The power went out last night.
I got out a flashlight, lit some candles and called the power company. The automated voice assured me the power would be back on in a couple of hours. I lay down on my bed and enjoyed the quiet, trusting that there was someone out there restoring the lights. Although the electricians were working to turn the lights back on, they didn’t knock on everyone’s door to ensure they had flashlights and candles. It was the responsibility of each individual in the neighborhood to take care of themselves in their darkened cocoons, until the main lights would come back on.
What if the electricians just didn’t show up for the job? I would have survived, yes, but it would have been a struggle. As self-sufficient and independent as I consider myself, I am reliant on the support of others and their unique contribution to the illumination of my life.
We are each other’s electricians: restoring and maintaining the surrounding light when we blow a fuse or dim to a flicker. Our work as humans is to show up for each other and do what we do best in order to indirectly lessen each other’s struggle, by consistently being ourselves and offering our love.
I am not an electrician; I am a writer, a truth teller and in that, I help restore the light of hope by sharing my experiences and expertise so others know they are not alone in their darkness. I’ve written about it all, but the subject I am most connected to, is the journey from marriage to divorce, to reclaiming life after divorce, and the constant evolution of the co-parenting relationship.
Today, I’d like to give a window into the journey post-divorce from a friendship perspective, and how the friends and family of a loved one going through this difficult transition can support them effectively.
A friend was telling me about her girlfriend who is going through a divorce. She described her friend losing control and becoming unrecognizable as the person she once knew. She’s gone dark.
She asked if I had any advice. And, here it is: be your friend’s electrician. Let them take responsibility for finding their flashlight and lighting their candles as you stand by illuminating their life with love and unconditional, unwavering support.
One of my teachers recently said: “Everyone deserves his or her journey.”
She continued by describing the process of a butterfly liberating itself from the chrysalis once its ready to complete its metamorphosis: The butterfly has to eat its way out of the chrysalis. As it does, it builds the strength it needs in order to spread its wings and fly. It would be very easy for an onlooker to take his or her thumbs and index fingers and gently pinch the cocoon open, but if he or she interferes in the process, the butterfly will die.
The same goes for humans. We need to go through our processes on our own, with our friends witnessing our transformation with steadfast support and non-judgment. As friends of a loved one going through divorce, that means waiting patiently with open arms, as we witness their despair and pain, prepared to receive our loved ones when they are ready for an embrace or a gentle word of encouragement.
Our responsibility as a friend/electrician is to keep the lights on in the beacon of hope, as our loved ones break out of their old life and into a new one, rising out of the dark, surviving their metamorphosis, stronger and brighter than before.