Sunday, August 24, 2008

A Non-Anniversary Anniversary Post

Amy is indeed right--we are unsatisfactory bloggers. But I guess it's because we don't have kids yet. I am only adding insult to injury with this post because I want to share something that occurred during the assignment this summer. It has to deal with Amy and marriage and how the last two years have been. I know...boring, but I hope to reveal a revelation I felt a long time coming.
Amy and I celebrated our anniversary while at Frontier Ranch. It was a humble, yet rewarding night spent over thin crust pizza while watching paddlers on the Arkansas River; I hope to remember it for a long time. But I would like to share some thoughts that came to me after a conversation with Stacey, the other female head leader who worked closely with Amy. I got to spend a lot of time with all the head leaders and they got a unique look at mine and Amy's relationship and how it functions.
Stacey and I were walking to the corral during the first week. I’m not sure how we got onto a conversation about marriage, but we did. She proceeded to compliment me, or more accurately commend me, for what she called an ability to allow Amy to be herself. She said something to the effect of me loving Amy enough to allow her to be herself. I paused and looked out towards the valley that stretched into the horizon. She saw something unsettling in my countenance. “I’m not saying that you’re completely noble” she clarified. I chuckled, trying to subtly agree. Letting Amy just be is the one thing that I don’t do. Every time she becomes a bit too loud, or yawns without covering her mouth or some other snobby social staple, I’m the one who's there to correct her. It was like this compliment was a rose with only the thorned stem to grasp; I couldn’t accept it without feeling its prick. This prick is the realization that I don't have the capacity to love well, even my own wife.

We continued to talk, Stacey and I continued to talk. I spoke about something that I've been mulling over the last year. In the song Amy and I danced to there is a lyric that goes, "man is fragile/fragile when alone." This is true for me; Amy is always there to remind me of what is true. I have seemed to gain a sort of confidence in marriage. It's not a confidence in Amy, who she is, or even in how people perceive us. It appears to be an intrinsic confidence in the sheer fact that someone else wants to spend their life with me. Ideally, this confidence would push me to love Amy and others better. Unfortunately, I’m tempted to use this confidence for ill purposes. I tend to be introspective and (re)think my life: Whether it's asking the girl that I wanted to take to the dance, saying what I wanted to say in class, or applying to the college I wanted to go to, I tend to relive my life within my head, using this new found courage in my fantasy world. It’s a painful existence living only to regret the past and fear the future. To love Amy well (or anyone), I need to be present in the moment.

C.S. Lewis said something interesting about humility; he said that it isn’t something that you actively do. He said if you were to meet humble man, you wouldn't think he was humble. But you would just think he is a happy guy who took an interest in what you had to say. (pharaphrase)

I can’t seem to set out to love Amy well; it happens when I least expect it. As soon as I look inward and curse my inabilities, she responds to me as if I loved her well (sometimes even explicitly saying that I love her well). I will joke by saying "maybe I should write it down so I can remember how to do it again." However, like Lewis' idea of humility, I don’t want to think about how to do it, I just want it to happen.

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