Well, my cousin and his wife (the ones I wrote about in the last three posts) have written a good deal more about their lives and marriage in the last few days. And it appears, to me at least, like they have two very different perspectives on what happened, where things are now and what will happen next. The wife gives the impression that she is somewhat confident divorce is in the cards for them.
Gosh, I don’t like it. But, if they do divorce, I can only hope that it’s as amicable as can be expected and I hope they both move on in healthy ways afterwards…
And at any rate, it’s all still shocking to me.
Also, I noticed a few slight differences in my view of God from them in their posts (along with some meaningful similarities). For example, have you heard of the Bride of Christ Movement or the Bridal Paradigm? It’s been around for decades now and the basic tenets of that movement were explained to me when I was growing up. Anyway, my cousin’s (possibly ex?) wife seems to be rooted in the notions that movement espouses. I respect that, but…I certainly am not one to agree with that interpretation of that part of the Bible… To me, there are romantic, equal, human relationships that are God ordained and that are meant to be wildly fulfilling in a way that I do not believe Jesus was ever intended to be. But…either way, I hope she eventually finds an equal, loving, and beautiful romantic relationship with someone someday that mirrors the one she feels she has with Christ. And I’m not sure if my cousin agrees with her seeming take on that particular Christian movement, but I hope he too finds an equal, romantic human relationship that is Godly and deeply and profoundly satisfying as well… Those sort of romances are much too rare this side of paradise, but…not impossible.
Basically, I just want them to be happy. And the thing is, while that sounds so cliché I don’t think it is, because to be truly happy is so difficult. …Perhaps that’s where I’m in agreement with them in the sense that I believe God is the foundation of being genuinely happy. Some call faith the opiate of the masses, but I think people need something deeper than the material world to cling to and embrace in order to enjoy life to the fullest and be healthiest. And it’s hard for a lot of people to appreciate and respect the wonder of humanity without seeing it in the context of something greater than itself. Of course, faith can be perverted but, so can everything else sadly… Give people a chance and someone somewhere will ruin almost anything useful, enriching and good.
This evening I had dinner with my father and my husband. My feelings were so mixed.
I thought of my cousin and his ex and his family and their deep personal pain and doubt. I thought of other people I know who are currently suffering in some way that I am not. I thought of the many who didn’t eat tonight. (that latter group is on my mind more than I bet a lot of people realize) And I felt a haunting sadness combined with some variety of guilt. It was kind of like survivor’s guilt, maybe.
Either way, I told my father I was feeling guilty and he said two things. First: “Well, thankfully, your cousin has a good and loving immediate family. They’ll be there for him. He’s very fortunate in that way. ” And that reminder made me feel a little better… Family, at its best, is a reflection of the divine indeed.
Then he told of his vacation to San Francisco a short while back to visit his oldest brother’s wife’s sister (my aunt’s sister) who lives out there some of the time with her husband. He’s a retired surgeon and she is a retired nurse researcher and they have a place in the Midwest and one in San Francisco. I met her at least once when I was spending time with my aunt and I adored her… My oldest uncle’s wife is a rare and beautiful soul and her whole family seems and seemed to also be.
But my father said that while he still enjoyed California, he was depressed out there now. He said that he was deeply disturbed by the extremes – the extreme wealth combined with the vast amount of homelessness and poverty. He said he couldn’t handle living in the midst of that… He said it was too demoralizing to see for too long.
Seattle actually felt a bit like that at times to me…
But he went on to hint that it’s important to not become stuck on extremes. And that giving too much of the wrong sort of attention to tragedy gives it too much power. It’s good to be compassionate but it’s important not to let your grief destroy you from the inside out.
But really, you have to take the darkness of night with the light of day. Right? Pain, grief and sadness are real and too often too present, but, again, focusing on that is dangerous. We have to have to focus on goodness and light (God) in order to have anything of value to share… Right? We have to remember what’s right with the world so as not to be swallowed up or overwhelmed by the incredible amount of evil. We can only do our part, but that’s not a meaningless thing. Not at all.