Friday, December 7, 2012

Patience Rewarded

You may not have noticed, but I received a comment on Friday (7 December 2012) about a previous article on the Year of Waiting. In the comment the individual said... well, they asked... Ah forget it. I'll just copy the comment here and let you see it:
"Hi Mead, I'd love to hear of stories of 'successful' reconciliations as a result of the Year of Patience. In other words: do you know of stories where 'it worked' and can you share them? My husband is requesting the year of patience and I will do all I can to stay true to its spirit and to reconcile...Of course it does not only depend on me, and he seems determined to separate - but my hope had not completely died yet. Thanks."

That's what this article is in response to.

To start, let me remind you that this is just my own experience. It is nothing official, nor does it try to be comprehensive. I realize that every case is unique, just as every relationship is unique. What I am doing here is merely sharing a few of the example that I have seen in which couples have either reconciled or somehow become closer through obedience to the Year of Waiting.

To continue, let me also express my well-wishes to the woman who wrote this comment. My heart always goes out to anyone who is facing such a trial. The separation of a couple is, in my opinion, like the death of a family. It is for this reason that we go through the various stages of grief during this trying time.

Now, let me get on to the 3 stories I want to share. I will, of course, protect the anonymity of those involved, as I haven't gotten their permission to share these stories.

The first concerns a friend who I met when he came into my shop. I won't go into the details, but suffice it to say that we got on real well, and became good friends. He came over most every night for a few weeks, and it was during these evening discussion that I learned he was separated from his wife, although they were not yet divorced. It was also during this time that he began to learn about the Baha'i Faith. After those couple of weeks, he decided to become Baha'i.

Upon declaring, one of the first things he did was ask about the Baha'i laws regarding divorce, and wondered if the Year of Waiting would apply to him, as neither he nor his wife were Baha'i when they got married, nor was he a Baha'i when they separated. The local Spiritual Assembly met with him and said that they would backdate the beginning of his year to the date that he actually moved out.

My friend went back to his wife to explain that he had become Baha'i and wished to abide by the law regarding divorce. This intrigued her, so she began to investigate the Faith, formally declaring a short time later.

She was so impressed with his dedication that she began to re-examine why they had gotten married in the first place. Needless to say they got back together a few months later and have a very beautiful family.

That's my all-round happy story.

The second story is in regards to another friend who was Baha'i and separated from her husband. It was not a pleasant scene and things were very difficult for her. Unbeknownst to her, one of her good friends who helped her through this difficult time was actually falling in love with her. He, too, was Baha'i, and was very aware of the statements from the Guardian saying that we should not date other people during the Year of Waiting. He knew all about the Year being used to attempt reconciliation, and encouraged her to try her best, which she did. Whenever talks broke down he was there to pray with her and encourage her to not give up. He did all he could to try and help her repair her broken marriage.

When all this failed, and she did finally get divorced, he was still there by her side allowing her to cry on his shoulder. It was only after a suitable amount of time (what that means, I don't know), when she was ready to  consider another relationship, that he allowed his feelings for her to be known. And even then, he did this cautiously, supremely concerned about their friendship, wanting nothing to harm it.

They got married, and they, too, have a very beautiful family. They attribute the strength of their relationship to both of their obedience to her Year of Waiting.

While that second story is not about reconciliation, it is about success in regards to the Year of Waiting.

The third story is my own.

I was very happily married to a wonderful woman who had my deep admiration and love.

I was hoping to have a 3 or 4 children with her, but she was not overly fond of kids. She agreed that we would have 1. That was a compromise I could easily live with. However, we agreed to wait a few years before having a child, so that we could get comfortable in our marriage first.

After a few years we began to talk about the actuality of having a child, and she confessed that she did not think she would be able to go through with it. Much discussion and prayers followed, and it was recognized that this was an irreconcilable difference. We both knew that I could have talked her into it, but she would have been rightfully resentful. And we both knew that if I were to be denied the possibility of a child in my life, I would become resentful later. We looked at all the possible solutions, and nothing worked.

It was with deep sadness that we began our Year of Waiting.

Throughout this time we would frequently call on each other for comfort and solace. We cried on each other's shoulders more times than I can count, but still found no solution.

At the end of the Year, we were still very good friends, sad at the thought of divorcing, but aware that there was no other option.

Now, 20 years later, we are still good friends (although her current husband was uncomfortable with the thought that we were friends on Facebook, so we did unfriend each other in that forum), happily married to other people, and I have a wonderful son in my life.

Now, I could share other stories, but I have my last Christmas art sale this weekend, and I have to get ready for it. But I thought this was such an important request that I wanted to get something out there, for I remember how long a couple of days can seem during a Year of Waiting.

So there they are: 3 stories about Years of Waiting. Each very different, but I think they are all positive, giving hope to what may seem like a dark time in obedience to a law.

(I'll probably re-read this on Monday and make some serious editorial changes, but for now I'm off to sleep.)

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