Monday, August 17, 2009

Where were we?

A couple weeks ago, when the boys were away at camp, one of my friends came over to hang out. We sat on my sofa and were talking about the mystery of all the time that went into our relationships, into the mirage that nothing was wrong. "Where was I all those years?" she has asked herself, and to some degree, I have wondered the same thing.

There was a time a couple of years back, when I was so frustrated with trying to do the right thing, to be a good wife, to figure out what else I needed to do better to make things work. It was impossible, and I had reached the point of being angry. Angry with myself, and angry with God, because I felt compelled to keep trying to make the marriage commitment work but God was not helping. At least that's what I felt at the time.

My friend Barb pointed me then to the words of Joel "I will repay you for the years the locusts have eaten." (Joel 2:25). There's so much poetry in the Old Testament; I suspect sometimes that it was first my love of the the language that drew me into Scripture. Notice it's not only labor and sustenance that have been consumed, but the years, the incalculable quantity of life that was taken.

Yesterday there were actually moments when I stopped to be conscious of being in the present, without daydreaming or worrying, and it didn't hurt. It was amazing. Today, the pain is back in full force but it's okay. There will be more of those moments, I am sure of it. Somehow I have joy at the same time that I am aware of hurting. Last night I took the advice of my counselor, Hero, and "wrote from the pain," something that we usually avoid by instinct. When we do it, though, write or paint or make music, whatever the channel is for us, from a place that we want to avoid, that is completely the right choice. It is the source of my hope for redemption of the years that were lost, not just starting over with nothing, but turning the loss itself to a purpose.
Pain is filtered in a poem until it becomes in the end, finally, pleasure.
-- Mark Strand

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