READING BETWEEN THE PINES

If life's about the journey, does it matter how many bathroom breaks you take along the way?

When I was two years old my parents got divorced. I was lucky in a way, because at the time I was too young to understand that separation, at it’s most basic level, is the physical manifestation of pain being split in two.

By the time I’d turned five Mom had remarried. We left Atlanta, where our entire family was from, and moved to Louisville, where I ultimately grew up. Back then, fathers didn’t have the same parenting rights as today, so with a brand new puppy under one arm and a pack of candy cigarettes in my hand, I waved goodbye to my father as my stepdad’s sleek, silver Thunderbird rolled down the driveway, through Tennessee (“See Rock City!”), and toward a new life.

As time went by, pieces of my old family became seedlings for another, and when my amazing baby brother was born, my new family was complete, but in a different kind of way. There was someone else present who, even though he wasn’t part of this new unit, was still in the mix because he was attached to me.

My father.

I wouldn’t say things were perfect between my mother and father, because even when bad memories fade they leave a scar. But Mom always held the door open for visits, and my father never missed an opportunity to take any time with me that she was willing to share.

As years passed and I became increasingly comfortable with my family dynamics, I began to see myself as lucky, even though it wasn’t always easy. I was a Whitten and everyone else I lived with was a Logan, I felt like a misfit in the world of seemingly perfect families on my block, and I sometimes had to paint a smile on my face when all I wanted to do was cry. But intermingled with the sad was something that no other kid I knew could match. Not only did I have one great dad, I had two, with different but equally important ideas, strengths, influences, opinions, and dreams…and one huge commonality. They both loved me, in a way that only a father can. Times two.

So the challenge, for Day Four, is to find the silver lining in a bad situation or event. In some unfortunate incidents it simply doesn’t exist, which, regrettably, is the true definition of tragedy. But in many cases, good can be salvaged from bad. If you can find happiness in something that at first only brought pain, it’s a gift to yourself that never goes away.

Divorce, like life, is complicated. It’s messy and raw, and carefully drawn colors end up bleeding outside the lines. Sometimes though, if we’re lucky, the things that hurt most end up helping us in the end.

I, Gemini Girl, have interrupted my non-existent programming to bring you the 25 Days of Giving Challenge. Please join me in my quest, over the next 25 days, to make people happy. I’ll share stories of giving escapades that will be sure to wow, impress, or at least not annoy anyone who chooses to participate. Each Day of Giving will be conveniently brought to you via email if you follow this blog. And if you’re already a follower? Pass it onto your friends. If we work together we can change the world, or at least dramatically improve my hit ratio.

26 thoughts on “25 Days of Giving Day Four: Find the Silver Lining

  1. Keith Kennedy says:

    Hey, I am no longer on facebook so I’ve lost track of you. You on Instagram? That’s only social media I am on. Mine is keithskennedy.

    >

  2. aFrankAngle says:

    In general, I’m a glass-half-full person … but also pragmatic. Life is full of ups and downs, thus managing them is important. … but your “look for a silver lining: thought doesn’t mean to put on those rose-colored glasses and become Polyanna.

    1. No not at all. It’s more from the belief that sometimes (not always) bad can have an unintended good consequence, and it’s helpful to acknowledge that.

  3. Suzette says:

    Beautiful! Im tearing up at work….

  4. Beth Markowski says:

    I’m with Suzette, got a little teary myself, but, most importantly, it got me thinnking of things in my own life that weren’t so pleasant and I’m questioning if some of my good things now are because I experienced those events. Or, are they happening because I’m just a damn good person, but I digress. HAHAHA!

    1. Love seeing you here Beth. You know how I feel about you and your comment makes me smile. =)

  5. Bondseye says:

    Thanks for sharing those personal memories. It strikes a chord with me!

    1. I’m glad to hear that Lisa. Hope that chord includes a silver lining. xoxo

  6. daniheart21 says:

    I can’t tell you how glad I am that you are writing again. 🙂 I do try to do this all the time. It isn’t always easy but you are totally right about the gift giving to oneself. 🙂 payout in spades.

    1. There’s no giving challenge that you don’t already have locked down Dani. I’m totally serious! I don’t really even know you but I can tell what a lovely, compassionate person you are. So glad to see you here!

  7. sdsunshine1 says:

    In my experience, it’s in times of challenge when we grow and reflect the most. If everything was always hunky dory, there’d be no reason to seek out the silver linings that exist, mostly, in every tough times. Good post – I enjoyed reading it and look forward to the next one 🙂

    1. Amen, sister, and thanks for the read and comment. xoxo

  8. Laura says:

    This is such a touching insight into your past, youth, and the way you have experienced (and transformed) a difficult, even traumatic, situation as a win-win. I hope your dad moved onto a fulfilling life as well. Love it and you, too xoxo

    1. Right back atcha Laura. I can’t wait to see your upcoming posts about profiting off your daughter. (I realize how that comment must sound to a stranger, but it’s late for me so I don’t really care). =p

  9. Carrie Rubin says:

    I’ll definitely practice the silver lining thing today since I’m in NH to help my mother with some medical issues ever since a surgical complication last summer. Things can always be worse, as they say. 🙂

    1. How lucky she is that you’re a physician second, and such a caring daughter first. =)

  10. Stella says:

    Gabi and Maya read this our loud while we were driving to work. Got me teary eyed… They were barely 3 and 6 when we got divorced. I always thought I didn’t want my kids to come “from a broken family” but a dear friend said that’s better than “being in one (broken family)”. Silver lining right there. I know my girls still have questions but I also know that they’re adjusted and happy, and I’m so much happier as well. Thanks for the post.

    1. Thanks for the thoughtful comment, Stella. You have amazing girls in large part because you’re an amazing mother. They’re lucky to have you in their lives, and so am I. xoxo

  11. D K Powell says:

    I so want to be able to do this. At the moment it’s going to be hard…

    1. That’s OK. We should all just do our best, whatever that is. =)

    2. Thank you for taking the time to catch up and read so much of what I’ve written in the past 10 days. It’s more than I wrote for the entire year, so you’ve gotta be tired by now. =)

      1. D K Powell says:

        You’re doing a great job and it’s much appreciated 🙂

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