Shattered Dreams

What do we do with those shattered dreams when a marriage fails?

Since 2009, our Spark of Life team has been honored to have hosted 115 Grief Retreats and almost 80 grief workshops for thousands of people who have been devastated by loss.

We have discovered that non-death losses can also be devastating – losses such as divorce, abuse, abandonment, and addictions.

On July 22-24, 2022, we are hosting an online Divorce Recovery Workshop with a small group of 10-20 people who have all been through a divorce that has often left them feeling hopeless and helpless.

It hurts to even type those words – hopeless and helpless. Have you been there? Are you there now?

It cuts us to the core when we experience a loss such as a divorce. Once we were so excited… now, at times, we are devastated and cannot imagine finding joy again.

On one of the saddest days of my life, I met a couple who gave me hope to not quit. They had nothing about them that would indicate greatness. Two photographers, each with a camera around their necks. But greatness they had, and hope they gave. And they had no idea.

Their mission: When babies were not expected to leave the hospital alive, they took pictures of the babies and their parents and extended family. For ten years, they had shouldered this burden, or to them, this privilege.

When we met them, little did we know the journey ahead of us, working with those who had “give up” lurking and “hopelessness” beckoning.

“And how long have you been doing this work?” I asked.

“Oh, it’s not our job, we are professional photographers, but this is our passion,” they replied.

Usually, I want to know why when someone tells me something I don’t quite get. Family legend has it that I asked the obstetrician who delivered me (June 2 for those who are givers), “Why did it take so long for me to come out into this world, and why was my mother screaming all those unmentionables?” I doubt if this is really true, but it does help make some sense of this obsession of mine. It is easier to think I was born this way.

So of course I asked them why two reasonably sane people would intentionally immerse themselves into the mess of pain and loss and not charge a dime for their services. I expected some sort of “this happened to us” explanation but was stunned to hear the depth of their motivation.

“Well,” they began awkwardly, “We lost all 5 of our children while they were infants. Two were stillborn, and three died of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). We just have to do this. We can’t really say why. We just know we must.”

Our “Mustness” – From Anchors to Sails

These quiet heroes changed me but certainly not instantly. Before hope reared its welcome head, tears, heartbreak, questions, and deep sadness took their rightful place. Grieving, even deep grieving, is necessary in this world, especially if we want to get to “mustness.”

And whether we have a few minutes, years, or decades left in this life, this question of Does what I do matter? rarely leaves.

What do we do with those shattered dreams when a marriage fails?

Why do some turn their anchors to sails, and others never get out of the dock? Their boat never fulfills its destiny. It never sails the open seas at all, much less around the world.

We have discovered this: when we believe all hope to live a rich and fulfilling life is gone, we remain stuck, with our “anchors” of loss and pain and grief. There are days when we can barely get out of bed, much less live a rich and fulfilling life again.

Yet, a little sliver of returning hope restores us a bit, helps us out of the bed, and the journey out of that pit of grief gains a little momentum.

It is difficult to live a day without hope. Hope I lack – hope I must have.

Welcome to hope. There is always hope.

Online Divorce Recovery Workshop – Living Forward Through Divorce

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