Dragons are About

I have dragons on the brain. Specifically, I’m imagining a scarlet-backed, small-winged beast about 4 feet tall. He’s a bit grumpy at times, but we’ve been living together for awhile now, and I’m gradually learning the art of sharing my life with him.
A recent sermon by Alex Riegel, Feeding the Purple Dragon, crystallized my process of coming to terms with my separation from my husband of 15 years and upcoming divorce. To briefly summarize the 30 minute sermon, dragons are those people, events, and situations we face that, if ignored, grow larger and more troublesome. We often do just that, pushing the issue away from our minds in an attempt to avoid pain and conflict within our selves or with the dragon itself. Or we try to slay the dragon, but this is a rather messy and ineffective way to go through life. The radical alternative? Learn to accept the presence of the dragon: learn its habits, its feeding needs, and live accordingly.

The divorce process itself is one of my dragons. He’s not my ex-husband-to-be. He’s divorce and all it’s layered meanings to me. My first head-on encounter occurred when the papers arrived. Sword in hand, I railed against him, but he joined my household anyway. Dealing with the legal end of this process, face-to-face or from my home, can leave me in a cold sweat. Impatient claw clicks grow louder as the Judgement of Divorce statement sent from my lawyer sits in my inbox, needing comments and revisions from me. Once I look at him head on, read the papers, fill in the necessary blanks, and send them off, he retreats, returning to his spot in the house.

At points, my sadness about this divorce overwhelms me, tears flow and sobbing leaves me exhausted. Following my honest acceptance of my feelings about this life change, he actually shrinks a bit. When fear of the future floods my system, he feeds heartily, growing more threatening as my anxiety deepens. Only when I can face his gaping maw, brimming forth with smoke and oppressive heat, does he back away, having seen the strength I possess. He requires honest acknowledgement and forward motion to maintain an even temperment.

My dragon’s not leaving. Divorce is forever with me and my children. Living with it peacefully, repecting it’s reality and responding honestly without excessive anxiety is the choice I’ve made. I’ve layed down my sword and face my newest resident accordingly.

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