My God… what will possess my time what all this is finally over? My mind is constantly consumed with deadlines, with worry, with anxiety, with resoluteness, with focus, with anticipation.
Something has happened. I’m hesitant to write about it, because I’m still fighting the fear that it won’t last. But since this happening is centered around encouraging my best life possible, I’m going to hazard to write about it anyway!
“When Dorothy pointed out a problem, she also offered several solutions, and she always showed up when it was time to do the hard work of implementation” (Jennings & Stahl-Wert, 2004, p. 25).
This is bullshit! was my exact thought. My eyes narrowed as I read the lines again. I was simultaneously enthralled and furious.
I’m unfocused. I don’t really know how else to describe it. I have a hundred things I need and want to do and I can’t decide what the priority should be. So like any reasonable human being, I’m not going to do a thing.
I finished The Scarlet Thread yesterday. Spike came in while I was on the last few pages. “You don’t look like you love that book,” he smiled. I didn’t realize I was actually scowling. “It’s high fructose corn syrup Christianity,” I said, surprised at my own precisely accurate description. “It’s sickeningly sweet. And fake.”
I’ve already ranted about my issues with this book, but I can’t leave it alone. It isn’t in me to complain about the way things are without offering a solution.
I love classic romances. Wuthering Heights was actually the first novel I ever read, and I was hooked. I read a lot of Jannette Oke books when I was in junior high and high school too. I wonder if I would still love them, or if I would sense the same HFCS Christianity overtones now. Of course my romance reading had a heaping side helping of Disney princess movies. My mother was once warned not to let me watch Sleeping Beauty so much because it would warp my sense of true love. Luckily for me it came from her mother-in-law, whose advice she never took, so I continued to dress up and lie on top of my toy box, waiting for Prince Phillip. (He never came of course, but I loved to pretend.)
I’m still drawn to romances as an adult, but more in the form of TV shows and movies. Downton Abbey is my most recent favorite. It’s the perfect mix of romance and my other favorite genre: historical fiction. I’ve watched every movie and TV series I can get my hands on that’s based on a Jane Austen novel.
Is there a way to present romance that doesn’t send people screaming or set their eyes rolling? Could I write a better romance? I’m fairly certain I’m at least living a better romance than the one I just read, so that’s a start. I could tell my story. It’s full of heartache and tears and miracles. Would anyone read it? I know I would, which is really the most important part of writing anyway. I would have a lot of help from that bookshelf full of journals.
I didn’t mean for this to get so out of hand, but apparently I have an opinion about this.
I woke up, wide-awake, at 6:00 this morning. I made some coffee and cleaned the kitchen. Spike came out and joined me at about 6:30. He usually gets up about that time, but he doesn’t usually speak. I don’t either, but I was somewhat chatty this morning, talking about the book my friends and I are reading: The Scarlet Thread. I like Francine Rivers, especially Redeeming Love, but I’m having a hard time with this one. It’s 300 pages of terrible marriage followed by 75 pages of all you need is Jesus. I’m not knocking the power of Christ, but really? The heroine has a revelation that she’s been a bitch and her marriage gets to go back to normal after all the horrifying things she slung at him for three years? I don’t buy it. I guess that’s why it’s a romance: a completely unrealistic portrayal of real life.
If I sound pessimistic, I am. Marriage might be able to recover from that kind of communication breakdown. Anything is possible, but I’m passed the point of encouraging anyone to think they will be the exception to the rule. You cannot disrespect your husband and expect to stay happily married. You cannot dump on his dreams and his goals and his vision and his desire to provide and protect and expect him to lovingly wrap you in his arms. You can have one or the other. Your husband is not a robot. He hears the shit you say and he isn’t likely to forget it!
I am speaking from a position of judgment and observation and also from first-hand experience. I don’t speak in absolutes very often, but I am absolutely convinced of this. The moment a wife turns down a path of disrespect for her husband, it marks the start of her journey toward divorce. Sometimes the loss of respect is warranted, but if she cannot regain it, the marriage is doomed.
If you haven’t read Love and Respect by Emerson Eggerichs, I would highly recommend you do before you even think about marriage, especially if you’re a woman. Our culture trains boys to love their mothers and their girlfriends and their wives. It puts the pressure on them to buy flowers and sign greeting cards and be sappy in order to let women know they’re loved. But the other side of that equation is what the man gets out of it. Men want to be loved, of course, but never as much as they need to be respected. A man needs to know he’s respected more than anything, and our culture does a piss-poor job at showing women how to do that.
The traditional father figure in Modern Family is a joke. The guy that tried to stay married and have kids in Friends is a joke. Women who manipulate and condescend and judge and harp are heroes in the media! Voicing your opinion and putting a man in his place is heralded as a sign of a strong and independent woman – but she is not likely to make a relationship last.
Hear my heart, women – you probably don’t have any idea what kind of damage you’re doing. Until reading this, you have been innocent and oblivious of your crimes against men. But I have to say it, because our men never will. The don’t dare. The moment they say they need respect we will nail them to the wall as chauvinist pigs. They know we will, so they suffer in silence. They absorb every emasculating comment and tone and spirit because they love us. God help them, they love us! Do your part, and respect them! If you do not or cannot respect them, for God’s sake, don’t marry them in the first place.
[End ranting and raving.]
Two of my closest friends and I have been meeting irregularly for the last couple years. We finally managed to nail down a night awhile back that works for all three of us and read through Till We Have Faces by C. S. Lewis. I had never even heard of it, which was odd since I thought I new C. S. Lewis pretty well. Apparently it was the last book he ever wrote, and arguably his best work. Really, better than Narnia? Yeah, I’d say so.
The story is a re-telling of the Greek myth of Cupid and Psyche, from the perspective of Psyche’s sister. The story itself was excellent, but the end completely baffled me. Wait, what happened? I re-read the last few chapters again before we met, and I still felt like I wasn’t connecting all the dots. It made a little more sense as we discussed it, but wow… the line between myth and reality was pretty rough. Curiously rough. It begged to be talked about, which is what we did.
I could never be at peace again till I had written my charge against the gods. It burned me from within. It quickened; I was with book, as a woman is with child.
From the first page, the story eloquently describes the process of having it out with the Divine and ends with why it is so essential to do so. There are many other themes and powerful revelations, but that is the one I related to most.
I woke up early this morning. (I’m still in awe of my actually being awake in the morning these days.) I read through a lot of new blogs, searching out tags on introverts, INTJ, INFJ, minimalism, etc. (By the way, if you haven’t discovered Readline – the Chrome browser Extension, it’s pretty awesome for being able to speed-read!)