Grow

I am standing here.

I can’t move.  I am immobile, but not solitary.

There are many behind me, beside me and before me.  More than I could ever count.  I see them there.  On occasion we reach out to one another, but for the most part we are alone in the crowds.

We grow.DSCF1853

We gather information, it feeds us and we grow.  We have no limits in how tall and wide we expand.  The more we branch out the more people we touch, and the more we are exposed to, which in turn allows us to learn more.

I’ve stopped growing once…almost.  Slowed so much my vines stopped thriving.  They withered, but never completely shed.  Parts of my life hanging limply in my mind.  I had likely regressed a little.

I’ve seen some around me flourish.  I’ve also seen  many slow to a crawl, or less.  So many start to die from the inside; that death will never go away.  I’ve seen so many start to wither so bad that they just shrivel into the shade of those around them.  So damaged that even if the had the motivation to fight back, they couldn’t even imagine how to against a world abundantly stronger than they are.

I have touched many in an attempt to provide the life-giving hug I once needed so badly and eventually found, only to be stung by them…poisoned by their greediness, and struggled for a while again.

I have seen many only allow themselves to grow in a certain way; reaching straight but long in one direction or forever growing taller but never reaching wide to hardly ever be touched by anyone else.  I’ve seen some that grow with no real direction, sometimeDSCF1574s around in circles, up and down, or over and under.  Or some that just stretch out above the others.

I have seen some wither away into nothingness…

I have seen some drop from existence.  I have seen some die in the embrace of those who loved them, who they loved in return.  Some plowed down, some poisoned, some that chose to rot away.

It is a shame to watch them fall, to witness them wither and die, to feel them pass away and to experience them wasting away.  Sometimes it’s enough to make you want to just stop growing as well.

Sometimes they come back…the twisted dead alive again.  Some remain idle and harmless for a while, but their souls are faded inside of bodies still living.  They are hard to look at and they burn to touch.

They always reach out to touch you.  They touch everything they can and slowly poison you with their embrace.  It is a poison that travels through your and into those that you’re holding; those you love, those you’rDSCF1831e nursing to health and those you’ve just begun knowing.

The weed.

They are always there.  They will die someday…completely, but they do a lot of damage.  They hurt a lot of people and they choose to do it.  Most of them don’t know that and they never will, but they allowed themselves to transform into beasts that squeeze the life out of you and burn you with their uninvited touch.

We do not start out venomous, the level of our poison or our strength that we pass on is up to us.

It is true that the taller we grow, the father we have to fall….

…but the taller we grow, the more time we have to catch ourselves on the way down.

2006

Wasp! Wasp!

“Wasp!  Wasp!”  Electricityboy screeched from the sandbox in so much of a panic that it was hard to understand what he was yelling about.

I came swooping in flailing a flyswatter around chasing the wasp in some pathetic comedic routine, trying hard not to  trip over children who long to be at the center of the chaos.

Mommy to the rescue.  I’m the hero, the destroyer of wasps.

The crisis had been averted.  I could relax.  I sat back down and opened my book and continued writing taking a moment to consider the thoughts I had been thinking before I was interrupted.

Again the excited chorus of “Wasp!  Wasp!” filled the air and Electricityboy was bouncing up and down.

That time was my time.  That was the closest I can get to time where I’m allowed to concentrate.  At that moment I knew nothing inside of the house is being snuck, broken or messed up.  My yard is child-proofed and the children are capable of playing without me needing to hover over them.

That was the time I get to enjoy the warmth of summer before it fades away and I’m knee deep in snow again.  That was the time that I use the outdoors for inspiration and relaxation.

So why was I jumping up every three minutes to swat stinging insects away from my children?  If I’m on wasp watch constantly while we’re outside, when do I get to read or write?

I went to Electricityboy and handed him a flyswatter.  “Here,” I said to him, “you kill them.”

Electricityboy gave me a large grin and took the swatter.

I sat back down but didn’t open my book this time because I was anticipating frustration regarding how difficult it is to hit a wasp, never mind how hard it is to kill one.

Instead, I witnessed just the opposite.  Electricityboy was thrilled to chase the wasps every time they came near him.  The random bouts of screaming ceased.  I was happy to sit down and pick up where I left off.

After a while Electricityboy came up onto the deck holding the flyswatter parallel to the ground full of small rocks and the rear end of a wasp which he proudly dumped onto the table.

His first kill.

And oh- the enthusiastic play by play he shared with us…

“It came at me like this…” He waved his hands imitating the wasp coming near.  “And I swung like this!”  His body and his words reliving the moment this wasp came into view until he brought it onto the deck.  All told with such excitement and energy that I couldn’t help but be as proud of his first kill as he is.Swat

Our wily little wasp hunter.

Eventually as I was reflecting upon this particular circumstance, I came across a personal revelation.

When I was swooping in to save him from his fears, I was setting it up for him to always need to be saved and for me to always be doing the saving.  I was doing what I thought I should be doing and I wasn’t doing it right.

As soon as I handed him the swatter, I gave him a tool to fight his fear and deal with his anxiety.  I empowered him and gave him a chance to have control over his own life.

It’s important to have tools to help you cope with the craziness of life.

Now I just need to find the “flyswatter” for all the other fears and worries my children have.

Unconditional With Limitations

marriageWhen we date someone, we’re searching for the person we want to be with for the rest of our lives.  When we find that person and we marry him or her we promise all of ourselves; Our loyalty, our bodies, our unending love is given deliberately and constantly to another person in exchange for theirs.  As the saying goes- for better or worse, until death do us part.

So why then is there an abundance of divorces and blogs that remind us how we fail our partners and ourselves over and over again?

What conditions do we actually set on our unconditional love?

Can you still love him if he cheats on you?  What if she has a sexual fetish that you find disturbing?  What if he develops an addiction to drugs?  She can’t keep a job?  He lies too much?  She gambles?  He’s a gamer?  She lost interest?

When is it time to say “You’re not trying hard enough.” or “You’re no good for me.” and move on?  If you take the pledge that states that you will love and commit for the rest of your lives, when is it okay to break that promise?

What if we keep loving them throughout their struggles and flaws?  What if instead of pointing fingers, holding grudges and keeping score we learn to love, support and forgive our partners?  What if we accept that he’s going to make mistakes and some of those mistakes are going to hurt you?  If we understand that there are a massive amount of addictive substances that we’re exposed to and she’ll need your help and an incredible amount of patience to pull through.  If we finally understand that “You did….” and “Yeah, well, you did…” are damaging and we would all be much happier with “I’m sorry.” and “I forgive you.”

When I entered into my current relationship, I stripped down to my very soul and put every part of my exposed and flawed self on the table.  I flaunted every strength and weakness, all the pretties and uglies, all of my good, my bad, my silly and my quirks.  I dropped my entire package of amazing and ordinary and let him see all of me.

I trusted him to accept it.  When he did, he promised to love every part of me.  He promised to love me through all of my mistakes and accomplishments.  He promised to do his very best to offer me patience through all of my breakdowns and back me up during confrontations.  He promised to be understanding when I falter and the support I need to get back up again when I fall.
He swore to love me generously, honestly and without limitations.

Likewise, he laid all of his cards on the table and exposed every part of  himself to me.  He presented me with his strengths, hobbies, habits, quirks, weaknesses and desires.  He made every part of himself vulnerable to me.  He trusted me with things he hides from the world.

I took it all and swore to love, cherish, respect and honour him.  I promised to love him unconditionally for as long as we are alive.

What then, when he breaks his promise to me?  What if one intoxicated night he falters and cheats on me?  What if he spends three months hooked on a new video game and he forgets his promise to be there for me?  What if instead of patiently holding me he gets frustrated and yells at me?  What if he becomes addicted to painkillers?

If he wrongs me first, am I free to break my promise to him?

Though some of the examples stated above would hurt me very much and make me angry, rightfully so, I would choose to forgive him.  I would cry in his arms and comfort him as he cried.  I would wait for him to remember what he’s promised me, even if it takes longer than three months.  I would hold him, love him, and remember that he’s human and even the best of our species makes mistakes.  I would love him through his addiction and nurture him through his withdrawal.

My love and understanding is the best gift I could ever give to him.

Someday, I’ll forget my promise to him.  Not on purpose, but I will slip up.  Someday I won’t be able to communicate properly.  I’ll be caught up inside my head in a way that I can’t quite function properly in the real world and I’ll neglect him.  I could be the one going through withdrawal or having an emotional breakdown.

I’ll need someone who will love me enough to stand by me instead of walking away because I was not meeting his needs.

I suppose that’s terrifying and appalling to some people.  He could very easily destroy my life if I’m offering him that much love and trust.  Not only that, but I’m giving him a free pass to behave like a jerk and expecting a free pass in return…right?

Except that assumes that he’s trying to hurt me instead of love me, and that I would prefer to hurt him rather than love and support him.

If you hold back out of fear, you have already doomed your relationship.  If you put restrictions on your love, you should not promise yourself to someone forever.

If you can’t love with everything you have and forgive the way you need someone to forgive you, you’re not ready for marriage.

If you can’t trust that he will love you through thick and thin and forgive you endlessly, every single time it’s needed then you shouldn’t marry him.

It is very sad in this day and age that we are more loving and supportive towards everyone except the person we’ve promised our hearts to.

Love without limitations and without borders.  There aren’t arguments to be won, but compromises to be made and other perspectives to consider.  There is no need to keep score because you’re both on the same team.  Forgive and accept forgiveness.

That is the only way to keep your marriage alive.