Saturday, July 21, 2012

What Love Is


I am afraid for my friend . I saw her last night and she was not herself, snappish and seemingly implacably angry with her husband. When I asked her if she was OK she said No I'm not. A cold wash of fear swept through my soul and  I felt fearful driving home, with a sore heart for these two people whom I love like my own family. I was unsettled all night and awoke anxious with a vague feeling of dread hanging over me. I am feeling this as if it is happening to me and it is troubling my soul. I think that is what love is, being able to feel another's pain as if it were your own. I want to help, I want to make it go away, I want them to be happy, I don't want this rift to grow and cause a split that cannot be repaired, but I can do nothing. I tried calling her this morning and got no response, which worries me even more. It pains me that she's going through her day sad and lonely and confused and angry. I want just to tell her that I love her, to hold on, that she can work her way through this, to have faith in herself and the power of love. I want her to know that she is not alone, that she has a whole tribe at her back and me by her side, always. I just want to hear her voice. She has held me when I have despaired more times than I can count, allowing me to sob out my sorrows in her arms. Now I want to be the one who does the holding. Many times when standing alone, your world tilts in a different direction. That is when a steadfast presence is needed, a strong and sturdy love to lean on. That is what I want to be to this dear-to-my-heart friend, if she will allow me the honor.

Just Own Up

Don't I have enough guilt, catholic guilt, don't I put enough of that stuff on myself, as in everything is my fault that I should not have to hear it from my partner of 12 years whenever anything goes wrong? The dogs rob the bag of pretzels/chips/loaf of bread/stick of butter off of the counter and it is always my fault even though I did not leave the pretzels/chips/bread etc out on the counter in the first place. I am supposed to look and check for these things. When the front door doesn't close right, I must have done something, when the basement light does not work it was me, when something is broken I am always the one who must have broken it because heaven knows, no one else will ever take responsibility. We are a family of 2. 2 adults and 2 dogs. There are not that many of us that can be responsible for these mishaps, and there is only so much that can be blamed on the dogs. When I make a mistake I say so, if I am wrong I admit it. It is not easy and the temptation to shirk blame is always there, but I find that it is easier it accept responsibility than not.

 When the hard plastic spigot was snapped off of the bottom of the rain barrel someone might have hit it when he was shoveling. Might have? when 50 gallons of water comes gushing out of the hole in the barrel, I think one would know beyond all doubt that they hit the spigot with the shovel, there is no might have about it. When one of my favorite things turns up broken, and I find it's shards lying on the counter I do not want to hear that it might have been anything. You either did it or you didn't. It is pretty black and white to me, but my partner dwells in the gray area of maybes and might haves to the extent that he will never own up to a mistake, ever. If I hand him the pitcher of juice and it slips through his hands it is my fault. If a part is missing I must have lost it. When the screen insert for our custom made storm door went missing and the only explanation was that in one of his cleaning rampages he threw it out, that became a major issue. I do not deal with the basement where it is stored, and I do not throw anything away, another major fault of mine. And yet, there was no owning up, no uh oh I made a mistake. When I said it must have gotten thrown away, there was no yeah, maybe. There was the dead silence of denial. An then I am the one who is supposed to go to the screen making guy and have a new screen insert made. We still have glass in that door because I will not go have that screen made, and it's been years. I do push back and am not meek about it.

Maybe this is my payback for never admitting to the things I did when I was a child, like eat the last chunk of chocolate bar that my mom was saving for her late night snack...I blamed my sister. Or when I squeezed out all of Dad's tubes of oil paints onto his palette because I loved the colors and the texture of the paints as they oozed out of the tubes in beautiful worm- like  ropes...I blamed my sister for that too. When one got in trouble in my house it was a fearsome experience. A lot of yelling and screaming and spanking, then humiliating teasing by my brother to top it off. So it was no wonder that we all blamed each other for what ever we did; no one wanted to take the punishment. We probably evened out all of our misdeeds anyway with our round robin of blame. We could have just owned up to our own transgressions and taken our own licks and it would have worked out the same.

So now I have to reap what I have sewn, it seems. Mr. Might Have is a good man and I love him dearly. His goodness outweighs his occasional foray into stupidity. Maybe the punishment for owning up was even worse in his house when he was young. And if this is his worst fault, I should count myself lucky, I suppose. But just once I would like to hear the words Yes I did it or it was my fault, I'm sorry. Not after the fact, but at the moment. I pile enough  guilt on my own shoulders as it is, I really don't need any more.