Thursday, November 29, 2007

Painfully Real

I know that this world is full of sin. I know that since the very beginning things have been messed up and distorted and so incredibly NOT the way God intended them to be. I KNOW that. But man if it doesn't feel like a gigantic sucker punch to the gut when reminded that all that destruction and pain lies right inside your tiny little world.

I don't know why I continue to cling to the notion that once a christian you are safe from the hurt and lies and total chaos of sin; okay maybe not totally safe, but perhaps like a mini force field is protecting you just a tad? Like we are not quite as susceptable to temptation as the rest of the vulnerable world. Latley I have been reminded a couple times over just how close to home sin can creep it's little claws and my heart has just been aching as I survey the aftermath.

If I can draw one itty bitty good from all the pain I've been witnessing, it's this slow and steady development of compassion in my own heart. Like little petals being peeled back I have noticed this protective layering I have hidden behind being torn away as I begin to truly understand that these 'horrific' committers of these 'unimaginable' sins are PEOPLE, just like me. They are caught up in something they never intended, they are victims of the fall and they no more woke up one morning thinking they were going to destroy all that was good and happy in their families and lives, than I woke up this morning deciding today would be a good day to puke my guts out. (Yeah, the flu has hit us hard, bluck!)

I just don't usually allow myself to acknowledge how possible it would be for me to fall victim to certain temptaions and sins that I find unbelievable and so 'out there'. I don't allow myself to see that the people caught up in such webs are not always monsters, but often just one stupid choice away from exactly like me. Like I said, lately I have not been given the option of squeezing my eyes quite so tightly shut and it has been good for me. Painful; but good.

Because it hasn't made me soft on the idea that these horribly hurtful and wrong choices are contrary to God's design and heart and plan for us. It hasn't made me question whether I should stop calling these certain things sinful and wrong and unacceptable. It just makes me realize I better stay waaay down off that high horse in thinking I'm not just as capable of falling just as far; in the blink of an eye. It makes me hurt for ALL people involved in messy sin. It makes me want to fall on my knees and beg Jesus to forgive us for making such a terrific mess of His creation and sacrifice. Latley my heart has been overflowing with compassion and grief; and as painful as it is... I guess it's probably alot closer to the state of Christ's heart than my pre - reality check, pride soaked one. So if there is something to be thankful for; I suppose it's that.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Always Trusts, Always Hopes

On the inside on my wedding ring there is a ridiculously cramped, tiny inscription with the words always trusts, always hopes. Ryan's ring (in much prettier, more legible script - because of the difference in widths) says always protects, always perseveres.

We chose these four words because they are at the end of the love chapter; and we, engaged and clearly experts in the art of love, knew just how important and key they would be in our marriage. For me to trust Ryan's leadership and remain hopeful despite any circumstances, for him to protect the health of our family and fight for it at all costs.

Oh, for the long lost wisdom of engagement.

*Incase you didn't pick up on the sheer irony of that statement let me assure you it was there. Because it doesn't matter that we actually were right back then; I could have been right all week long and twice on Sundays about marriage and spirituality and communication (infact I'm pretty sure in my mind I WAS); and it wouldn't change the fact that I simply HAD NO IDEA HOW HARD IT ALL WOULD BE.*

Well I was reminded of my tiny inscription this morning in our women's bible study as we convieniently studied L..O..V..E. Funny how in Jr High and highschool AND college, the 'love' series' we went through were always best attended and met with this silly inward giggle of hope and excitement and expectancy; like I was about to hear some secret code to a life of pure bliss and sugary sweets. Someone should have knocked me upside the head, "We're not talking about EROS people!" the bible barely addresses Eros, and even just 5 years into marriage, I can tell you point blank that love, is CLEARLY not just about Eros! ... but anyway...

As we again dove into the Love Chapter, I began to look at my ring and think about all the very obvious, purposeful, stubborn ways that I have been refusing to really love my husband anymore. And specifically even in the ways that at one time I felt so passionate and 'soap box-ish' about that I chose them to lay permanently pressed against my finger.

I have been failing to trust him. Not really as much in the ways and places he leads us, although that is often somewhere I poke and prod my ever so innocent opinions. But moreso in that I have slowly stopped trusting him with my insides, with my vulnerability, with my unplanned, unthought through rawness. I don't award him the credit that if I do not have my exact point and argument and 5 point list all prepared, he will still hear me and be soft towards me and stll allow me those feelings. If I do not clearly know what I am thinking or feeling (which let's face it, I hardly ever do) then I will be quiet and not tell him a thing about it. I don't trust him to be a part of my process anymore and so many things have suffered because of it.

And I have been failing to be hopeful. I have been failing miserably and not even noticing.

I am melancholy, I am sad, I am tired and frusterated and I have given up... at least he has every right to think I have. I give no indication that I believe our communiaction can get better again, I give no glimpse of understanding that this time of life, with small children around our ankles, might play into the difficulty and it is not that we, as a couple, are just hopelessly broken and beyond repair. I have resolved that things are hard and my attitude is to suck it up and deal with it; you won't find the sparkling eyes of anticipation at our house unless you look at our wedding album. I promised 5 years ago that I would be the voice of hope and positivity in our marriage and I have not been. Not even close; I haven't even been trying.

I think I have lost my ability to be silly, which requires both trust and hopefullness. I reserve my silliness for my children and then effectively turn it off and hand the responsability over to my husband the minute he gets home from work. It's now his turn to be silly with them and I need to finally be serious. What a fun home he must live in.

So here I am this afternoon, feeling like a little bit of fog has lifted from my eyes and knowing some of the steps I must take to begin re-living my vows. I am going to try, I will purpose to move forward with this conviction and clarity. But, this... this is hard friends, so much harder than I could have ever guessed. Because I can write this all, I can think it and say it to friends, but I feel like the claws of habit have sunk deep deep down and have this grasp I can't really get out of. Why, when he walks in the door can it feel like a touch of softness towards him, if not returned, just might actually rob me of my last breath of air?