I’m a cultural Christian rather than a practising one, but last Easter Sunday, I attended a short service, held at dawn on Easter Sunday morning, on a beach on an island off the West Coast of Scotland, with my – very happily – married friend.
It was beautiful. About thirty of us gathered in a circle. A man in shorts and t-shirt led the service, while a woman played guitar. Various others offered prayers, readings and hymns.
And then the minister, a woman around her fifties, with more than a passing resemblance to Dawn French’s Vicar of Dibley, gave a short talk.
Someone had asked her the most common phrase in the Bible. After some research, she discovered it was Be Not Afraid.
Fear paralyses, she warned. So…Be Not Afraid.
Later that day, my friend and I took the ferry off the island and drove north to Inverary. En route, we drove through Kilmartin Glen and passed the ancient hill fort of Dunadd. My ex and I had driven past the site many times. I’d always wanted to stop, climb to the top and place my foot in the ancient stone footprint… but, for various reasons, we never did.
This time… well this time was different. My friend and I started climbing, and although it’s not very high – you could easily see the people at the top – we both got a bit anxious. My feet kept sliding on the rocks and she has vertigo. We decided to abandon our attempt and started back down the hill. Then we stopped. If we gave up now, how would that make us feel? We’d probably never get the chance again.
We looked at each other and repeated the words from that early morning beach service. Be. Not. Afraid.
We took our time – trying to ignore how lightly children and their parents zipped by us – but we did it. We got to the top. The view was amazing, but the sense of achievement even greater.
Be. Not. Afraid.
The aftermath of grey divorce – or any divorce – is awful. Just awful. You are going to get hit with so many horrors – emotional, financial and even physical – it may be hard to believe that the person you loved has the ability to put you through it all.
But they will.
And although you may fall apart at times, you will emerge from this stronger than you could have imagined.
BE. NOT. AFRAID.