Monday, November 23, 2009

Where Have All the Flowers Gone?

At this time of year, it seems to be all about family! Loved ones you can't wait to see, the familiar family traditions and foods, the rhythm of the expectations of what the day brings. But in the last two months it has been impressed on me more clearly than ever that the holidays this year are going to be especially difficult for people this year:

Loved ones lost, some family relationships strained, family to far away to visit, and what really breaks my heart is that in the last two months no fewer than 8 couples that I know have announced plans to divorce.

Do you remember the hope of your wedding day? Do you remember the flowers worn by groom, carried by the bride -all noting a day of joy, expectation, hope, love, and togetherness? I remember MY wedding day. It was a small and intimate with only 50 people. I would have loved to have more family there, but it was on December 23, and much of my extended family could not be there, but all five siblings, some well-loved aunts and cousins, and my parents were there.
It was a wonderful time. I cried tears of joy as I walked down the aisle (smudging my carefully placed make-up beyond repair!), looking forward to joining myself to the man that I knew, without a doubt, was given to me by God.

I am sure that many of the marriages I heard of in the last two months began with such hope, affection and excitement -like a newly bloomed flower: fragrant, breathtaking and lovely. Only something happened along the way. The flower began to wither, first on petal fell off, followed by another. And suddenly, like something from a Disney fairytale, there is one petal left, and it is dangerously close to falling as well.

Where have all the flowers gone?

New love can continue to bloom for many years. Just ask my parents, who continue to embarrass their grown kids by smooching in the kitchen in front of ANYONE who happens to be in the house. (For the record, I was never embarrassed by their unabashed affection, but I have this one pesky sister... You KNOW who you are!) They have been together for 38 years.

Or my Grandparents -BOTH sides were married for over 50 years, and my Grandma B in particular, nursed Grandpa with patience and gentleness until the very end. Both marriages ended with one partner passing on to be with the Lord -much to the sorrow of the dear spouse left behind.

Or there is the DARLING couple from my church who just celebrated 50 years! On the way, Monkey Do asked what kind of party we were going to, and I replied, "We are celebrating with Mr and Mrs F! They have been married for 50 years!"
"FIFTY YEARS!" she replied, "And they are still ALIVE!"

I know that she was referring to this unimaginable length of time -in the mind of a six-year-old. Fifty is a HUGE number -and it is in the context of marriage too! And still being alive after that many years can also reflect the fact that both parties -despite the overwhelming desire- refrained from strangling their marriage partner for EVERY SINGLE ONE of those fifty years! Now that really IS worth celebrating! Especially since anyone, who is honest, will tell you that there are days...

But where have all the flowers gone?

We are living in a world that does not value or support marriage, in churches that act on the premise that marriage is doomed (there ARE churches out there that do!), and "advice" that encourages people to just give up!

Marriage is hard. So what can you do to keep those flowers blooming? Well, I am not an expert! That is for sure. With less than 10 years under my belt, I am SURE that there are people in your circle who can offer much better advice than I have, but there is one trick that keeps me in love with my Sweet Geek -even though he (like his bride) can be stubborn, and ornery (like me!) and is in a grumpy mood right now (not alone!).

I remember.

Yep (Nebraska coming out), I remember.

When Sweet Geek and I were friends at work, I went through a terrible break-up with a man that I thought I would spend the rest of my life with. And so as we became better -then best- friends, he was always there when I needed him. He fixed my car, helped me move, helped me find a new car when my clunker was beyond repair, made me a gourmet meal, gave me good advice, and always did these thing for me with no strings attached. When I would ask him why he was being so nice to me, I expected him to say, "Well, I really like you. Would you like to go on a date?" and then I would tell him that I really wasn't interested in any kind of romance after this bad break-up. But he never did. He always said that he knows what it is like to need help, and have nowhere to turn. He would tell me that he just wanted to help. I didn't even know that he really liked me until the brother of a friend asked for my number. Sweet Geek looked like he would be sick, but I was still healing, ans so I held him at arms length, not sure what I wanted, but sure that I cared about him. Perhaps not romantically at the time -I really couldn't. I simply didn't have it in me, so we went on, pretending the elephant wasn't in the room. I just could not go there. What if everything went south? I don't think I could take it. But instinctively he knew I was not ready for anything that resembled love.

His love and help were offered unconditionally. He somehow knew that my heart could not bear someone else's happiness right then, but all this time we were becoming closer and closer. We could talk for hours -and I really liked him, but I just couldn't move forward. All the pain and broken trust had left a wound on me that I could not get past.

Then it happened.

To be continued...


Anonymous said...

the "pesky sister" did not say anything about being embarrassed about it for the record!

Dawn Marie said...

You KNOW I said that for your benefit only!