A week or so ago, our dear pal Wade McCullough made a Facebook post that I appreciated more than many. He matter-of-factly stated “Let me just set the record straight. I really only post about the cool things in my life. You’re missing out on all the other daily stuff like bills, excessive hours at work, fights, messy houses, kids being brats, stress and all the stuff we all deal with. It all evens out.”
I suppose we are all aware that, like Wade, many chose to primarily share the spiffy highlights of their lives. In a world of so much chaos, category five hurricanes of negative news, and fundamental human bummer – I’m grateful to anyone who doesn’t add to the toxic heap. Good stories aren’t just a breath of fresh air, they can sometimes be oxygen tanks. Meanwhile, I’m also touched by the doses of challenging reality that people offer. We can learn from each other if we’re open and vulnerable, so when someone shares sadness without wallowing or anger in an eye-opening way, I am thankful. Granted, some people could probably do a better job of measuring their dosages of poor me-isms or pissed off-a-tudes, but that’s a topic for a different day….
Today though, today I’d like also like to set a record straight. I know that I tend to share news about how I feel over-the-moon-full-of-love for my husband. And when I am over-the-moon-full-of-love for my husband, I want to shout it from the rooftops. Why? Because, like some wide-eyed Disney character of silly joy, I wish I could infect everyone with this spectacular feeling. But I can’t. It’s not my job. I can’t inject others with these emotions, and even if I could lead love-thirsty people to the water – they would still have to fill their own glass and take a sip. What I can do is this: I can be honest (like Wade) about the challenges (both surprise speed bumps and routine frustrations) that even things out.
The business of loving is hard work.
This is learning daily – how to keep talking (and listening) when we’re tired, confused, didn’t hear it right, misunderstanding, impatient, or just don’t want to talk anymore. This is an enterprise that includes kids interrupting (constantly), making us worried, demanding attention, making us laugh, making us proud, waking us up in the middle of the night (no matter their age), asking for another $20, leaving the tank empty, kissing us sweetly, and leaving their shoes in the middle of the hallway. This is navigating the labyrinth of old fears and habits, controlling urges and perfectionism, bitchy rants and bursts of %$!@%*#. This is us – getting up at 5:30 AM every morning and going off to work nine long hours so that some day, somehow, in some universe of our wildest fantasies – when the bills are paid, and the kids are grown, and the parents are healthy, and the house is paid for, and the garden has been weeded, and the Phillies are on a winning streak – we can leave our little itty bitty front stoop and go have bigger adventures and make love on every continent.
As much as it may grieve me to admit, it’s these day to day practices that make loving anyone a worthy effort. It doesn’t always translate into fun and is NOT ALWAYS over-the-moon-full-of-loveness. But it certainly is a wonderful life with my very best friend.
Happy six months of married life, Honey. Thanks for teaching me how to have faith.
~ eternally (especially on the hard days) your own Mrs. Jones