The time leading up to the divorce and the years that followed did much harm to the relationship I had with my children. Let’s just say there were a lot of impressions true or not that were seeded in the minds of my children. A year after the divorce announcement, my relationship with my children was on the brink of total ruin. Part of it I blame on my ex-wife but most of it on myself. With me it had more to do with my inability to emotionally or even intellectually deal with this upheaval in my life.
The events that occurred that first day changed everything for me and my children and a large part of my extended family. Mostly my in-laws, who basically do not speak with me anymore.
What was one to do. As a man I had to “fix” this situation. It needed to be discussed and talked about,While at some level that can help you, it does not always help those around you. I was overcome with fear and helplessness.
Some time later I had a moment of clarity. Some may call it a miracle. I am not sure what to make of it but it was moment when things started to clarify and the world seemed less bleak. It was an insight gained through a self help series. (ref: Fr Emmerich Vogt – Detachment with Love). His message was to detach with love. I needed to detach from my ex-wife’s opinions and actions and just do the “next right thing”. What she thought of me was none of my business anymore. Any response to her actions whether just or not would not be met with hate or vengeance. Why should I act out in response to her. The notion that became clear was that I had NO CONTROL over my current situation. There was NOTHING I could do to change this situation.
Additionally, I was experiencing fear. Fear of the unknown, fear of losing my children, fear of financial ruin.
I was listening to the CD’s on my way home when it happened. There was a moment of peace followed by the feeling that even though things were difficult this would eventually pass. My perceptions and reality were coming into alignment. When going through trauma like divorce, perceptions and reality can diverge. Prayer, mediation and good counsel can bring our perceptions into proper alignment. I was not losing my children, I still had a a good job, roof overhead and food on the table.
A friend of mine told me this today, and I am sure he stole it from someone. It was something like: human are the only beings who intentional get in the way of their own happiness and that our “thinking” is what keeps us from true greatness.
So what does any of this have to do with TV?
I don’t know why I like the show Smallville. Good over Evil. Super hero story. Are you kidding? It’s Superman! But truly Why does a 40 year old man watch Smallville, a TV show for teenagers? Because it’s super fun and teenage girls like it. My teenage daughter loved it and it became the “thing” around which our post divorce relationship flourished. .
Smallville was a show about teenagers and their teenage problems. It gave us lots of fodder for discussion that I am sure I would not have thought of on my own. . Most importantly it enabled me to be “present” to my daughter while remaining totally silent. I did not have to convince her of anything in those moments. I did not haver to explain anything. I did not have to defend myself against her mother. That coupled with some strategic shopping sprees and the latest version of the iPhone, today,has our relationship back on track.
Regardless of what one might think of TV, it was and is an important part of the relationship I have today with my lovely daughter Sarah.
There are a lot of people who like to say “We don’t watch much TV”, as some kind of badge of honor. Intellectually Sarah and I both know there are better things we could be doing with our time, but TV is fun and we both know it’s what brought us back together. We will always have “Smallville”
So all you TV naysayers out there don’t be to quick to judge us TV watchers. Lately I have been wondering, who knows, maybe TV could have saved my marriage.