A quandary is a state of perplexity over what to do in a difficult situation and getting a divorce is certainly a difficult situation. Even now, talking about it I feel so conflicted.
“Surely if we have learned anything from the history of morals it is that the thing to do with a moral quandary is not to hide it.” HLA Hart. So here I am talking about my moral quandary.
There were many things about my divorce that were fabulous although I’ve mainly been writing about the hardships, the difficulties, the family struggling to remain a family, the inappropriate advances by men, the suspicious landlords, the judgemental religious groups, and more. Despite all that it really was a time when I felt such a surge of energy and excitement as I hadn’t felt in years. My enthusiasm for life soared and I enjoyed everything – from the crummy job that paid a pittance (because I had no idea how to negotiate) to the attic apartment on a roof, bohemian and pretty but bitterly cold in the winter and exposed to the elements like a rat in a desert without a tree kind of heat in the summer. Even the fact that I couldn’t get into the kitchen without wedging myself past the hob was fun. I simply didn’t go into the kitchen except to boil water for tea and coffee and wash my salad leaves. It was liberating and funny and I was so exhilarated by doing exactly as I felt like doing that I didn’t even notice what anyone else thought of me. And they had plenty of opinions, as I’ve written time and again on this blog.
I just have to quote Charles Dickens opening lines of A Tale of Two Cities because they sum up my quandary so beautifully
“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of light, it was the season of darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair.” Charles Dickens
Yes, side by side with the wisdom that came from prayer I was also pulling off many seemingly foolish things – and with the light and hope there was the darkness and despair of the end of a marriage, of an epoch. I was often in a quandary about what I was feeling. Quite simply, I felt good most of the time, but I was supposed to feel bad.
Luckily I was never in a quandary over the actual divorce. I knew I wanted one, I’d tried to communicate my needs but it hadn’t worked and I was done trying by the time we separated. But I watch people around me who are struggling with their marriages and are still in a quandary about what to do with their unhappiness. In that situation they tell themselves they should try harder but without their heart fully in it their ’trying’ is hollow and they soon revert to simply wishing that things were different.Things may get better with dedicated endeavour from everyone involved. And if they don’t then we’re back to the quandary of – should I stay or should I go?
Never have I been glad or sad
That there was such a thing as bad.
There had to be, I understood,
For there to have been any good.
It was by having been contrasted
That good and bad so long had lasted.
That’s why discrimination reigns.
That’s why we need a lot of brains
If only to discriminate
‘Twixt what to love and what to hate.
To quote the oracle at Delphi,
Love thy neighbour as thyself, aye,
And hate him as thyself thou hatest.
There quandary is at its greatest.
We learned from the forbidden fruit
For brains there is no substitute.
This is the Q post for the A to Z Challenge. You can click the link in the badge above to find out more. My theme for the Challenge is the Lexicon of Leaving