The pain of separation comes from many different forms. Some of us have felt the sting of divorce. While others have battled the blows of losing a job or a loved one. Still, some have experienced the pinch of growing up without a father or mother. Regardless of the source of the separation, the suffering is often the same.
Having dealt with separation on a public platform there are a few lessons I’ve learned, some through trial and others through repeated error that I believe are crucial to surviving separation. Like an earthquake, the effects of being separated from anything dear to you can shake you to your core and shift you from the center of all you know to be true, if you let it. The good news is you don’t have to let it!
Will it hurt? Yes! Will we be angry? Yes! Will we be confused? Yes! Will we overcome? YES!!!!
- Know that “Shift” Happens – The first step in surviving the shift of separation is to realize you are not alone. Someone has already been through what we’re going through. It’s life. The shift happens! We’re not the first and you won’t be the last. Find comfort in that.
- Pray It Before You Say It – Oftentimes in separation we have a tendency to let our mouths run our minds. We say things about the other parties involved that may be false or may be true, but shouldn’t be shared with our children, our family members, our former co-workers and even our best of friends. A quick litmus test for what we’re considering saying is to pray aloud what we’re about to say and see how it sounds if we were talking to sweet Jesus Himself.
- Take a Break – If an accident damaged our car we would have to take time to get it repaired. If we broke an arm we would have to take time to let it heal. The same is so in times of separation. When we’ve been wiped out by an unexpected death, a divorce, a firing or a broken relationship, taking a break to regroup and recoup doesn’t make us weak, it makes us wise.
- Guard Your Gifts – When loved ones are directly or indirectly affected by our separation we have to make sure they stay well even as we get well. Prayer, communication and support are key. This is especially true when children are involved. Seek ways to love, nurture and strengthen all that are a part of the separation throughout the process.
- Focus on the Blessings, Not the Blame – All relationships have a reason. Even after they’ve ended our responsibility is to celebrate the good of the association not relish the reasons for its demise. Don’t place blame! If we look long and hard enough we are bound to find something to celebrate, even in the midst of our sufferings.
- Do It with Dignity – When in doubt, take the dignified way out. Separation can bring out the madman in us all. The high road is the best route to healing. Sometimes we may have to back down, sit down, or shut up in order to keep our respect. It’s our dignity and our dignity deserves to be preserved.
- Slow Your Roll – Don’t be so fast to go forward. Like a slow-simmering crock pot, sometimes we need to take our time in order to make the best out of a situation, especially during a time of separation. We have to be very careful and prayerful about when and how we move forward following separation. Seeking and heeding the advice of those wiser will help us along the way.
- Live and Love Again – One of the best ways to survive the shift of separation is to make the choice to live and love again. Yes, separation can make us feel like the life has been sucked out of us, but as long as we’re still living we should still live and love each day to the fullest. Following separation we have to make the choice daily to live and love, even in the place of our pain.