Let it be written. Let it be done. Let it be so.
Those were the final words that came to me for the end of a marriage vow release ceremony. Divorce can feel like a dirty word in our culture. This ceremony gave us hope and faith that the future is full of unlimited potential and possibility.
Face the pain. Look at what you are avoiding and refuse to see. Not looking is what causes so much suffering for current and future generations.
Her words kept repeating and I thought again about the day ahead. What if we faced the reality of the depth and meaning in this day? Even though it would be easier to look away and pretend that it was just another family day out, it was denying the deeper significance in the life of our family and each one of us.
The image of my teenage son came to mind as I thought about his future relationships. If he avoids looking at the truth and feeling the feelings, even though they may hurt, then he may learn to avoid truth and feeling, rather than see the value and beauty of turning around to look into the abyss and realize that you can feel and absorb the emotions, and let them move in and through you.
We can face what we do not want to see. We can do it with courage and grace, and come out on the other side with more strength and resilience because we did not let ourselves be bullied or intimidated by fear into hiding or numbing ourselves.
With that thought, the words of what I call a “Release Ceremony” came gently to me. I could see our family at the water’s edge, speaking true forgiveness, honoring those who had been with us along the journey, and offering a blessing for the future. It felt like I was being given a glimpse into a sacred space of ceremony by a Spirit greater than myself, greater than all of us, who held our past, present and future as sacred and beautiful.
So I began to write down the words, the rituals and the gestures that I was being shown. Tears fell as I wrote because I knew the power of this type of releasing, and I knew that it was exactly what needed to happen to continue the repair and healing process in each of our hearts, minds and souls.
Barely twelve hours later, we were walking out the ceremony as I had seen in my vision. We were alone on the beach. The weather, which had been mild up until we started, began to rage. Dark clouds loomed and a grey fog appeared, blocking out the sun. The waves were crashing into the rocks with such force that rocks were being thrown across the street. The water was rising so high within the cave that it threatened to drench anyone who went near. The rains pouring from the sky were huge drops, like tears of someone watching the moment unfold.
We invited a kind and warm-hearted friend to be our “officiant” to step in and guide us through the ceremony. The storm outside reflected the storm raging inside as we all grappled with the mixed feelings and emotions of a marriage coming to an end. From grief, loss, sorrow, sadness, anger, resentment, and relief, we allowed them to rise like the waves and crash on the shore, then roll out to join the expanse of the ocean. Again and again the emotions crashed in and threatened to overwhelm, and then they would subside, with a gentle touch, a warm embrace, a loving look.
Divorce evokes feelings of failure, grief, betrayal, loss, and pain. Whether it’s mutual or one-sided, there is a pulling away from what was once joined. If there are children involved, it can make the process even more challenging and heartbreaking.
This moment, this time, this ceremony was sacred. It felt like a divine gift for each of us to experience. Now it feels like a gift that I have been given to share with others who may find their own way to face the things they don’t want to see, and allow the hurt and pain to find their way into the light and be released.