“LOVE’S LOST AND FOUND” – A REFLECTION By Jean Bena Pedri

             It has been several years, but I still remember the emotional pain of my first Valentine’s Day separated.  Being flooded with the romantic Hallmark movies and being surrounded by flowers for everybody else made me want to scream.  I hit a point where I wanted nothing to do with neither men nor relationships.  As far as I was concerned, I was the victim and my ex-husband was the one who made all the mistakes.  I wanted to be a hermit, crawl into a hole, and focus on my children.  After my marriage broke, it was too risky to put myself out there or even focus on myself.  However, my ex was out there, and he had a girlfriend. I had no desire to be with him, but I was jealous that he was able to find someone else.  His someone else was not a home wrecker or horrible person.  She was the one that was meant to be his wife.

Eventually, I saw myself for who I was, who I wanted to be, and I worked towards my goals.  I realized that it takes two people to break a marriage.  I could keep being the victim or try to focus on myself.  All my time was focused on children.  As a teacher, I was ‘Ms.’ during the day.  As a mother, I was Mom after work.  I was running to babysitters, going to schools, designing lessons, and grading papers. I had become a great mom and teacher.  But what about me as a person?  I was extremely over weight and I was clearly not taking care of myself.  I was a heavy smoker and a shadow of what I once was. 

I decided to find myself.  Because of the divorce, I had every other weekend without children. I suddenly met up with old friends and made new ones.  I started to eat better, exercise, draw and paint again.   As I prayed more, my faith became stronger.  I even stopped smoking; which was something I never thought was possible.  I found myself again, and I loved who I was.

I dated and tried every way to find a great partner.  Even though, I tried online dating and being set up by friends, I could not find him.   Then when I was not looking, he found me walking in Fort Totten.  To this day, I thank God for that walk.  His name is Dave, and we just got married last July at St. Mel’s Church.  Dave and I love to spend time together.  From hanging out watching Netflix, to cheering for our girls, to exploring small towns, to just being held – he is the one for me. He inspires me and makes me try new things.  I feel blessed. 

We decided to celebrate Valentine’s Day this year by attending a St Paul’s Married Couples Retreat.  It was an amazing experience, that we highly recommend.  We learned how to improve our communication and our relationship with each other and God.  There were newlyweds to couples celebrating over 50 years.  We were impressed by how easy is was to share and reflect.  There were even some emotional moments that brought us all closer together.  We also really appreciated the extra tools to keep our marriage strong.  This retreat is yearly, and we have decided to return next year to celebrate Valentine’s Day again.   If you are married, I encourage you to attend. 

I may have lost myself, but I never lost my faith.  It was my faith that helped me find my way.  It was my strength when I was at my weakest.  Every year for Valentine’s Day, I always say a special prayer for the lost brokenhearted people out there. I am thankful for my life now, but I never forgot that pain. I even buy a bouquet of flowers for any women I know is currently facing a similar pain.

During this season of love, please remember the lost.  If you were lucky to be found, appreciate your blessing.  If you are of the one lost, have faith that you too will find your way.   God Bless.