I think it's time to stop and take stock. Maybe not today, but in the near future. As we come up on the new year and on Joanne's second srtokeaversary (more on this later) I think I need to take a good, solid look back at the last two years. I'll blog about it when I get there. I really want to process through what we have learned, what we have done right and what we've done wrong and what we what to change. I don't want to live an unexamined life.
Well, let me be more honest: there is a part of me that just doesn't want to to know how I have blown it over the last years. I already, just off the top of my head, can cringe at some of the decisions that I've made. I can think of damaged relationships, poor parenting moments and times when I haven't been the husband that I would want to be. Seems like those moments really pop out while the good stuff I think I've been able to do fades--the good stuff doesn't seem to carry the same weight as the bad stuff. The bad rises to the surface because the good is the "expected" behavior and, not celebrated (that would be arrogance). While the bad stuff is an indicator of lack of faith and poor character.
An example: compare these two sentences;
"I can't believe he left her after all she's been through."
"I can't believe he stayed with her after all she's been through."
The two seemingly similar sentences couldn't ben more different. The first one, I think I believe someone would say that in real life. The second one? Not so much because the expectation is there for doing the right thing. Whoever did that second thing would be a class A creep! And I honestly believe that to break a vow like the one we say about caring for each other in sickness and in health is a really big one. I think there is a special place that people go who abandoned a disabled child or spouse. I don't want to ever, ever go there!
Why is that? To be honest, I think I am a break-even kind of guy. I am about half good and half trianwreck. I know that there are "theological" answers for this position--I have been steeped in evangelical christianity so I know about how we are all sinful, and fall short of the glory of God--we are human so it is our nature to blow it. But I am seeing something more then that. I am seeing poor choices and poor motivations as indicators of my humanness and the good stuff I have done I have to chalk up to God's help, the the spirit in me. So essentially I have to own the bad stuff as my own selfish humanness, but the good stuff isn't about me, it's about God in me. Hmmm...is that really it? I get the blame but none of the credit? I am all evil and God is all good so any good in me is God in me? I have to wrestle through that one.
Or maybe it's simpler then that: Sometimes I act like a jerk and sometimes I don't. It may be clear by now that I am struggling with my faith. Do I believe in God? Absolutely. Do I believe in Jesus? Without question. Do I believe that they are loving an benevolent. Not so far in our case. See, this is the part you're going to hate. I am trying to be honest here and have grappled as to whether or not to even write this post because I don't want people running around thinking that somehow I have lost my salvation. That's not it. It's just that God may not be quite who I thought he was and that it may take me a while to get to know him as he really is. May take the rest of my life to figure that one out...and I am okay with that.
I've said it before: I don't believe God owes me an explanation for Joanne's stroke. In fact, I have grown quite comfortable with the idea that it is meaningless. To attach meaning means to attach motive and I don't want to go down that road. So God is welcomed to keep the reason for Joanne's stroke a secret. I can live with that. The alternative is to see God in literally everything and that would be equally crazy making. Joanne has a bad night's sleep (often) so what is God trying to say? We are hurting each other as a family so we must not be spiritual enough. We are damaged at a very fundamental level so maybe God has turned his back on us. Too much to grasp when all I'm trying to do is make it through the day.
Every night, without fail, Joanne and I will look at each other and one of us will say, "Well, we made it through another day." Then we lock pinkies for a minute as a promise that we'll try it again tomorrow. That's about as good as it gets.
Please go easy on the comments. I know that the blog is often pretty up-beat and maybe even (dare I say) inspirational or at least mildly amusing, but I really want to be honest. I want to write down what I really think about. I feel like I owe it to the readers out there to not always make our situation sound like a daily victory. A lot of times it's just not. It's ugly and broken and painful and humiliating and damaging....kinda like life.