Thursday, October 18, 2007

what lies beneath

My younger sister is going through a hideous divorce that has become Jerry Springer worthy in the past couple of weeks. It started out just Lifetime movie worthy, but my brother in law has developed the super power of transforming himself into "White Trash Man" so it's escalated to a whole new level.

It's gotten me thinking about why my marriage has survived all these years. Not just survived, but thrived. Both my husband and my brother in law were raised by decent, hard working people who loved God and their family. In fact, both my sister and I met our husbands in church. They did half their dating at our house. My husband actually married them. The strange thing is that the guy she's divorcing is so far from being the guy she married. That guy was gentle and kind, thoughtful, helped with the house work, remembered birthdays, anniversaries, & tolerated her evil cat that hated everyone but her. This guy stood up his daughters - who waited an HOUR for him on their front steps thank you - only to show up at the event with his most recent girlfriend. This guy has done things that sound like they're torn from a National Enquirer headline.

The whole situation is difficult to grasp, but it's also a cautionary tale for the rest of us. He didn't wake up one morning, transformed during the night into Bizarro Husband. It was a series of choices over the past several years that have brought him to this point. The impact of those baby steps has taken him away from being the Original Husband and brought him to this place. The Butterfly Effect. A ripple in a pond. The clich├ęs are obvious. There are so many deep, philosophical tangents this post could go. But, honestly, I'm not up to it. I don't need to go off into an existential rant on the impact of personal choice and the effect on everyone your life touches.

I've been struck lately by the current societal trend of a general lack of personal responsibilty. Nothing is our fault. Celebrities get away with DUI's, racist rants, and worse. "It's the papparazi." "There was no one to tell them "No"." "No one helped them set boundaries" "Fame was too much." Everyone has an excuse - it's just that most of us don't get the press coverage.

I think the bottom line is for us all to remeber to guard our hearts. Nobody plans to be a chain smoker or an alchoholic - or a serial adulterer. But, it doesn't just happen. My Pastor warns us not to let a foothold become a stronghold. Don't take for granted if your marriage is "working" or that you're in a "good place" today. It's a lot of work. A lot of work. But it's so worth it. It's those little choices, every day, that little drift in your conscience that make all the differnce.

I have this poem in a folder on my desktop entitled "for my funeral". I'm not morbid, and believe me, I have no immediate plans, but this my favorite e.e. cummings poem. I am not romantic - that would be Roy's gift - not mine - but this poem is perfect to me.

I carry your heart with me

i carry your heart with me (i carry it in my heart) i am never without it (anywhere i go you go, my dear; and whatever is done by only me is your doing, my darling)

i fear no fate (for you are my fate, my sweet) i want no world (for beautiful you are my world, my true) and it's you are whatever a moon has always meant and whatever a sun will always sing is you

here is the deepest secret nobody knows (here is the root of the root, and the bud of the bud, and the sky of the sky of a tree called life; which grows higher than soul can hope or mind can hide) and this is the wonder that's keeping the stars apart

i carry your heart (i carry it in my heart)

~ e.e. cummings

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

you remember it's a dog, right?

I've been out of the loop for awhile - we had 2 weeks of fun with friends from out of town, and I have had a hard time putting together coherent thoughts worth blogging. So, I dusted off a draft that's been sitting around for a couple of months, polished the turd, and here it is for your reading pleasure.

Don't get me wrong - I love my dogs. Yes dogs - thanks to my husbands' previously undiagnosed mental illness, we have two. Took me 15 YEARS to talk him into the first one, 6 months later, we have a second. But, that's a blog for another day. My problem is with people who forget they are pets, not family. Again, don't get me wrong - grooming for my dogs costs more than my hair cuts, and they sleep on my bed. They enjoy treats, have sassy, color coordinated collars and leashes. But they are pets. My wonderful sister was here a few weeks ago with her dogs - a Greyhound and an Italian Greyhound. The full size greyhound was great. The little one, although not mean, does not know he is a dog. I'm not sure my sister remembers either. We've talked about it, and it's become a bit of a family joke. Now she's pregnant with her first child, and I am fascinated to see how this will develop and her dog has to take second place to the child. Really. This is going to be a change of Biblical proportions. It's actually quite funny. I'm the oldest sister and had kids first, so, obviously, I got to make all the parenting decisions & mistakes first. Now, I get to watch the circus from the stands instaed of being in the center ring. Not that I'm anywhere nearly done - my girls are teens so I'm about to catapult into that madness - but it's interesting to watch.