She said, “That has to be the most terrible thing. It is what all parents fear the most…” I replied, “No, it is not the most terrible; it’s bad, horrible, rough to deal with, but its not the most terrible.”
She dropped the topic and refused to question what could be more terrible than losing a child to death. Perhaps it was a good thing, for while knowing there is worst, I’m not sure I could put it into words. Yet I’m puzzled why she did not want to know what could possibly be worst than death, at least in the mind of this writer.
The imagination when allowed to roam free can come up with a cornucopia of misery; of things that rob us of joy and freedom to enjoy life by shackling us in chains; chains forged by our fear of those most terrible things.
The losing of someone through death is a terrible, heart-wrenching episode in anyone’s life, but the loss through death can be more easily accepted than loss by divorce. In death the person is torn from your life by events or illness, but never by their own will. Immediately after their death you may blame or super-impose the image that this person deliberately deserted you, but your logical mind can ultimately reveal to your emotional self that you as a person were never rejected. You suffer grief, sorrow, pain, but your ego, the who you are is left undamaged, you remain a whole person.
` Divorce is a declaration of rejection. You as a person has been examined and found lacking, and you therefore are spurned, branded, and deserted. You are left to sort out if the rejection resides in you or in the person doing the rejecting. In either case your psychic is damaged. The who you are is mangled and crippled, and even if the logical mind can rationalize the event it can never remove the scar tissue accumulated upon your emotional self.
Is divorce the most terrible of things? It is bad, horrible, rough to deal with, but it can ultimately be dealt with, and one can learn to live with this form of rejection. There are too many survivors in existence to deny this, and most divorcees, after a time, claim life is better for them now than prior to the divorce. The most terrible of things, in the mind of this author, is a fluid thing that can change, but I honestly believe that the most terrible of things is tied to the rejection of self. How we define self varies with each of us, but when we believe that we are unworthy, unappreciated, and without purpose we live with a terrible thing–a lie.
Solomon wrote centuries ago of the vanities or emptiness of life, and came to the conclusion that all we have is ourselves and our faith in a higher purpose. Ecclesiastes is one of my favorite books because it deals openly and honestly with what makes society work, what motivates the individual, and shows the paradox of it all. It declares that we should eat, drink, and be merry, for tomorrow we die, and that we should enjoy the fruits of our labors today. He preaches that we should be honest with ourselves and continue to hold fast to truth no matter how painful today. We should believe that truth will provide great joy tomorrow. The most terrible of things is to lose faith that all things have purpose, and to lose the belief that even evil works for the ultimate good.