Sunday, July 25, 2010

With This Trial Comes Clarity

It's funny how the worst of circumstances can sometimes force you to look inward in ways you'd forgotten you knew how.

Over the last two weeks my marriage came to an end. Well, that's debatable - over the last 24 months at least though my wife now claims it was over from the beginning. Anyway, she finally let on how she really felt about things and bailed. In the meantime, I've been packing her belongings (mostly so she'll be here less time than if she did it herself) and seeing reminders big and small of almost nine years of marriage. As I've packed, I've made mental and physical notes of these reminders so that I can revisit them in a more serene setting a few months from now and see what it was that I had in my marriage (rather than what I thought I had). Some of those reminders leave a far clearer impression in hindsight than they did when they happened or when I first learned of them.

My almost ex-wife lives to recapture a past (and create a future) that only exists in her imagination. Whether it's the bands she was into or the friends and experiences she claims made her free (with chains of irresponsibility, licentiousness, and moral turpitude), she has sporadically but steadfastly held to those experiences as being the 'best time of her life'. Except for when she hasn't and instead lamented them as wasted years of unhappiness and missed opportunities. Which were they? I guess it was up to her to decide and in the end she sided with her natural man. ("I was a FRICKIN AWESOME artist on dope!")

As I sit here among the wreckage I am reminded of my failings along the way. Too intense. Too serious. Too demanding in expecting that we live to a higher standard, even when I sometimes failed myself to reach it. I'm not as judgmental as my wife would insist, but I have always expected the best from those around me when I saw they had the ability to do so, as I have from myself. I don't see it as hypocritical to posit a difference between weakness and willful rebellion. I picture the first being only too common (and forgivable), while the latter is a whole 'nother kettle of fish. My heart still stings at the thought of times in my own life where I chose my path knowing that it was the wrong one. I regularly pray that the Lord will change my heart to prevent me from ever doing it again and my desire for that to be so has grown stronger and become more real over the past several years. I don't get those who race toward those choices as if their lives depended on it. I doubt I ever will.

So what am I left with? A home I will soon lose. A car I pray will make it another few years until I can afford another one. A house full of junk that I can't take with me into the two bedroom apartment I'm afraid I won't be qualified to rent. Friends and family who love me and are praying for me, but who have lives with families, jobs, mortgages, and trials of their own to navigate. And the best for last; two of the most awesome human beings ever to be born. My sons, whom I love with all my heart, and who make every other trial I (think I) have fade in comparison to the love I feel for them.

I know my wife and I made those boys, but God sent them to us. With them came a responsibility that I feel at the core of my being. They were our responsibility. Eventually, they will be in charge of their own lives and choices, but it was up to us to get them there with the best tools possible to ensure they both have success in their endeavors. My wife has come to the point where my presence in her life is more unwelcome than the boys' presence in her every day life is welcome. That's her choice, but I won't give up my duty (or desires) because of it. I never would.

So the boys and I move forward. Our family prayers have taken on a new tone and spirit since mom left. We have work to do and will move forward trusting in the Lord to guide our way. At this point I'm comfortable with that.


Anonymous said...

>As I sit here among the wreckage

As Elder Maxwell said many years ago, a lot of walls have to be knocked down before a cottage can be remodeled into a mansion (or something like that).

Unfortunately, we all too frequently need a divine boot to the head (I have permanent dents) before we are able to get an accurate view of ourselves, and of the remodeling that needs to be done. Whether it's the deluded belief that our days of immorality and irresponsibility were our days of freedom or the simple inability to see the "one thing thou lackest," complete honesty with ourselves, with others, and with God is the first step toward change, growth, and peace.

The Atonement is the perfect rebuilder, though. It can take every pain and sorrow, past and present, and turn it into glory. It's strange that we have to be ground down so much before we're willing to accept that gift (really, truly, honestly, and fully accept that gift) from our Savior.

Most of us really are morons.

Old Man C said...

I know that moron feeling! I had too many self inflicted dents by the time I realized I needed to try another way. And even that hasn't prevented me from racking up a few more.

I struggle with what to do now. Do I tell my wife's family what is really going on in the hopes of someone getting through to her? Or do I let go and watch as she continues in some seriously self destructive behavior? It would be hard for me to exaggerate the depths to which she has already sunk. The least she would most likely lose at this point is her church membership... I look at our kids and think of what we had and wonder which would be worse, staying involved or letting go?

Free2bMommy said...

I am extremly glad that you visited my blog and hope its okay that I jumped right on in to yours. Its strange the way our lives, perceived needs and wants, change over the years. Sometimes the best thing is to let people make their own mistakes in their own journeys, no matter how destructive we may see it to be. I know that sounds simple, but it is very difficult and honestly, sometimes in dealing with deep rooted relationships, simple is better.

I hope you dont mind, I am going to add you to my google reader, and hope things take on a direction for you that suits you, for the moment anyway.

Damn, I just had a really serious moment...dont tell anyone okay?!