A Rock Feels No Pain

In despero , obscurum ; In Diligo , Lux lucis. (In despair, darkness; In Love, Light). -Me

Not My, but Thy

(This is really long, and rather wandering, but I needed to write it, and post it- so my apologies in advance)

I’m jumping back again, back to the fall of 2006. This would be post suicide-by-truck-into-bridge-averted-by-some-other-powers-hands-on-mine-that-saved-my-pretty-useless-carcass-for-some-reason (at the time) unknown-to-me timing. This would be post drop-the-kid-off-for-his-first-year-at-the-university timing. Post (or during?) the find-out-about-things-in-our-relationship-that-are-not-so-good-to-find-out-about timing. Anyone following that? No? Me either, but that’s okay.

The important parts, of the whole time period then, are varied- it’s sufficient for some of it, to simply note that a whole lot of garbage has been worked through, sorted, thrown away and is gone. A lot of ripping out of the deadwood, to leave behind what is real, and true, and valuable, in my relationship with Lynn. Of course, there is the minor detail that I’m still alive and around to care about this stuff, which along with our caring about one another again, is an ongoing process, as well as an ongoing commitment.

But something very very interesting happened, in the midst of all of the yuk. There was a time, a moment when my heart was breaking, when I honestly couldn’t have given odds that I would ever be whole enough to care about anything. But, once again, I was feeling those warm hands, that so soft voice- and because of that, I did something I hadn’t done in years.

I left my house, and went to church. Not on Sunday, not for a service, but just because I needed to be there.

I went to the church we’d found back in 1999, when we moved to this teeny village. The white clapboard little country church, where we’d found a spiritual home. Granted, I’d spent intervening years actively avoiding it, granted that during that time I couldn’t have, (or rather, wouldn’t have) acknowledged that God existed, much less cared- that didn’t matter. I knew, in the same way that I’d felt those warm hands on mine two months before, that I needed to get my ass to church.

I prayed there, sincerely, and for the first time in a long long time, I prayed the one prayer that I believe God likes to hear more than any other. Pretty much, I said, “Show me what YOUR will is here, show me where I need to be going, because I don’t know; I need you to show me what path YOU want me on. If that means I lose my marriage, my life, my place in this world, so be it.” YOU know- the whole, “Not my will, but Thy will be done” praying.

And, much to the chagrin of the part of me that had been running from it, for so long, so thoroughly, He did what will always be done, if we can but listen, if we can only see. He told me. He showed me. He made it very very plain to me, that despite all of my best efforts, He was there and waiting, patiently, for me to wake up. He made it plain, that my first job now, was to get my house in order. Then, he wanted to talk to me some more. (Know how it was, when your dad or mom would say “I want to talk to you?” Yeah, that’s the tone, right there).

At that point, there was still a lot of work to be done, of course. A ton of work, a lot of tears, and anger and frustration and ready to quit. A lot of learning, and relearning, and all the work of restoring trust, and rediscovering one another, and relearning about one another. (No, I’m not talking ’bout marriage here, although that was true, too- no, I meant between myself and God).

That growth is ongoing, of course, and will be forever. I started by making the simple changes I needed to, in order to make the opportunities for communication to happen. I started getting to church, and becoming more actively involved there. I began to make time to pray, and study, and think, again. I spent time reflecting on things that I’d heard, and known-but-denied, and acknowledging that sometimes, other people might know us better than we know ourselves.

And so, eventually, I took an opportunity to explore some things at the Seminary in New York; I jumped into some things at church that I’d never done before, and they were amazing. I started teaching the high school classes, as I’d done years before. I started working with various groups, and these days, I’ve found myself on the vestry- whodda thunk THAT, five years ago?

I’ve struggled, and still do- and probably will, forever, with wanting things that aren’t good for me, aren’t what God wants for me; and, no doubt, I will succumb to those temptations, and beat myself up for it, for not being stronger, or better, or whatever.

But, I’ve learned something that I can cling too, that I grasp, that I hold dear to my heart, and that I thank God for each and every day, each and every time I pray. I’ve learned that I am much happier, much more complete, much more than I used to be- if I remember to pray “Thy will”.

There is a whole range of things I can think of, and point to, and reflect on, that let me know that I am finally heading where I’m supposed to be, that at least I’m at the beginning of the right road for me to take. I’m not going to try to catalog them all, I’ll spare you that.

But, one of the steps that I took last week, is a huge one. A letter was sent to a carefully, prayerfully chosen group of eight people of our parish. This letter is the biggest thing I’ve ever tackled, and the most important thing of all, in so many ways- so, I’m placing it here, as well as in my heart and the hearts of the ones that received it in the mail.


To: ***
From: Father ***
Date: Ash Wednesday – 2009
Re: Discernment Committee – David ***

Dear Friends –

I write to ask your help in serving on a discernment committee for David ***. David has a strong sense of calling to serve in ordained ministry in the church, and has over the past two years begun the work of testing that calling by taking some classes at General Seminary and by substantially increasing his involvement in various church ministries here at Christ Church. The time has come to assemble a parish level discernment committee on his behalf.

The work of a discernment committee varies with the candidate they seek to serve, but always involves hearing the story of the candidate’s life and sense of calling, and helping the candidate reflect on their experiences of both church ministry and ministry in the wider world. Discernment committee work is typically prayerful, deep and nourishing for all involved. This committee will meet to assist and support David until he either moves beyond the parish level in the “process” of formation for priestly ordination, or until he is clear his vocational calling lies in another arena.

If you agree to serve on this committee, you can expect to meet about once every six weeks, usually on a Sunday afternoon. Past discernment committees have typically shared a simple lunch together after church, meeting for about an hour and a half. We will convene for our first meeting of the group at some time early in the Easter season.

You are receiving this invitation for very specific reasons. I trust you will honestly and prayerfully consider serving with this group. Your presence would be a blessing to us all, and David in particular.

I will call soon to answer any questions and see if you’ll be joining us. Thanks in advance for your kind consideration.

Faithfully Yours –

Father ***

Obviously, I don’t know for sure where this will lead. I think I do, and so do many others- but the point is to help discern that. But that’s okay, right? Cuz I get to say, “THY will…”

Filed under: depression, emotions, God, learning, love, lynn, marriage, suicide, , , , , , , , ,

Hot

“I have something to share with you,” she said. “I gave him a little flash last night.”

Hot, hot, hot.

She told me that she was chatting with a friend, one of the guys she’d been flirting with, and it got hot; he had a cam, she had a cam, and they talked one another into using them. She described for me her feelings, what was exciting and arousing, what was silly and fun. At the same time, I had her touching herself, telling me exactly what she was doing and directing her fingers and hands, while I was listening to her voice and breathing and little, oh so soft, moans and sometimes a gasp.

She showed me, via camera, what she had shown him, her gorgeous nipples and breasts- when she gets excited and they get dark and swollen and crinkly on the areola, it’s such an exciting thing to see. I showed her what hearing about and seeing her did to me, how much she excites me and how I long for her to be home with me, in our bed, in my arms.

We ended up on the phone for a long time, both while we were on the computers, and as she lay there in the double bed on the porch. I told her where I wanted her fingers, on her clit, in her warmth, pressing and rubbing until she couldn’t hold back, had to let go, had to let the climax arrive and the wave of sensations wash over her.

I love hearing her, seeing her and tasting her and feeling her when she comes, it’s more exciting to me than anything I’ve encountered. We shared fantasies, talking about positions, about anonymous blow-jobs, about giving and receiving them; we looked at a few pictures together, she at the magical island, me here, 1197 miles separating us, yet somehow we were side by side, feeling one another and hearing ourselves.

Sharing and exploring our sexuality together, particularly in the last six months or so, has been such an amazing adventure, such an incredible journey together. I’m so glad, so extremely glad, that we’ve worked beyond some of our own restraints, that however slowly, we’re learning to share with one another what we find exciting. There is so much that we didn’t do, didn’t talk about, took for granted, for so long. Even prior to the last few years when communication between us was at it’s worst, she had troubles telling me what she wanted, dreamed about, how she felt. Always a holding back, except on very rare occasions. Now, I revel in her revelations, the knowledge of what she likes and what excites her is, in itself, exciting.

Both of us have worried, sometimes, that what we find exciting together is perverted, or weird, or abnormal- but, we’ve come to accept, most of the time, that what is working for us is for us, and that it’s okay to let any/everyone else think it odd, we don’t need to care. No, we can enjoy who we are, and what we have together, and, now that we’re learning to talk again, we can even discuss it when we choose to.

This, is a good thing indeed.

Filed under: cam, chat, communication, love, lynn, marriage, online, relationship, sex, sexuality

Twenty-Two

Twenty Two. 22. XXII, if you like roman numerals.

For over half of my life, as of August 10th, 2007, we’ve been married.

We were young, we were poor, people said we were foolish, that it was a mistake. They were wrong, you know- or, maybe you don’t know, but I do. We aren’t all that young anymore, we’re still foolish sometimes, but it wasn’t a mistake.

No, it’s a glorious, wonderful adventure. We’ve dealt with things, for the most part shoulder to shoulder and working things out well. We’ve been poor, and there were times when the division of cash between gas money to get to work and macaroni and “can we get hot-dogs too” were pretty stressful.

We’ve been through the births and lives (so far) of four of the most wonderful kids that God ever graced this planet with, and dealt with the pain of a non-birth. We’ve had times when we’ve been on the top of the world, and others when the world was weighing so heavily, I wondered if we could survive.

We’ve been ill, we’ve been well, we’ve had periods when we couldn’t stand being away from one another for an hour, and times when if we had to see the other, it hurt.

But-

Through it all, through depression, alcoholism, through hormone-balancing medicines, visits to the emergency room and the island, we’ve managed, somehow, to continue in our muddling and inexpert way, to survive- together.

One year ago, plus and minus a few months, if you’d asked how we, as a couple, are doing, the answer could very well have been “what is this couple thing of which you speak?”

Today, we’re closer than we’ve been in years, and growing closer by leaps and bounds, every day. There are still moments, which will probably continue, when the effort is huge, the communication tasks are daunting. We’re probably no more sensible overall with finances and the mundane day-to-day things, but we’re in a position now where at least we know that we’ll eat, we’ll feed and shelter and clothe the kids, that we can enjoy some things that many others would envy.

So, if you ask today, how are we doing as a couple, the answer would have to be different: “Couple? We’re not a couple, we’re one with each other again. As it should be.”

I love you Lynn, with all my heart and soul and mind and body, with all that I am, with all that I have, and I am looking forward to another half of my lifetime with you.

Filed under: anniversary, love, lynn, marriage, relationship

Emotional Needs Questionnairre

Emotional Needs

I was reading a series of posts on Digger’s blog, and became intrigued by the Emotional Needs Questionnaire that he had found, and reported on; the first entry is here. I downloaded it, and after thinking about it for a while, presented the idea to Lynn, thinking we could make use of this. I was somewhat hesitant, because lately I feel as if she’s thinking that I’m “thinking too much” about our relationship, and wishing that I could just mellow about it, to a certain extent. Maybe I am, but unfortunately the switch to turn off subjects in my brain is currently out for repair, so I decided to ask her.

When I did, she responded positively, although there were some reservations; partially that, as in Digger’s case, she doesn’t work outside our home, and so there are sections that don’t apply. I suggested we do it anyway, and we’ll talk about the other’s responses to that section, to make sure we’re both clear on how we were thinking when we answered. With that said, we decided to go ahead.

Fast forward a week or so, perhaps a little more, and each of us has worked on our questionnaire off and on. Some questions were indeed difficult to answer, I find it hard to quantify with a numeric value such topics, but did my best; and Lynn was working on hers as well, I know, as she would make the occasional comment about this question, or that one, or mention that she’d been working on it.

Then, I finished mine, and printed it; I asked her what she thought, should we each read the other’s, and discuss them afterward? Should we go through one side by side, discussing as we go? Should we do them simultaneously, discussing the answer we each gave to each question?

Now, she hadn’t finished hers yet, which was fine, and I knew that- as did she, we were discussing the approach for when both were done; but, this is when she made the comment, that she finds it difficult, and on some questions wasn’t putting down what she felt.

My reaction to that was pretty much disbelief, frustration and a little bit of anger. Why would you take the time to do this, and not answer truthfully? Why would you let me take the time to do this, if the exercise is meaningless anyway? She said something to the effect of we could discuss them anyway, but at that point I was so discouraged, I tossed mine and said why bother, if it isn’t real?

Having been alone for a few weeks now, while they’re at the cabin, I was thinking about our relationship some, but also, a lot about my own needs to discuss, to analyze and evaluate it; I ask myself, “Am I over-thinking things? If I am conscious of my emotions, and making sure to share them, is it too much? How can I tell?”

I’ve come to no conclusions, other than that we seem to have differing expectations on how, how much, and what kinds of things we think about and think to share. I want to know the little things that make up her day, who she talked to, what she did, how did she do at poker, all the small things that connect me with her day, as well as how she’s feeling, is she sad or happy, what does she think about the news.. I guess I just like to know about how she’s feeling, and what she’s doing, so I can have that connection to her life.

This post has no real conclusion or end-point, it’s very much just one of my meandering thoughts, but I felt it important enough to write and publish because sometimes, just doing that can help with the “off” switch for me.

Filed under: marriage, relationship

As good as it gets?

“What if this is as good as it gets?” I was struck by that, and put it up in my sidebar, because at the moment, I can do very little: no firefighting, no sailing, no golf, very little of anything that entails anything heavier than a notebook computer. This is going to mean no waterskiing (not that I do that much, or am good at it), no overhead painting (which is very, very key, because of the projects we have lined up). No installing a fireplace at the cabin this summer, unless I can get someone else to do all the work. No tree cutting, no firewood, no skiing this winter? Ugh.

Anyway, all of that is why I had the quote up.

The other day, though, Lynn and I were sharing a little pillow-talk about that, and a comment or question she made got me to thinking about what our life and marriage is now, and what it was, and where it is going. Add onto that a blog entry that I encountered, and a couple of talk-radio interviews, and my brain really started to spin in overdrive.

The stories, both on a talk show, both had to do with people’s reactions to a partner deceiving them, and how they had individually dealt with the knowledge and its’ aftermath.

The pillow-talk was related to that quote, but as we talked, the conversation morphed (as conversations do), into thinking about that question in relation to our marriage, and where we are heading both individually and in partnership. At the moment, my answer was “so what if it is as good as it gets, that’s okay, because we’re still talking, growing ever closer, sharing more and more.”

But, what if that progress were to stop? If I glibly answer “it’s fine, because we’re progressing”, I’m assuming something: that “this is as good as it gets” isn’t a fixed point, as the statement implies. No, I’m interpreting it in light of my own wants and needs and desires for improvement in our relationship. Effectively, I’m dodging the question. Or, maybe I was answering the question, “What if this rate of progress is as good as it gets?” instead of “What if this relationship is as good as it gets?”

So, what if I consider this, in light of our relationship, and try not to dodge but instead articulate what some of the specific questions might look like, if I put them into that quote:

What if our future forever holds chatting, cybering and phoning? Including the deletion of files and calls, in an attempt to hide their occurrence?
What if our future forever holds omissions and minimizations, if not outright lies? For that matter, what if it includes lies?
What if I will forever have to wonder and speculate about who, and when and what?
What if there are relationships formed that I’m not privy to nor involved in, one after the other, that are much more intimate than would be comfortable, should I know about them? And, does that actually matter?
What if the boy toy thing is permanent?
What if the sneakiness never stops?
What if the look I get whenever I touch any computer but this one is forever, to the point that I don’t want to use them, because my dislike of her fearful looks is to intense?
What if our sex continues to be fantastic, with new and more intense adventures all the time?
What if my heart continues to race when I see her, or think of her?
What if I sleep better than I have in years, because we’re cuddling close again?
What if I miss her so much I hate going to work, not because work is bad but because it’s going to be so long until I can see her again?
What if we continue to call each other on the phone, for no other reason than because we want to hear the other, and say “I love you”?
What if I feel that I can share anything in my heart and mind, however vulnerable it may make me, knowing that she’s safe to confide in, even the silliest dreams don’t get laughed at?
What if we continue to stretch our horizons, making new friends and finding new things to do together?
What if … ?

Of course, these questions are my questions, colored by my heart and mind and all, and looked at from my point of view. Lynn would probably have her own list of questions, perhaps:

What if he’s forever suspicious and distrustful?
What if I can never have him touch a computer without wondering if he’ll overreact to something?
What if I always have to justify a friendship?
What if … ?

I don’t know what others she might ask, I can’t speak for her. This little list is more my acknowledgement that this is a relationship, there are two people involved and none of it is black-and-white. At least, in my mind it’s not, nor should it be. Because if I discount and ignore that she would have her own concerns, then I’d be far more selfish and self-centered than I’d like to think of myself as being.

What are the answers to these? I don’t know, specifically, in all the instances. I don’t know if they are a balance. Can you take two parts of my paranoia to one part of her incredible sharing, shake them together and bake for 20 minutes at 350 degrees and call it done?

I don’t know the answers to so many things, but sometimes I need to articulate the questions, just for my own thinking and reflecting.

I do know this, though- the progress we’ve made, the incredible, awesome journey back to one another has been an adventure with ups and downs, but at this moment, as long as the rate of progress is still so phenomenal, I think I’ll stick with the overall question:

“What if this rate of progress is as good as it gets?”

Filed under: growth, love, marriage, progress, relationship

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Ancient History