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I must have been feeling extra sensitive last week, because someone accused me of “happy talk” and it just about sidelined me. I was so indignant I could hardly do more than sputter when I tried to tell Jason.
“A commenter over at Huffington Post accused me of happy talk!” I told him. “Happy talk! I am writing about how complex divorce is, and how much hard work it requires to make things right, and she says I’m coating the problems of divorce with ‘pink candy!’ Can you believe it?”
As I later realized, after some deep breaths, it’s a pretty funny thing to get worked up about. (Would I rather be accused of writing “sad talk?”) To be fair to me, I’m pretty sure the commenter didn’t intend “happy talk” as a compliment—not the first time she wrote it or the other half dozen times she came back to stick it to me again, in various ways.
Are silver linings just a sham?
The post was about ways to smooth the often bumpy summer logistics of blended families. In addition to “happy talk,” it got me accused of “denial,” a “1970s philosophy” (huh?), and not knowing “what the real world is like.” As someone who has been divorced, struggled with depression, survived single parenting, and had my fair share of “ugly issues” with my ex-husband, I guess I have a right to claim I know something about the real world.
But to be fair to the commenter, I did suggest in the article that there is a silver lining to all this mess—in this case, a great learning opportunity for everyone to practice and model communication, compromise and compassion. And that silver lining seems to be what she took the greatest issue with. (In fact, she wrote “there simply are no silver linings.”) For someone who has been through a divorce and never recognized (or maybe even hoped for) a silver lining, that could be a very tough thing to hear and accept.
A messy situation, redeemed (not candy-coated)
I admit—in many ways my life today seems too good to be true. But there’s no candy-coating the darkest moments of my life. For starters, the good isn’t a coating at all, it’s pure to the core. The good doesn’t erase or even cover the hard things—the two sit side-by-side: I know the pain, but I also know the healing. I know the hurt and the forgiveness. I know the loss of love, but also the discovery of a love better than I ever could have hoped for. I know what it is to be angry at God, but I also know the power of opening myself up to a redeemed, more whole life. There is the good and the bad—the good is just bigger, and has an irresistible sheen.
That’s why I try to write about both, but in the end, my goal is to leave hurting, weary, worried people with more hope than fear for their futures. More healing than hurt. More “happy talk” than “sad talk.” I will always do my best to give you “real talk,” but if you’re looking for something more down-and-out, you’re not going to find it here.