.  With his hands on his hips, he told me to relax, about the party.  He followed these yoga-like instructions with, "All we need to do is rent a huge inflatable trampoline for the backyard.  I've always wanted one.  You know, like the carnivals and fairs have.  We will invite all 20 of my friends.  Then, we will have pizza and brownies!!!  OK, Mom?"   I sat, numb from the words he spoke.  I felt as though I had just fallen into a 22 foot well of disappointment and failure!!!  It was dark, cold and lonely.  How would I ever provide such a party?  How would I feed 20 friends when I could hardly feed my own children?   I found myself, during this period, distancing myself from that higher power, which had always been such a source of strength and energy.  I began to doubt Him, to doubt His power and influence in my life, and to doubt myself.  I felt abandoned in my well of grief, with little or no hope of a rescue.   I recognize now, that this was definitely the adversary trying to get me down.  I remained in that dark well of depression for a few days.  I could no longer sing.  It was all I could do wake up each morning, and provide the bare minimum for my children.  I could feel myself, slowly, slipping farther and farther down the well of depression.  Now, I not only felt abandoned by my husband, but also by my Heavenly Father.  Why didn't He tell my son there would be no party so that I did not have to?  Wasn't it enough that I had to tell him his father left?  Now, I had to tell him there would be no 9th birthday celebration.  I had a shower to attend in Spanish Fork, that afternoon.  So, I mustered up the energy to get dressed and headed to my car.  I entered the freeway and began to drive.  I did not realize that I had past the off ramp I needed, until I saw on my right, that familiar field of windmills.
 As I saw the windmills, I immediately remembered my drive to Oakland, that October in 1987.  I remembered little Jessica.  I remembered her rescuers and all the changes they had to make to get to her.  Then, I remembered vividly my thoughts that afternoon, almost 25 years prior, and those words spoke to my heart and burned clear through to my soul-------- my life will never be the same, and this divorce will either make me or break me!!!  It hit me like ton of bricks.  Life gets better with change, not just by chance.  It was completely up to me to face the winds of change, and use the energy produced to grow closer to my kids and to grow closer to that same Heavenly Father I had distanced myself from, while I was in the well of depression, and could not see my way out!!  I finally found the shower, and smiled and laughed (which I had not done for a while).  On the drive home, I pleaded with Heavenly Father to help me figure out a way to provide a small birthday for my little prince.  The next day, I received a phone call from friend who was recovering from surgery.  She asked me if I might be able to help her clean her house and her windows, in preparation for her mother's arrival.  The next morning, I loaded up a bucket of some cleaning supplies and went to work.  I cleaned the windows inside. I cleaned them on the outside.  I climbed the ladder and scrubbed the screens until they shined.  It felt so good to work rather than sit at home feeling sorry for myself about the things I could not change.  The following day, there was a note stuck in my door.  It was from my friend.  And, in it,  a VERY generous check, thanking me for helping her.  I so wanted to give the check back to her and chalk it up to service.  But, I knew from whom that check really came.  And, I knew exactly what that check was for.  And, it was exactly enough to buy pizza for 20 friends, 4 brownie mixes and some candles, a small birthday gift, and you guessed it, through nothing short of a miracle, a rented inflatable trampoline, for 2 hours, "just like they have at the carnivals." The smile on his face was priceless! But, the testimony I received of the power of change, is one I will be forever grateful for.  That testimony has rescued me from the well of depression and failure, multiple times, over the past few years.  And, I'm sure it will continue to rescue me, as Families Change, and life changes.  As the winds of change blow, we can build walls or windmills. While the walls will stop us in our tracks, and cause us to sink farther and farther down the well of failure and depression.  The windmill of faith and courage creates energy that can potentially catapult us to even higher ground of accomplishment and spiritual and emotional wealth.  Hope is that little voice that whispers, "Maybe", when the voices in your head are shouting, "No!"  I have learned to never let my dreams be replaced by regret---- by wasting time in the well, while the rescuer is there, reaching out, ready to raise me up.  What would change in my life, if "FAIL" was just simply not an option?  I never thought I would be divorced.  But, I am.  And, by the same token, I never thought I would remarry...... but I did.  I thought my life would never be the same.  And, it's not.........it's BETTER.  As dark as the lows can get, the highs can get even brighter, because of Him----He who rescues when we are dark, and slipping, and don't not how to get ourselves out.  He can help us face those winds of change, an catapult us to higher ground.  He lifted and rescued me.  He will you.  Windmills!!
 




42 comments:

  1. Oh my heck Deb, You amaze me! You are such an inspiration. I am so lucky to have you for a friend!!! That post was awesome!

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  2. Being a divorcee does not define who you are, and it never will. You made the best decision by not letting it reduce you. Don't settle for anything less than happiness, Deb. I love how you used windmills as an analogy of how life should be lived. I genuinely wish you all the best in life. I can tell how strong you are, so keep keeping your head up. :)

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  3. That’s true. Divorce is a decision no one wish to make. The overall experience is depressing and daunting. But sadly, due to a number of circumstances, instances of divorce have slowly climbed up over the years. Thankfully your journey is finally over, and you can now live your life with your son. It can be difficult to deal with parenthood by yourself on top of the process of adjusting, but time will come and things will get better for you and your son.

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