I’m still not ready to write about the wedding. Not that there was anything wrong with it, mind, though from our pov, it’s half a wedding, the other half waiting now about a month to be finalized (legal/religious, separate for various convoluted reasons. Also to allow different sets of grandparents to be present.)
OTOH, traditional and important (traditional and old is not the same thing as outdated and not necessary. These rites exist among various cultures because they lend solidity and …. heft to structures.) the wedding is in a way superfluous. In good relationships “that which G-d has joined together, no man may tear asunder” is already accomplished before the ceremony makes it official. The ceremony is a reinforcement of the existing bond, a telling the world “Look, this exists. You must respect it and help us respect it.”
It was that way with us, and I feel it is that way with these two. Not that you are as joined together on your wedding day as you’ll be, mind. Marriage is in a way the process of growing together into something bigger than the sum of its parts, something that when it’s good propagates, grows and brings light to dark corners.
Nor will a marriage solve every issue with the individual or for that matter the couple. Dan and I for instance, as a mighty unlikely combination. Our close friends, who knew us well, gave our marriage maybe a year, with good weather and a following wind. This was mostly because we’re in some ways very different and both very, very, very stubborn. Which is why in the first year of marriage we argued a lot, and I packed my bags to leave at least once a month. But I never left. And after a while we found coping mechanisms that allowed us to disagree without getting angry at each other (we’re not perfect. Snipping still happens when very tired and overwhelmed. But it’s snipping, not real division. Heck. I’m much harsher on myself.) And eventually what evolved between the two of us was much bigger than the sum of its parts and allowed us to be and achieve what neither of us could do alone.
Anyway, so that’s, I suppose some thoughts on marriage.
But it brings us to a whole other thing.
I don’t feel these two so much met as they found each other, as if the whole thing was pre-written, predestined, since the beginning of time. As indeed my marriage.
It’s not just hind-sight, i.e. my saying “this was so unlikely” (even if felt like someone was chasing and cornering us and leading us to each other, and taking unwonted pains to bring us back together after we squandered our first chance) “that it must have been meant to be.” Random chance can produce something that is unlikely but works.
And it’s not just survivor bias. It’s not going “I’d never have been happy with anyone else.” There are a few people I could have been happy — in a completely different way — with. I’d be a different person, now, and arguably, so would they.
It’s more a feeling that Dan and I didn’t so much meet as recognize each other. I feel the same way about our daughter in law. When I looked into the future of our sons, I knew there was someone (if they were very lucky) they’d eventually marry who would make them … more themselves, the selves they were supposed to meet. And when we met our daughter in law we didn’t so much feel “Oh, this is one who could–” as “Hi, we’ve been waiting to meet you for 27 years.” (Which btw was never a feeling with other girls. Even when we would have liked them be the one.)
Anyway, this brings us to “you’re destined to do this.”
There is a lot of nonsense about “what you’re meant to be” which almost exactly parallels the nonsense around “true love.”
We grow up with the idea that there is not only something we’re “meant to do.” (An idea that’s easier for religious people, as it means fitting into a grand plan, but perhaps those not religious can view it as finding their optimal place in an organized chaos pattern.) But we also grow up with the strange idea that once we find the “destiny” be it in love or in occupation, it will be effortless, we’ll never look back, and we’ll be happy. There will be a song in our heart, joy in our every day, bluebirds will come out to do the housework and mice to do the sewing.
Maybe it is that way for someone? Maybe even a lot of someones. As someone who has a vocation and a marriage she feels was if not predestined at least inspired by the Author, and who has sons (well, one son. One down, one to go) and friends and relatives with the same two gifts… I’ve never seen it happen that way.
Often, in fact, the predestined relationship, the one that matters, the vocation that you do, sometimes against your own will, is not birdsong and happiness, but a struggle, everyday, by your fingernails.
Okay, not the relationship. At least after the beginning it should smooth out and you should have mutual support and comfort as well as everything else. Though sometimes it gets scary. When one of us is ill or we have to be apart, for instance, we always fight. Hold that thought.
It is the same with my vocation — for my sins — of writing. I’ve tried to escape it by every means possible, up to and including convincing myself I can no longer practice it.
It doesn’t work.
Now, when this happens, and feeding into the idea that there is more to this than who I am or my self-satisfaction, is that whenever I try it and get my head to a space where I don’t allow myself to write, stuff starts happening that is extremely unlikely to borderline bizarre to push me back to writing. Writing fiction, specifically. And lately, as some sort of inner voice has insisted, writing fiction for indie.
This is how I ended up double-fired (well, laid off in a case) in December and since then everything including things not remotely connected to me have conspired to get me to put butt in chair and write fiction to publish indie. I could detail the sequence, but not without getting into mucky stuff I don’t wish to air or would make me sound insane. HOWEVER trust me when I say it is simply impossible to make sense of it, even via conspiracy theory, unless the entire world is a conspiracy against me (frankly, most of them can’t dislike me. They haven’t MET me yet.), and that at this point we’re well into Job levels of “He took my cows and my fields, and…” (only not directly.) and since the creator I believe in isn’t a sadist, and He’s leaving me only ONE avenue to make money and survive, I’d better get to writing and publishing indie, before He takes this blog too, which has been good for my mental health these last several years.
It feels very much like being herded by a gentle and yet unyielding hand.
Thing is the purpose might not even be for me to write as such, but whatever I need to write to understand?
Anyway, vocations — and sometimes very good marriages — are things we fight and chafe against and sometimes, if we’re exceptionally self-destructive, find ways to destroy completely because they’re terrifying. They’re something that’s us, but bigger than us. Something gigantic, immense, something that touches the heart of what it is to be human, perhaps the heart of what human IS. They are somehow personal and eternal, ephemeral, constricted to our lives, and things of eternity.
And if you don’t think that’s scarier than h*ll, you’ve never experienced it. And somehow you find yourself in the middle of this and you think “if I lose this, it will destroy me. I’ll cease to be. This is now part of me, an essential organ.” And being human, fallible, stupid and at least a little bit self destructive you think “Maybe I can survive if it ends now, but the longer it goes on” and then you try to break it, so it won’t hurt when it dies.
And sometimes you’re in a place where it already hurts you. When your spouse is ill, or has to go away at least for a while. Or when your vocation keeps being met by obstacles, setbacks and disappointments. In both cases, often, when you feel inadequate and unworthy to either vocation or marriage or… well, yes.
You try to destroy it then to stop the pain. Because if it’s not real it can’t hurt you. You try to deny it, block it, turn it away and say “that was never me. I was never that person.”
Except it is and you are. And killing part of yourself hurts like hell and will probably destroy you if you manage it.
I’ve never managed it and have ceased trying with my marriage for decades now. I have, however, continued to fight and lash out at the vocation and extirpate from me this thing that, in the main, has cost me trouble, worry and attempts to mold myself into something I’m not in order to survive the business. Or at least the business as it was.
It was only last week I realize I fight it so hard because it is what matters. Because it is a part of me near the center of my being. And if I managed to destroy it, it would ultimately — even if the body kept on — be a really complicated way of committing suicide or at least severe self-maiming.
A vocation is not just an interest — I’m interested in tons of things — or something you do well. Arguably I started out doing writing very badly and have now come to some sort of competency through hitting my head against the wall often enough. (rephrenology for the win.) It’s not even something you WANT to do. Heck, there are a ton of things I want to do, some of them much easier.
A vocation is difficult and so scary that you — I — almost feel compelled to try to escape it. And such a vital part of you that giving it up causes pain but it also always — even when going well — has the potential to hurt you, consume you or destroy you.
Which is why I often hide for the hills.
Fortunately something there is which herds me back to the path, when I’m about to make a break for the electric fence.
In this case, beyond the litany of firings, laying offs and closings of pathways that has been going on since November last year, we’re now in the realm of “petty.” I mean, killing ones cattle and crops one gets, but when the plow rusts, so one has to plant that which has to be done by hand with the hoe, it becomes a comedy.
We came back from the wedding trip, to find that the alarm on younger son’s car has stopped recognizing his key, so that’s going to cost us a bunch of money which we frankly don’t have to repair (we know what’s wrong. We just lack the tools to fix it). That falls under cattle and fields, and we’ve reached the outlying paddocks or perhaps the rabbit cages. BUT this morning we woke up to some kind of city truck on the street, and found our internet is gone.
Well, after the wedding I’d be inclined to spend the day socializing on line, catching up on things that slipped, and perhaps discussing other stuff. But the truth is I can’t. I’m writing this while tethered to my phone, as our house is without internet access. And the phone has a limited amount of data. So I might not be in the comments much today, until the internet problem is solved. And perhaps if I’m good and finish stuff to come out indie, I’ll be allowed to have internet and stop being herded quite so hard.
Until then, I’m going to work.