We often ask ourselves, “What is wrong with our society now?”
While I am sure that there are many reasons that our social structure is failing today, I believe that one of America’s greatest problems has to do with the speed with which we throw things and people and memories away.
We are a Paper Plate Society. We soil ourselves and those around us, and we merely trash anything that becomes unpleasant. Even our family structure is tentative.
I divorced a quarter of a century ago, and even at that time, I felt that divorce was a faux pas. I was ashamed that I could not make my marriage work. I worried about what other people would think about my divorcing. I worried about my children and how a divorce would affect them. After having been married for 18 years, I was anxious about how I would function alone. All of those things concerned me, but I believe that my greatest grief was about how people, after a long period of living together, could simply throw each other away–toss their mates into the trash–and casually continue with life, as though the other had never been there at all.
Even to this day, I have not walked completely away from my marriage. Please do not misunderstand that I continue to pine for the other person of that union. That is not what I am saying at all. My regret is that the system failed and attempted to wipe clean a quarter of a century of my life. My marriage and my children from that marriage are a huge chunk of my memory bank. I invested myself in the years of my marriage and my having children. Honestly, I don’t even want to trash it all, simply because things became untidy. In short, I believe that the ability to toss other people away is what has caused our country’s demise.
In my case, I didn’t have any choice about my divorce. I was replaced. There was no arbitrating that fact. Whether I accepted it or not, my divorce was going to happen. I did not accept it, but I learned to live, in spite of that fact. In looking back, I must admit that, in many ways, having been left without the person who WOULD leave was probably a blessing. In my observation, however, leaving doesn’t fix the problems for the leaver or the leavee. In the meantime, there is a disastrous wake behind the exodus.
Twenty-five years later, the other shoe has dropped. My children are grown, and I feel very safe in saying that divorce was not okay for them.
Divorce teaches children the skills necessary for shutting down and shutting out. It encourages them to become adept at throwing away.
We are a society filled with throngs of victims of divorce, and while most would say that divorce is not the problem with our country today, I must disagree. Something is surely amiss, and I feel safe in saying that divorce is at the heart of what went wrong. [No pun intended].
©Jacki Kellum January 4, 2016