Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Divorce Parties

"The Flowers and the Thorns"
-in my meditation garden-

Apparently there is a new trend sweeping throughout popular culture nowadays: "Divorce Parties." Yesterday I watched a TV news story in which a local "event planner" was being interviewed.  She specializes in planning and catering what she referred to as "a lighthearted and fun way to celebrate the end of your marriage." During the interview she sported one of her famous "divorce cakes" topped with figures of a bride and groom with a knife splitting the figures in two - red syrup that looks like blood running down the side of the cake. "How fun!"

I've been doing a lot of thinking about this growing cultural phenomenon. It makes me sad but I also find it to be somewhat frightening and disheartening. 

While it may be true that there are times when two people end a marriage without trying hard enough to reconcile differences, I also believe that at times "divorce" is absolutely necessary for the continued well-being of a married couple.  Some may have entered into a marriage when they were too young to make life-long choices. Others grow apart and they hurt one another- sometimes in ways that are irreconcilable. So there are certainly times when divorce seems like the best and perhaps only option,  opening the door for people to get on with their lives and make new beginnings. 

But, as I see it, when two people end a lifelong commitment they once made to one another, it's not an occasion for a "fun and lighthearted celebration." I think divorce is always a sad and serious life event,  and I wonder if having a "fun party" isn't just another way to "gloss over" the pain and avoid the truth that life is difficult.

Yesterday someone offered an online response to one of my blog posts. She told me that the only times she has ever experienced healing in her life were the times when she was able to acknowledge and accept her "brokenness." I thought that was such a wise and insightful comment. 

We human beings are strong and we are also weak. We have successes in life and we also make mistakes and we fail. We are kind and caring and we also do injury to one another.  We are whole and also broken - sometimes shattered into pieces. 

The times when we feel broken are never happy or fun times. And yet they are always opportunities for health and healing. In these occasions when we are broken and most vulnerable we can either hide within the sheltered protection of our own ego- have a fun party and forget about it all, or we can break out of our ego, admit mistakes, learn from mistakes, forgive ourselves and forgive others.  

I think about the fundamental philosophy that underpins the 12-step programs that have been the salvation of so many people over the past years. Healing and health is only possible when someone "hits bottom" and makes himself or herself vulnerable enough to acknowledge their brokenness by  reaching out to others and surrendering the ego to a "higher power." 

Like my online friend said, "we are only able to experience healing when we admit and acknowledge that we are broken." And when that happens, we are not only healed ourselves but we become healers to others as well. 

My meditation garden is replete with a wide variety of cacti growing everywhere. Their flowers and their thorns are constant reminders to me of the "beautiful struggle" of our human condition.  I have never seen more beautiful and tender blooms than those that gently spring out of the rough thorny flesh of a cactus. 

In our roughest and most broken places in life, the most beautiful flowers are waiting to bloom.  

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