I shall forget you presently, my dear (Sonnet IV)
Edna St. Vincent Millay
I shall forget you presently, my dear,
So make the most of this, your little day,
Your little month, your little half a year,
Ere I forget, or die, or move away,
And we are done forever; by and by
I shall forget you, as I said, but now,
If you entreat me with your loveliest lie
I will protest you with my favorite vow.
I would indeed that love were longer-lived,
And oaths were not so brittle as they are,
But so it is, and nature has contrived
To struggle on without a break thus far,--
Whether or not we find what we are seeking
Is idle, biologically speaking.
This was my sentiment in June of 2019. It is possible that I was willing to discard my pride, my morals, my self-respect, my everything for a human who had discarded me and her family quite flippantly - embracing Hedonistic Egoism with everything in her being.
I recently saw a quote (whose author, I am uncertain) that said, "If you hesitate between me and another person, don't choose me". I knew that there was another person - that there were other people. I was still willing to re-establish a relationship with her. Was is a Hosea and Gomer complex that I had misinterpreted? Was it the deep-rooted faith that completely believed in the idea of "Shalom"? Was it fear? Regret? All of the above? It was definitely foolish. I am so happy she did not 'choose me'.
After beating myself up for all the wrong I did that led to a broken marriage, I can now see that I was a good husband. I did everything to attempt to make her happy and she operatively rejected it to get negative reaction out of me to justify her egress. I was committed, loyal, loving, (working on) patient, and persistent. Cornel West once wrote, "We have to recognize that there cannot be relationships unless there is commitment, unless there is loyalty, unless there is love, patience, persistence." She had none.
I love this from Madeline L'Engle: "If we commit ourselves to one person for life, this is not, as many people think, a rejection of freedom; rather, it demands the courage to move into all the risks of freedom, and the risk of love which is permanent; into that love with is not possession but participation."
As anyone would guess, there were a number of complications that led to the end. However, I am certain (with any thought of debating rejected) that her full-embrace of the previously mentioned Hedonistic Egoism was what took root and bloomed.
I leave you with something else that isn't mine but is a beautiful picture of what that type of Hedonism looks like:
“She would be one of those who kneel to their own shadows till feet grow on their knees; then go down on their hands till their hands grow into feet; then lay their faces on the ground till they grow into snouts; when at last they are a hideous sort of lizards, each of which believes himself the best, wisest, and loveliest being in the world, yea, the very centre of the universe. And so they run about for ever looking for their own shadows that they may worship them, and miserable because they cannot find them, being themselves too near the ground to have any shadows; and what becomes of them at last, there is but one who knows.”
-George MacDonald, The Wise Woman and Other Stories
“The man just opened his mouth, which meant that all kinds of secret doors in his body gave way. He did not sing so much as let his soul free.
- Ray Bradbury, "Green Shadows, White Whale"
Pausing is dangerous. Free time is my enemy. Boredom is not an option. Downtime cannot be considered.
Last night I was restless. Those are the worst nights, huh? When you are quite ready to embrace a good nights sleep and the wide-open-eyed event begins. I’ve heard some describe it as a blessing. One individual that I knew who suffered from insomnia decided to become an amateur astronomer and became quite well-versed in the heavens above. Perhaps that’s my next topic of exploration. When I was young, I could point out two dozen constellations. Now, I know where about half a dozen are.
When the agitation started, I immediately grabbed the one device I hate with a passion. The blue glow from the iPhone gave me absolutely no comfort. I took a whirl through the news. That obviously made my heart heavy. Faced with a decision to wake and do something productive - organize, work on art, read a book - or perhaps spend time praying for the state of the world that had just bombarded my soul in an instant, I chose to play a video game!
I hate video games. I have found that this form of mind-numbing is probably more dangerous that dabbling in psychedelics. At least after the terror of psychedelics you are convicted to make real change in your life. At the end of an hour long gaming session, you feel like you want to shower and stick your finger down your throat to purge the intake.
It is odd that I would choose this method of time killing. The last three years of my marriage, my former would lull herself to sleep each and every night with a game called “Word Warp”. It was a word finding game that supposedly enhanced your brain and vocabulary…emphasizing “supposedly”. Looking back, it’s hard to imagine how blind I was to a deteriorating relationship that was red-flagged daily with no communication, no affection, and something as innocent as a video game.
I would often ask, “Please put your phone down”. She had three standard replies. The first was intended to be funny: “I’ve got the high score! We are going to Hollywood!” The second was less friendly: “I’ve seen you on your phone…this helps me fall asleep!” The third was not friendly at all: “You want to control everything in my life!” Now I am fairly certain that, after giving up on conversation, affection, and - frankly - sex, and leaving the room to escape the blue glow to sleep in another room (yes, a bad move I know) she was likely hopping over to Facebook to nurture the relationship she was on her way to having.
I often jabbed at her choice of faith and would sometimes say, “I wish I believed in reincarnation like you do so that I could focus all of my attention on becoming a smartphone in my next life just so that I can have human touch.”
It is just a horrible thing to participate in a killing like this. There is nothing right about sitting back and coasting through a deteriorating marriage without taking action.
Uggh…another illustration: Years ago, I was in the Grandfather Mountain Bagpipe Band. I would often take the very long trip to rehearsal with another piper. He was a real fun and really odd guy who had a pretty hilarious nickname that I can’t mention for his protection. When we would come off of the mountain late at night, he would sometimes put his car in neutral, turn off the headlights, and play music as loud as he could with the windows down. This horrified me and I would always protest and demand that he either drive like a normal person or pull over and let me hitchhike home. There was a real fear of dying in a very horrific way in this situation. My marriage was kind of like that, but I was the driver. I didn’t really have much protest coming from any passengers, so I continued to coast down the mountain until it finally did end in tragedy. A mother, a father, a daughter, a son - all ejected and heaped up in their own little death.
If you are in a failing relationship, put your phone down. Turn your headlights on. Stop playing games. Put the car in drive. But, leave the music up and the windows down and sing…sing your life!