GRADUATION!! (Grad School)

Saturday, December 22

Night Train to...........The District

It was one of those commutes home. As I walked down the escalator to the metro the thoughts came. I tried reading and listening to music but they wouldn’t be quiet. I found a small note book in my backpack and tried to get them on paper. But it was taking to long to write out by hand so when the train finally arrived, I did the unthinkable. I pulled out my laptop and let the thoughts loose. Thoughts tumbled out as my fingers flew over the keyboard, there was little order, just a need to get them into print. I put on headphones so as not to be bothered. I was worried that someone would ask a question and I would lose my train of thought. I am not sure it makes sense. As a matter of fact, after reading through it, it seems rather jumbled. But I didn't want to forget my thoughts from this evening so here is what came pouring out of my brain tonight:
Tonight I went to the movies with Kate to see P.S. I Love You. I know that when you attend a movie each audience member is supposed to find a way to connect with the movie. We are supposed to find a character that we can empathize and/or sympathize with. That is the point of movies. Tonight it was disturbing to see my fears and insecurities played out over and over again on the big screen. I wonder how many people feel the same way, I hope it wasn't just me.

Years ago my parents made choices that affected the lives of their children. Today I wondered what my life would have been like if they had made different choices. This is not something I usually dwell on. I know I can’t change it. It was not my choice to make and who knows if I would have made different ones were I in their shoes. I can only hope that I have learned from the choices that they have made.

I was 11 and a half when my parents choose to separate for the final time. I still remember the pain as we flew out of the airport in Riyadh. I think there were tears, but I don't remember it very clearly. I wrote about it in my journal. It wasn’t a pleasant entry, but one full of anger, fear, and pain. Shortly later, my mother chose to remarry. Again, it was not something in my control and I found myself in a situation that was out of my realm of experience. I have learned that the choices of the parents directly affect all of the children involved. There are 15 children that have been affected by the choices of my parents, for good or bad. As I have matured (Am I maturing or just getting older?) I have taken responsibility for my own choices and how they not only affect me but also those around me.

In tonight's movie, I saw a 30 year old woman break because she had put faith in marriage and it had failed yet again. At 14 she had known the pain of having her father leave their little family. Now 16 years later her husband had left her. Not by choice, by death. Noone was at fault, but it had happened all the same. She had put her trust in him being there forever only to find that he wouldn’t be there.

So I ask what if my parents hadn’t divorced….. ? What if my mother and step father hadn’t been so unhappy…? What if I hadn’t made the stupid choices I did at 19…..? Would I have more faith in the institution of marriage? Do you really think it would have changed things? Would I be one of those happy married people with homes and church callings and children and dogs (well not dogs I am allergic you know. Lol!)? I'll never really know but I think that even if my parents had made different choices my fears wouldn't have changed much. I am pretty sure I would still be the cynic I am today. I have made too many personal choices to cause said cynicism. I recognize my own lack of faith in men sticking around or marriages that are happy. Even by the time I was 11 I realized that most marriages weren’t a happy thing.

Somehow I have lost that original faith and trust in love and marriage. I do not have it and I don’t know how to restore it. I know there are things that I have no control over; even though I don’t want to believe it. I want to have control; to know that I will make the right choice. But no one can make those promises. No one can be assured that they will have the 60 years of marriage that they want, to have happiness for a lifetime. Even eternity is not a sure thing. So how do you put your faith in something so fallible? Where is there someone that would make me want to put faith in something like that? I have yet to meet him.

What I do know is that this is the life I am supposed to live. I know that the choices that have been made have given me empathy for those around me. Maybe the reason I have lived this life is to help me understand faith. To learn to have faith, not in the fallibility of those around me but in a Father who has a plan for me to return to Him. To have the faith to overcome the fear and find peace in the life that I have been given. Truly understand and accept that the Father knows best.

Maybe when I have learned these things fully, I will be prepared for a relationship. Maybe I will be ready to trust someone and allow them to be a part of my life. I am not ready yet, but I can always hope for the future. Until that time I will continue to find the joy and pleasure of my current status as a Singleton.
I would like to note that I am actually pretty happy being single. I just recognize that there could be something better if I could overcome my own fears.

1 comment:

Richard said...

One of the most important lessons I learned through my divorce is that the problem with agency is that other people get it, too. You cannot control other people's choices, even as you have to feel the effects of them in your own life.

Contrary to what many people will tell you (both in and outside of the Church), it is not so important who you marry, nor even where you get married. What is more important is what kind of spouse you are willing to be, and whether your spouse is willing to make that same commitment. Remember, none of us is perfect, but each of us should be trying to become more Christlike. A perfect marriage isn't made by two perfect people. It's made by two people who are trying to follow the Savior's command to "Be ye therefore perfect."

No marriage is going to be 100% happy 100% of the time, just like no person is 100% happy 100% of the time. It's a long process of taking two, independent lives and merging them into one, interdependent life. That's not an easy thing to do, and it takes a lot of hard work of the course of not just months or years, but decades. And both people need to be willing to put in that hard work for it to succeed.

And when that happens, marriage is one of the greatest things that you can possibly experience. Although my marriage lasted only a year before we separated, I was blessed to experience a few flashes of that sort of unity, before things started to unravel. For me, that has only made me even more determined to work even harder the next time.

I know I made my mistakes, and I have tried very hard to identify them and learn from them. I also recognize that my ex-wife made mistakes and choices, and that I hold no responsibility for them.

Even with all of the pain, suffering, and hardship that even the most stable marriages face, it is well worth the cost. I don't regret my marriage, because it made me a far better man today.

I guess what I am trying to say is, don't give up and don't lose faith. You are not your parents, and their choices do not have to be your choices. My father's parents divorced when he was very young, and I can see the effect that it had in his life (and how it has made him work so hard at having his marriage succeed as it has for the past 35 years). You are a very intelligent person, and from some of what you have said to me, I can see true wisdom lurking inside you as well. Do not let your fears trouble you.