THAT DEFINING MOMENT
My friend, Erin, divorced after 13 years. She and J was happily married with three (3) kids, at least that is what most people saw. Erin loved him, but he battled with alcoholism. When J was sober, he was a kind, loving, attentive husband and father, but when he drank, she wasn’t sure what the evening would hold. Even though the alcoholism was taking a toll on their marriage, Erin was committed to staying together for the kids.
Towards, the end, Erin started questioning if divorce was the direction she needed to go. She did not want to give up on him, but he was headed down a destructive path and taking her and their kids with him. Not sure if you have ever watched someone go through this, but it is very difficult to witness. Erin and I would talk often and she struggled with breaking her commitment to him and her family, divorce is not what she wanted.
The defining moment happened one evening. She was sitting at home, kids were in bed and her husband had been drinking. This evening, he was in a mood to argue and fight. He was not one to ever lift a hand to hurt her, but he did like to pick arguments and the words from him could get pretty mean and ugly. She had learned, that if she did not engage with him, sometimes he would just get mad and leave the room or go to bed. This is what her goal was for the evening. But that is not what happened.
A few minutes into his first rant, her oldest child (12-years old) came into the room to get a drink. Her husband was willing to start an argument with whomever would engage. This child was pre-teen and starting to test parent boundaries, so this was often an easy target for J.
The argument started immediately and was getting intense quickly. Erin stepped in and ushered the child back to their room. When she was sure they were alone, she said to the child “Why did you get up? You were in bed, you were fine. You know he had been drinking.” What her child said to her crushed her. Her child looked directly into her eyes and said “But Mom, if I stayed in bed, he would have just fought with you.”
Tears filled Erin’s eyes and her heart hurt so deeply. She had convinced herself that she was staying together for the kids, she was doing what was best, she was finding a way to deal with the struggles J created for her, but she didn’t see all that was happening to the kids. That was her defining moment. She knew she had to leave him, she knew she had to file for divorce, she had to be strong, she had to find the way to protect her kids.
I know many people have stories of their defining moments. That moment when you know, this has to change, we can’t do this anymore. In that moment, HOPE steps in. A friend of mine shared a video with me by a researcher named Brene Brown. She defined HOPE as 'a function of struggle.’ I can agree with this. In Erin’s story, she turned to HOPE to find a better future for her kids and herself. With HOPE, you set goals for a better future, you cultivate the path to achieve it, and you develop the ‘I can do this’ attitude. In our times of struggle, HOPE is what helps us through to the other side.
Erin turned to HOPE to get her through. She thought her kids would struggle with the split, which they did a little, but after the split, she realized how much peace and happiness filled her home and her kids. It wasn’t always easy, but she set her goals, cultivated her path, and told herself each and every day, I CAN DO THIS!
iChoose HOPE in the times I struggle. iChoose HOPE to help me survive failure in my life. It is what has helped me be who I am today. It has helped build my strength and confidence that my future will only get better. I am imperfect, I am vulnerable, I am enough, and HOPE has brought me through.
Sending peace, love, and joy to you!