Sunday, April 22, 2012

What the what?

Subject line reads: It’s been 6 months since your wedding…
And now, I need a baby website?!
Are you kidding me? My sole purpose in life is not to become a wife so that I can become an incubator. Perhaps we are missing the concept of working on and establishing our relationships before we introduce another person into them?

Friday, April 6, 2012

A tale of divine and canine love

After my divorce, people frequently asked if I was going to get remarried. That always confused me and seemed a little too personal; not coincidentally, that question always came from those who had never married or those who were happily married. My co-workers and acquaintances who had experienced a divorce never asked future questions, only those about the present; as for the future, they spoke in statements such as, “you will get through this”; “you will come out of this a stronger person than you went in.” My college best friend’s parents, who lived around the corner, were very supportive; her mother, who had also been divorced before she found her happily ever after, regularly told me, “I have faith that some day you’ll meet your Joe.” (Joe is my best friend’s father, the only husband who treated her as a husband should, and an all-around great guy.). I regularly quipped that I would be lucky to find a husband who would hold a job & help pay bills instead of accumulate them.
I didn’t end a marriage with the purpose of starting a new relationship immediately, so the concept of a new marriage in the midst of my failed one seemed a bit rash. However, people just kept asking that insensitive question, so I had to find an answer to it. Preferably one that would diffuse the tension of such a traumatic experience in my life with some humor and hopefully sensitively send the message that they may have asked a question that was too personal.
The answer that evolved was, “I don’t plan to marry again unless I find a guy who is just as excited to see my eyes flutter open in the morning and as happy to see me walk through the door in the evening as my dog.” Ellie, my now 5 year old golden retriever-border collie rescue, is about as exuberant a greeter as you’ll ever meet. Ever since my divorce, she has curled up with me each night and never ceases to wag her tail and attempt to get a kiss in each morning when I stir.
Think about it - who wouldn’t want a spouse who:
-expresses joy in your very existence
-will stay by your side, even when you cry, snap at them, unnecessarily scold them, unintentionally take your emotions out on them
-will snuggle up to you when you are having a tough day
-puts your needs before their own
-forgives unquestioningly
-lives in the moment
-loves unconditionally
If Ellie had opposable thumbs, she’d be the perfect spouse! All she needs is her two meals a day, water, and if you take her for a walk, she’s your best friend for life.
4 years later, I am happy to have married a man who meets (most of) the qualities on that list (nearly) all the time. Without a stitch of makeup, hair in a ponytail, wearing a worn-out t shirt, or done up to the 9s, he looks at me like I’m the only girl in the room. But I’ve come to realize that it may not be possible to have a spouse who is as forgiving as my Ellie-dog. Or who loves me completely even as I’m scolding her for something she didn’t intend to do. Or who comes back to me as eagerly after I’ve pushed her away.
I don’t think spouses are capable of that. And, in the last year, I have come to think they aren’t supposed to be. Should we strive for that kind of selfless love in our marriages? Absolutely. Should we rely on that from our spouse? Seems a bit of an unrealistic expectation to me.
I don’t think God had spouses in mind to do that job. (He may have put dogs on the earth to remind us of the end goal; I wouldn’t put that past God’s sense of humor for a heartbeat.) We all fail, every day, and part of that failure will be failing each other. It happens. But as I look up on the list of things that my little rescue dog does on a daily basis, just because I welcomed her into my home, I see the same list of things that God has done for us since we came into being.
Why is it so hard for us to accept that God truly delights in our existence? Why wouldn’t He rejoice in another day that we are alive on this earth? I’m just as guilty of it as the next girl, probably worse. Why is it so more believable that my dog loves me unconditionally than to accept and embrace the love of the God who made me?
Yes, He made me strong, and sassy; quick-witted and wise; quick to laugh and quick to cut to the quick of the matter in the midst of chaos. He gave me these gifts that have made me who I am. After answering all those awkward questions the last few years, I feel that I know myself better than I ever have. Even in that confidence, I still feel unsure and unable to accept that gift.
Maybe the next time Ellie wags at me and plants a wet one on my barely conscious cheek, I’ll consider that she’s just relaying a divine message.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

True leadership

Steve Burke, CEO of NBC Universal, on what he views as the role of a leader.
1. The first role of a leader is to determine the truth, not what you want the truth to be.
2. Once you have a clear picture of reality, you have to work with your team to figure out what the plan is going forward.
3. A good leader takes the time to explain why others should support the plan.
4. Giving people the resources to execute the plan will make sure it’s successful.
5. After progress is made, you have to go back to the beginning, evaluate the situation again and adjust.
I’d love to work for this guy!