In the days before steam power, anyone
crossing the oceans had to be prepared for times when lack of wind
caused progress to be measured more by the centimetre than the
kilometre. Prolonged periods of being becalmed did not, of course,
usually prevent the ship from reaching its destination.
When something precious comes to an
end, we may find ourselves tempted to slump into the slough of
despond. Alternatively, we may want to throw ourselves into new
projects or relationships, as if to reassure ourselves that we still
have a role to play, or that we can still sustain an intimate
relationship. All such feelings are entirely understandable - but it
is as well to realise that impatience at this point can not only
lead us into real danger, but can also cause us to miss out on other
things the Lord has in mind for us.
At a subconscious level what may be
happening is that we are trying to "get our own back" on the Lord
for allowing such losses to come our way.
We are usually aware deep down,
however, that our temptation to throw ourselves into some
potentially short-term relationship may be nothing more than an
attempt to compensate for the loss we have experienced. We must give
God time to find His own unique way to fill the hole that has been
Some men plunge too quickly into new
relationships in order to fulfil their own needs and sense of
loneliness, but in the process leave their children feeling as
though this new relationship "invalidates" the original marriage. At
the very time when the children are still profoundly grieving the
mother they have just seen taken from them, they feel now as though
they are losing their father too.
It is important to remember that many
psychologists consider adolescence to continue until the age of
twenty five - in which case it would be a mistake to think that it
is only young children who are affected by such decisions. In
extreme cases lasting damage can be inflicted, causing the children
to doubt all loving relationships, as well as the accuracy of their
childhood recollections. There are no formulas here; only a great
need to be led by the Spirit and careful in our communication.