Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Looking the Devil in the Eye

My oldest son and his wife are in the process of getting a divorce. Thus far, it is not a friendly divorce. I hope that the two parents will move on to better communication with each other, because they have two beautiful children, and they must talk to each other because of them.

I confess that this has been one of the most difficult periods of my adult life. My son was blindsided and devastated by the break-up of his family. My grandchildren are suffering deep hurt as a consequence of their parents being apart. When they hurt, I hurt.

What I've tried to do is love them as much as I can and be of help when I can.

One way of coping with and overcoming hopelessness that I found useful is what I call "looking the devil in the eye". What this means is that I look at the worst possible outcome, look at all the bad "what ifs", including sickness and death, even those which are presently not part of situation, and say to my self "OK, this is the very worst that can happen in this situation." That's the looking the devil in the eye part.

So. I look at the devil, then I flip him the finger, and I turn away. I walk toward my Lord, who is my Alpha and my Omega, my light and my salvation, who shelters me in the shadow of his wings, and tells me that I'm the apple of his eye. He says, " Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light."

I throw my cares and worries upon his shoulders and walk on with him in hope and trust that we will come through this time of trial and difficulty to a better place.

Although, at times, I do begin to slide back into hopelessness, I pull back. Most of all, I do not permit myself to go through the whole process again. Looking the devil in the eye is scary, and it's not a thing to be done over and over.

For me, if Christianity is about anything, it's about hope in the face of hopelessness. It's about trusting that God is with us in the worst of times, and that we are not alone. It's about believing God will do what he said he would do. I don't know the way, but he is the way.


  1. Hope in the face of Hopelessness - I like that. So many churches seem a bit short on hope, too. I remember reading about Archbishop Donald Coggan saying that he thought 'hope' was the neglected part of Paul's trio of 'faith, hope, and love'.

    Thank you for good words to start my morning, Grandmère Mimi.

  2. Sorry, that last comment was from me, but I forgot to use my personal account rather than my church account!

  3. Tim, what a disappointment! I thought St. Margaret was speaking to me on my blog.

    Of course, it's nice to hear from you, too. And you're quite welcome.

    Your church is named after a lady I admire quite a lot. I was privileged to be able to visit her tiny, but beautiful, chapel on the grounds of Edinburgh Castle.

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  5. Amen, Grandmére.

    Watching a divorce unfold is like watching a train wreck in slow motion. Prayers for your family.

    In times of hopelessness, my negative thoughts draw me like a magnet and there's my focus, which of course, is not healthy nor helpful at all. Next time, I shall follow your advice and flip the devil the bird as I head the other direction.

  6. KJ, thanks for the prayers. We need all we can get. Let's all get
    together and flip the devil the bird.


    Didn't the (uncool, according to MadPriest) Beatles have a song like that?

  7. Beautiful posts. I relate to "Wounded Bird" and "Looking the Devil in the Eye" both.

    You have a healing spirit, Mimi.

    I'll pray for you and your family.

  8. Saint Pat, thank you. As you can see, I added you to my blog roll. I'm adding my friends little by little. I'll probably not add the big guns, except for MadPriest, who is my blogging muse.

  9. Prayers, Mimi,

    Your grandkids are so fortunate to have you as a grandma.


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