FTIAT: A Moment of Clarity
Byron MacLymont (The Byronic Man) has a gift for making people laugh. I base this not only on an official survey of millions–specifically, myself and my S.O., Ba.D.–but also other peoples’ comments on his blog.
As if inspiring laughter weren’t enough, Byron i’s also a brain surgeon, a former Olympic kick-boxer and bench-presser-of-adult-bulls. He modestly claims in his bio that he can bench-press only one, but I see right through this artifice, mostly because he bestowed upon his subscribers the gift of seeing through artifice.
Sadly, his other superpowers are non-transerable.
Byron’s greatest power of all is his ability to take time out from his busy schedule of crime-fighting and penning Cyrano de Bergerac to share beautiful, heartfelt truths in ways that fill a reader’s eyes with tears and heart with wonder. Like most awesome superpowers, this is one best used sparingly to emphasize just how powerful it is, and Byron uses it accordingly.
I am honored he has chosen, this time, to use it at TMiYC.
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A Moment of Clarity
Yesterday, October 27th, was my 10-year wedding anniversary. It’s a little difficult to even comprehend that that is true. In part because it doesn’t seem possible that it’s been 10 whole years, in part because it doesn’t seem possible that there was a time before her, and in part because nothing – I mean nothing – in my previous track record suggests that this would be a possibility.
The longest relationship I had before this one was six months. I had several that lasted six months, but they all ended at that point, like clockwork. I won’t go so far to say that I am totally responsible for the end of all of them, but I wouldn’t scoff or get immediately indignant at the suggestion, either. I didn’t know much, but I knew I liked being the white knight; being adored. I also, like many young men, loved the chase. I also think that I was so unsure of who I was that I kind of panicked when someone was getting to know the actual me, instead of the version of me I tried to put forward. The guy underneath the glistening armor, if you’ll pardon the hackneyed metaphor. Whatever the impetus, it involved either bad choices, or choices handled badly.
When I met her I was in a time of transition, so maybe I was open to different things, but the fact is that she was really unlike anyone I’d dated before. Unlike the people I’d pursued. Yet I was immediately and totally drawn to her, like a magnet. Something inside was ferociously saying HER. THIS ONE. I remember talking to my parents and saying that it seemed as if I was walking along and had come upon a large pile of gems and jewels, and I had to hurry and find a way to scoop them up, because surely someone was going to beat me to it.
I had always been very clear that I would never marry someone unless we’d dated for a year. That I’d be very rational about something like that. Within a week I knew this was it. Within 3 months we were engaged. Almost exactly a year after meeting we got married… so I guess, technically, we dated for a year before getting married. But I don’t kid myself that it was rational and stoically planned.
She continues to be unlike anyone I’ve known. She pushes me, challenges me, complements my weaknesses.
Marriage is everything they say it is, and nothing they say it is. Marriage is about hardships I couldn’t have imagined, couldn’t believe we’d have the strength to face. Sometimes I’ll joke with her about “the things they don’t tell you in the marital vows,” and you’ve sure never been mad until you’ve been mad at someone you love, but the fact remains that I am a more complete, stronger person than I ever was before I met her, or could have become without her. I’ve also had more fun since meeting her than I ever had before that. Gone on more adventures. Taken more risks.
It would be easy to say that I am thankful for her, and I am, but when Deborah asked me to write up a “for this I am thankful” what came to mind was whatever it was in the air, in my brain, whatever, that made me see she was the one to pursue. Nothing, and I mean nothing, in my history suggested that I would make a smart relationship choice when the time came, but somehow I did. I don’t know why, I don’t what in me clicked, but for that moment, that instant, I am thankful and mystified.
It would also be simple to say I’m thankful for that moment when we’re curled up watching a movie, or when she comes up with some impossible adventure to go on and makes it happen. Because it’s easy to be thankful during the good parts. But marriage isn’t just about the good parts – it’s about all of it. All of yourself, all of your partner.
And so while I am thankful during these easy times, I’m also thankful when she insists we do the grocery shopping even though I’m exhausted.
When I’ve just screwed something up, and she can’t wait even a couple hours to tell me what I could have done differently, I’m thankful then.
When I say I’m sorry and she replies, “No, you’re not. If you were sorry, you wouldn’t have done it in the first place,” somewhere deep down, I’m thankful.
When she looks at the back of my head and says, “Hey, your hair is thinning” for no other reason than because she knows it’ll make me crazy with paranoia, I’m still thankful.
When I’m mad and fed up and think, Oh, screw this, life was easier when I was on my own, I’m thankful.
When she insists that she needs, needs, another dog, or cat, or a pig, or God knows what else, I’m thankful.
When I just can’t believe how complicated everything has to be all the time, I’m thankful.
When I ask if she’s ready to go, and she says yes despite the fact that she is very definitely not ready, and I’m going to be late for work, again… I’m thankful.
I’m thankful when she wants to pester me and draw on my arms when I just really, really want to go to sleep.
I’m thankful, even now, knowing she’ll read this and use it as ammunition to pester me even when I’m telling her to knock it off.
When I’m so mad I can’t even speak, there is that part of me that is thankful.
Basic ideas of cause & effect suggest that that moment, that transformation, should not have happened. It was an anomaly, an unpredictable occurrence. Yet, it did happen. And 10 years later here we are, and we still love each other, still have fun together, still face challenges together. And for the spark that made me see in her what could be, and what I could be with her, I am truly, deeply, thankful.
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