Loss of The Lilac Center for Healing and Enlightenment: My Continued Grief

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As someone who practices positive psychology, I’m not particularly eager to talk about the subject of loss so much. When I do, I usually do so in the context of renewal or regaining what was lost. This time I think talking about my own losses is therapeutic. I also believe in living in the moment. This moment beckoned me to release what I am feeling inside and out.

In the early 2000’s I opened a place of healing called The Lilac Center for Healing and Enlightenment in California. I needed to do the healing work I provided. After having lost my son, I needed to give myself an outlet that brought a sense of goodness and purpose in my life. I built my business from the ground up with no help.

At first, I had the adviser line I worked on from home, and later I proudly opened my office in a nearby city. I loved my business so much! My clients told me they felt like they walked into another world when they visited me. I wanted them to feel a sense of peace, and in return, I felt peace as well. The best part of my healing place was I had the opportunity to use my gifts and help my clients transition to a better life. I offered hope, healing, help, and support.

I was privileged to hear the innermost workings of my client’s hearts. I listened to their pain, sorrow, excitement, and sometimes joy. I had the honor of witnessing healing from the inside out. The work I was doing was so much more than work; it was my purpose. Not everyone understood it, but their understanding was not necessary. I knew I had God’s blessing, and the hope in the hearts of those who came to me was enough to keep me going. The spiritual work I found myself doing helped me channel my grief into other people’s healing. I know not everyone embraced my beliefs or even my presence there. Acceptance from some people did not matter compared to the healing God blessed me to bring to others.

In all honesty, I often did not understand how it happened. I don’t question my Creator. I did as I felt led. The one thing I did not count on was a sudden divorce. After being married for quite a few years, my life suddenly came to a standstill. Please don’t ever think a marital breakup does not affect other people outside the marriage. I know the hardship extends its reach far and beyond the severing of the ties of a couple.

I can’t explain it all without writing a book, but I can say that my divorce was like a slow bleed in my life. I watched myself lose one thing after another. One of my divorce terms was I had to refinance my home in my name if I wanted to keep it. I had to keep it for my children, so I did what I had to do. Yet, no matter how hard I tried, I could not maintain everything on my own. I lost the equity line of credit through the refinance that helped support my business start-up and anything else when I needed it.

No matter how hard I tried, I could not keep up with the looming needs of my home, my family, and my business. I lost the company next. I cried for days in my office before I could even tell the landlord I would have to leave. On top of losing my business, I found out my new refinanced mortgage was running backward. During the 2008 housing crisis, when so many people were being foreclosed upon, I was soon to learn I had to be one of them. My home loan balance was getting bigger and not going down with payments, and the bank would not refinance me again with a new business loss. All they wanted to do was foreclose anyway. Foreclosure was the goal, and they got what they wanted. I lost my home. Even worse, my family lost their home too. The word depression does not even describe what I felt. I remembered when God had told me once, “If I should find myself waking up sitting in darkness, then He would be the Light that raises me up and pulls me through.” I held onto this promise for a very long time. I have survived. The only thing I have not been able to recover from was my healing center loss. For over a decade, I have not been able to come to the point of rebuilding it. There is no doubt, God has taken care of me, and I have taken care of myself. I have had to jump over more obstacles than I ever imagined. Still, I would do anything to reopen my place of peace and healing physically in this world again.

I need the work I do. My work sustains my heart and gifts me with a sense of passion and purpose in life. Without it, I still struggle with an emptiness that never seems to go away. I believe in universal law, God’s blessings on life, restoration of what has been lost, and the love of a Creator who never could let me down. This is the hardest blow in my life since I lost my son. I need my healing work to resume. I need to be the spiritual guidance counselor, the life coach, the hypnotherapist, and the energy master I have always been. This is my purpose, my passion, my reason for being present. Without my full purpose played out on this earth, I still grieveā€¦

Accept and Empower “The Divorced”

1747132-broken-wedding-rings-in-divorceThis morning I was sipping on my usual cup of coffee just beginning my day as consciously as I can, when I stumbled upon an article, “What the Divorced Christian Wants You to Know”.

As I read the article an old familiar road block started to take over my insides as I reflected with an agreeing nod upon my own past experience as a divorced woman. Divorce is a hard thing to experience in this life. No one that I have ever met goes into a marriage with a conscious decision to someday divorce. Most women have high hopes for love, security, sense of family, and dedication. We are created in this world with the instinct to “couple”, and I believe that instinct is in all women whether that life choice is made or not.

I remember a time when I was seeking my first ordination and my admittance to seminary. I was very passionate about seeking and serving the God I have come to love and respect. The task was not as easy as I thought it would be in light of the belief I held that everyone should have the opportunity to serve God. Much to my dismay I learned that “I was divorced” by many organizations not to mention I was a divorced “woman”. I was coming up against a double hitter of rejection there. I did eventually find a ministerial organization who took me in as a divorced woman and gave me the blessing of theological education and also ordination. An opportunity to marry my Lord in an official way was not one I took lightly divorced or not. The situation begged to answer the question, “Am I less worthy to serve God because I am divorced”? This is not just an isolated incident. Later on in life when I was seeking my Master’s Degree in Christian counseling I was also rejected by a Christian university for the same reason.

Allow me to enlighten any of you who really desire to know about divorce and the process. Not only do we not go into a marriage with the idea of divorce on our minds, but who on earth would even purposely want that grief? Divorce is a loss and a very deep grief, no matter how much we might feel we need the process at the time. A divorced woman (or any person for that matter) has been grieving all along. A marriage does not just end, it has been in a process of ending. The process of coming to the final decision of divorce is a very difficult one. Then after all is said and done there is a grief period afterward as well. We allow grief time for most losses in this world but not many recognize the grief process in divorce. We grieve not just the marriage, but connected family, future possibilities, and also our hopes and dreams we have worked hard for. It is a severing of the physical things in this world and the soulful.

I’ve said all of this to state, “please be compassionate to the divorced woman”. For heaven’s sake, accept her and empower her to continue and finish strong. If you have never experienced divorce, kudos to you! What a blessing to never have to endure the grieving and loss that divorce causes. If you can’t empower her, at least give her the benefit of the doubt. No one ever knows the inner workings of another person’s relationship. That divorced woman in front of you might have endured severe abuse. Do we really want to abuse her more by rejecting her? I hope not. Don’t deny her the ability to better herself, but in fact, give to her a hand up in this world. She does not want your pity either. Offer her your compassion instead. I know whomever she is, she will love you for it!

 

Em-powerfully Yours,

Rev Jenine Marie Howry

“A divorced, and remarried, empowered woman”

 

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