The Beauty of Things We Do Not Choose


by Paula Solis Anderson

I didn’t choose to get a divorce. It was a slow, at first unnoticeable demise of 17 years of marriage, a lack of gratitude, a loss of effort. It was painful and shocking to my 6 and 8 year-old daughters and I.

I read all the statistics on divorce and children, even had some relatives remind me of the damage I was causing my young children. What I didn’t realize, however, was the power of hard things. The beauty of the things we don’t choose, and the gifts that are revealed in us in these times.

Why don’t articles and relatives and statistics talk these things? While I grieved over the loss of my marriage and the pain I was putting my children through, something deep within each of us was evolving; emerging; this solid, anchor of a family and individuals and faith we can base our life off of, had begun to sprout–something akin, to a small daisy in a sidewalk crack.

Some of those beautiful things I learned:

  1. I am stronger then I knew, and my girls witnessed it. Getting a Master’s degree because I had no other option, quite frankly, sucked; but do you know what my children saw? Perseverance, strength; their mother’s tenacity to get up every morning at 5am and stay up until midnight to complete the hope of a future for her and her children.
  2. My kids are stronger than they knew. We did it. We got up each day, and pushed through school and holidays and events. We dug deep and found the strength to move, one day at a time.
  3. Hard work can result in a dreams come true. For me, college professor is mom’s dream realized.
  4. Even when life hands you lemons, it is up to you to decide what each day holds. “Happy is a choice” is my motto. You may not believe it, but I do. There is always something to smile about, even in the worst of times.
  5. Gratitude. Gratitude. Embrace it.
  6. Loving again is a decision. A thoughtful, careful, decision, but a decision a person who has been hurt can heal from and make.
  7. Love can be found again. To live with bitterness and hatred is to bind your self to a life of loneliness. To forgive is to be free.
  8. We can do hard things. This I borrowed from Momastery’s Glennon Doyle:  but my girls and I chanted it many times over the last five years, and it helped.
  9. Lastly, family is the greatest gift we have in this world. Respect it and one another.
  10. Some days just suck. Some days it is best to crawl into bed, pull the blankets over your head, and try again tomorrow. There will be bad days. I tell myself, I tell my kids, “I love you. You are valued, and cherished, tomorrow will be a new day, now go to bed.”

These lessons, this beauty, unchosen.View More:

I’m getting married in a month. It feels redemptive and gracious and freeing all wrapped into one. My girls adore him, and he is the kindest person I have ever met. While I would never in a million years, want to walk through anything as painful as what I have experienced, there were gifts, I can see now. The beauty was there, in this painful mash of emotion and will and struggle,..the beauty will be there. I promise you; as you don’t give up and look forward.


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