By Lindy Earl
Do you remember hearing that every cloud has a silver lining? It was hard to understand as a child and almost impossible to believe as an adult. Life is hard! Sometimes it is impossible to even believe that there is a silver lining, let alone see one. Some days we just don’t have the energy to look for the lining, or even for the cloud. We just feel like someone has clouded up and rained all over us and we just wish we had a coat or an umbrella. After a while, some people don’t even bother to try to stop the rain, they simply huddle into themselves and hope it will pass quickly. That’s not a good way to live, yet many do.
Once upon a time, I had the joy and privilege of being a stay-at-home mom. I loved it. It brought me into touch with a myriad of people and I enjoyed that. I remember at that time that I was a very positive person in a very positive place in my life. Like I said, I had it pretty durn good!
I remember I used to encourage people to always find the good in a situation. When someone was sharing a sad story, I would listen then try to turn it around.
A friend told me a story this past weekend about a friend falling and breaking their hip. Of course that meant an immediate trip to the Emergency Room. How horrible! Once there, in running tests, the medical staff discerned that this person has cancer. How horrible! But if you look, you will see that the best thing that happened to this person is that they fell and broke their hip. Doesn’t that sound backwards? It’s true. Without the broken hip they wouldn’t know about the cancer, which could have continued growing until they had no hope for a cure and no chance for any good-byes. See, there is a silver lining in a broken hip, but you have to look for the good.
The challenge is, especially after being on this earth for a while, and after going through a divorce or some bad relationships, that it’s more normal to look for the bad. We even expect the bad!
When dating someone new, we might be in that honeymoon period where everything seems great. So what does our best friend ask, “What’s wrong with them?” Nobody is willing to believe that everyone is all good.
As teenagers we may have been more willing to believe in happily ever after, but once we get beat up by life – and everyone gets beat up by life! You are not alone in that – you learn to look for the problems up front.
We aren’t unwilling to take on someone with problems, we just want to know what they are. When I first began dating I met a few men who were very quick to share that they are recovering alcoholics. It was great that they shared this so quickly so the women they dated could decide if that’s something they can live with. One gentleman shared this with me and I was fine with it. He had a great personality and sense of humor so I figured it was all okay. Then he stood me up for a date. Not cool. Then he shared he did it because he was depressed. Then he shared that he was depressed because he’s off his meds. Okay, this is getting to be a bit overwhelming. If this had all been shared up front it might have been okay. I could have been warned that a date might be broken due to depression. Without the advanced information, I was confused and hurt. We continue to be friends.
One of the sad parts of this story is that it made me wary. Yes, even more wary than I already had been when I was just learning how to date after 30 years. The world of dating had already changed enough, and having to add challenges like, they may be on meds for something and not share it with you, could just be too much for some people. I don’t recall having to wonder about that when I was 17.
You need to be a patient person to get past the hard parts of dating. You need to be compassionate and kind and caring. You also, however, need to take care of yourself. So I encourage you to ask the hard questions, but don’t be so intent on finding the negative that you miss the positive. Do your research and learn what you can, but remember to look for the good.
Even as broken as we all are, there is still a lot of good in all, or most, of us. I want others to look past some of my failures and bad points and see that there is good in me. I want to do the same for others. And by the way, this goes for friendships as well as relationships.
That’s life after divorce.
Lindy is a Speaker, Columnist, Author, and Consultant. Contact her to speak at your church, organization, event, or corporation at LMEarl@EarlMarketing.com. You can find her on Face Book and join her Single Support Network – Single Again: From Devastation to Dating.