Remember at school when they made you do long jump?
Long jump was one of those things on the school sports day that everyone who was any good at anything (or who happened to be standing around) got roped into. If anyone actually trained for long jump, I don’t know. However, one thing I did learn from my long jump experiences is this:
Our sports teacher, Mr. Starchevski (mmmm… Mr. Starchevski and his teeny-tiny little sports shorts!), would be yelling “fall forward!” If you landed on your bum with your hands behind you, the distance would be measured from your hands. The key was to try not to fall (doh!), but if you fall, fall forward.
When it comes to divorce, I think we can all agree it’s a fall. Those lovely friends of ours that went sailing past and landed on their feet, well … good for them. I wish it could have been me, but it wasn’t. My focus, now that I’m falling, is to fall forward. How do I, or you, do that? Well, it mostly comes down to the way you choose to think about things, and if there’s ONE THING I’d like you to think about, it’s this:
Falling is OK.
In fact it makes you a better, kinder person.
For many, many years I was trying so hard to be perfect, or as close as I could get to it. Living in a church-community only multiplied that pressure. There’s nothing wrong with trying, but I’m sure you’ve noticed that those perfect people are often not very nice to be around. If they’re not judging you and making comparisons, then you imagine they are. All that pressure to be better, to be more, to be as-good-as … it can make you quite tightly wound!
So you’ve failed, you’ve fallen. Well thank GOD for that! You can breathe out. Stop competing and trying so hard. Exhale. You are on your way to being a genuine, kind-hearted, compassionate human. Congratulations. That’s a fall-forward.
And one day, with a little luck, you might have someone like Mr. Starchevski and his tiny shorts cheering for you.