Pursuit of Happiness Amid Pain

by Divorce, Wisdom, Wisdom Stories1 comment

On most mornings, I start the day with a cup of coffee and a one-page inspiration and daily challenge from the book Every Day Spirit by Mary Davis. Today’s title was “Pursuit of Happiness,” and I assumed that I was going to read how to pour more happiness into my life. I was surprised by Mary’s first sentence, which describes the unraveling of her marriage, which doesn’t seem like a very happy topic. What follows is the essay, which is reproduced with Mary’s permission.

Pursuit of Happiness

By Mary Davis

I haven’t even told some of my closest friends the details of the dissolution of my decades-long marriage. I had not been treated in the way that I deserved. Let’s leave it at that. Because the exact reasons are not nearly as important as how we dealt with the fallout.

It was the fourth of July when I told him. We were done. Finished. No more tries. I lived alone in the house during the hardest part of hammering out an agreement. The first lawyer I saw actually rubbed her hands together and laughed, “Well let’s see if we can make him miserable for the rest of his life.”

I never went back. Why would I want to live with that? Instead, we did it at the kitchen table. Even though we were both hurting, we didn’t take it to the next level of pain by suing each other. We cried. But we didn’t get mean. I asked for what I needed but didn’t take things for spite.

Even in despair, we can act from a place of love.

Mary Davis, author of Every Day Spirit

It took months many meetings, and a lot of work. Then we had it notarized and went out to lunch. I have watched friends go through grueling and expensive divorce battles. It’s the most stressful thing on earth because it goes against everything we know within. We use money as a weapon.

We grasp and protect, we divide and conquer. Any time we inflict pain on another, we wound ourselves also. Even in despair, we can act from a place of love.

As for us, we have salvaged a loving relationship out of the deal. A real treasure, that will last a lifetime. Now, that’s the pursuit of happiness.

Hi, it’s Karen again. At the end of each message, Mary includes an “In the World” section where she encourages the reader to take some action. In the Pursuit of Happiness essay, she advises, “If you find yourself here, remember self-care first. We access our better selves when we eat and sleep. Write out affirmations and carry them with you. Pray like crazy. Journal for sanity. Find one friend, counselor, or confidant you can be honest with. Seek out a wise mediator to guide you through the processe. Be honest and kind.”

For more information about Mary Davis, or to buy a copy of her book, please see the book’s website Every Day Spirit

Karen Mulder

Karen Mulder

Karen Mulder is the founder of the Wisdom of the Wounded ministry. She lives in Holland, Michigan with her husband Larry.

1 Comment

  1. Amanda Price

    This is a lovely and affirming message!

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