Like most marriages, we've had our fair share of flame years, family first years, crisis years,
adventure years, companionable years and some years of unrelenting turbulence. Our best years seem to be the ones where we have a common goal; where Blowfish and I both bring our best skills to the endeavor and find delight in each other and the accomplishment.
When we first moved here to the Pond, well, I just don't transplant too well and it took me a long time to set my tap root in this new patch. We did okay that first year here, but I was having a tough time. I generally am a joyful being but I was glum in a way I didn't understand. And, to be honest, lurking underneath the day to day adjustments to a different sort of life in a different sort of place there was a fierce anger with Blowfish just bubbling away.
My most favorite things about Blowfish is he has an easy smile, an ability to derive great pleasure from simple things, a dry wit and he just plain does not have a temper.
That's a good thing because I've got a fare amount of firecracker in me. I guess that is one "opposite" that works well for us. On the other hand Blowfish is about the most stubborn creature on the planet. Course, he says it isn't "stubborn" if it's "right". He reckons the issue is we don't always see the same "right' in every circumstance. When we run across those circumstances ... well I'm the firecracker shouting my position out and he is the stubborn one not saying much and as unyielding as granite. I have come to recognize that is our reality and not an issue that can ever be resolved.
About our fifth year here at the Pond, we had our worst year ever. Really bad. I know that year terrified and grieved Mermaid and I think everyone who knows us was expecting the "announcement" any moment. I certainly gave a lot of thought to " is this how I want to live? is life going to be like this for us forever?." On the better or worse front this was certainly "worse" which I had vowed to endure but like most I stood at that alter believing the "worse" would be a small sprinkling in an otherwise "better" life. That year seemed like "better" would never show up again.
There came a day when neither of us could endure the tension and friction encompassing our days. It was a weekend, which meant we would be in the same place at the same time, something we had been avoiding. On that day, even minimal civility was a struggle. It did not take much for the fat to fry. Blowfish has things to say but can't always get 'em said. I, on the other hand never run out of words and the hotter I get the faster those words fly. On that morning Blowfish hustled out to his truck and drove away without uttering a word.
Being chock full of adrenalin and unresolved wrath I certainly wasn't capable of sitting down to a nice cup of tea and the paper. I slapped my way thru the screened door and headed for the yard tools.
We had an area between the rear drive and the walled garden which was overgrown with brambles and ivy vines as big around as my wrist. We had always kept this area neat but the Pond is big, we had other priorities and had just never taken the time to get this area squared away. We had just sort of maintained what was there. So there I was out in the yard expending the furies with the frenzied wielding of loppers, saws, shovels, and clippers . While I was at this hard labor I was also verbalizing all my angst. There was some cussing, a lot of thoughts of who, what, where, when, how did I arrive at this place and this point in my life ? It was a miserable day.
About 3 hours into the effort I uncovered an unknown area of poured concrete way back underneath the ivy. I worked and yelled some more until finally it was time to rake and move and haul all the cleaned out vegetation. Exhausted, I put away the garden tools and was headed toward a hot shower when I looked back over my shoulder to assess the results of my efforts. It wasn't good enough. I needed to drag an extension cord up the driveway and blow off all the little debris left behind. I was too tired so I decided it would be easier if I, just this one time, hosed it off.
While I was dragging the hose I was having a right pithy conversation with God and toward the end of my God chat I ended with this statement, "Maybe I am too stupid Lord to get the meaning of a thing all wrapped up in a parable. I would really love it if You could be a little more straightforward. I am TRYING my best to honor Your will but that is a difficult thing to accomplish when I don't know what the hell it is!"
I started hosing away all the debris so this time I could look back and feel like something good had come of this wretched day. As I hosed the area where the concrete had been exposed, I saw there were numbers carved in the concrete. I couldn't see them well so I tightened up the spray nozzle for a bit more force and bent over to take a closer look. There, carved in the concrete at the Pond was our wedding date. Month. Day. Year.
I stood still as a stone for the longest time. If I had thoughts, I don't remember them.
But I will always remember seeing a retrospective of my life with Blowfish. A fast moving streaming video of the first day I laid eyes on him and onward from there. That streaming video moved on past the present and into the future with that same incredible speed and then, nothing.
No parable there.
Ask and you shall receive.
God spoke straightforwardly