Everyone who travels the journey of divorce will at some point come to the crossroad of relationships. I have avoided this road at all cost. It is me and my girls, and we are just fine. When I embarked upon this journey, I said I would never be in a relationship again. I was still in love with Jason. To think of being with someone else would have been betraying him, even though we were no longer together and were soon to be divorced. I don't know how it has happened, but with time the love has changed. I will always love him as the father of my children, but it is different. I can't explain it, and only those who have traveled this journey can understand this.
Once I reached this point, I still did not have any desire to be in a relationship. There is one sure way to never be hurt again, and that is to never allow a relationship to develop. I am happy with who I am, so why should I open up myself up to be hurt again?
The two greatest reasons that I would not even discuss a relationship are my girls. They are my heart and soul. Unfortunately, they have been thrust on their own unplanned journey. I am so proud of how they have handled their journey. They have been strong and resilient, and their faith has not wavered, but it has not been easy for them. My life now is about them. The other day someone asked me what I do for fun on the weekends. My daughter piped up, "She caters to her daughters' every whim." I have enjoyed them so much. They bring laughter and life to most any situation. I am blessed to have them. Having said that, I would not want to bring someone into the picture that would complicate this in any way. It is that simple.
I have been given advice from so many people about relationships. The funny thing is when two people, both of whom I trust, tell me completely conflicting things. So once again it comes back to this. Everyone's journey is different, and what is right for one person is not right for another.
Two things have happened that have made me stop and rethink my strong stance on relationships. Last spring I traveled to a workshop in Orlando with a new friend. We got to know each other really well. When you spend twenty hours in the car with someone, you can't help but get to know that person. At the end of the trip, she told me that she wanted to tell me something before we went our separate ways, and she hoped I would not be upset with her. Her mother had gone through a similar divorce, and she told me that her mom never remarried. Actually, she never even went out on a date. She said that through the way her mom handled her journey, she taught her two things. First of all, she taught her that she could handle life on her own, and there was nothing she couldn't do. This was the great lesson because it made my friend become a strong, independent woman. I will never forget what she said next. "Subconsciously, my mom taught me that there are no good men out there." She was not telling me that I should jump into a romantic relationship. She was in full agreement that such a move would not be healthy. She was just suggesting that maybe dinner with someone wouldn't be a bad idea. I listened but was not really ready to hear. That was too early in the journey. But as time has gone by, I have begun to "hear" her words and what she was saying.
The second incident that made me think happened in the car with the girls. We were having a great time laughing and talking about different things. Even with them, the relationship discussion comes up. They were asking me about how I felt about that topic. I told them that I was completely fulfilled being their mother and that I just wanted to spend time enjoying them. That was enough for me. They got really quiet. I asked if something were wrong. One of them said, "Mom, I am glad that you feel that way about us. But one day we will be gone, and I just don't want you to be alone." We were all quiet for a moment, and then I assured them that I don't worry about being lonely. God has a plan for my life. I don't know what it is, but I know it will be good.
As time has passed, I have processed those two incidents a little more. Maybe I am finally getting to the point of being a little more open to the whole concept. But here is the catch. The two priorities in my life are Lily and Anna. They come first. It is that simple. I will not even consider dinner with someone who cannot understand and appreciate that. They are the most innocent victims of this journey, and I have no intentions of doing anything to complicate things further for them.
I have listened. I have prayed, and I have placed this matter in God's hands. I am happy, complete, and fulfilled. But if there is someone out there that God has to be a good friend, I am open. And if there is someone out there that God has for me to get to know on a deeper level, I am open. Finally, down the road, if there is someone that God has for me to grow old with, I am also open. It is up to Him. I am not going to worry about it because when He brings His plan to fruition, it will feel right, and I will be at peace.
I have mentioned this verse before, but I think it bears repeating. This time I want to share the message paraphrase.
Jeremiah 29:10-11 (The Message)
This is God's Word on the subject: "As soon as Babylon's seventy years are up and not a day before, I'll show up and take care of you as I promised and bring you back home. I know what I'm doing. I have it all planned out—plans to take care of you, not abandon you, plans to give you the future you hope for.