Saturday, November 14, 2009

Sympathy in choice

Just ran out to get some caffeine sustanence for the afternoon.  I didn't fall asleep until about 4am, so am incredibly groggy today...even though drinking a caffeinated beverage this late in the day will probably doom me to another sleepless night.  Sigh.  Then, as I was driving home, I noticed I was being tailed, by one of our city's finest. And, though I was carefully following every traffic law, once we were on a quiet (ish) street, sure enough, that inimitable red and blue flashing light turned on.  More calmly than I would have expected to be in that situation (I knew I hadn't broken any law), I rolled down my window, retrieved insurance card, my license and dug through the glove box, trying to find the right registration.  There were four of them in there.  He asked, "Do you know why I stopped you?"  "I haven't the faintest idea," I answered.  "Your tabs are expired." Ahhh.

When I'd left the house, keys to my car in hand, I realized that Beve's Toyota pick-up was parked behind it in the driveway.  So I exchanged my keys for his, and took the pick-up.  I rarely drive that rig.  For one thing, Beve takes it to work every day.  And, I can't drive it when Beve and I are together (or even J and I, for that matter).  If I move the seat forward enough to drive it, neither Beve, the legal giant, or J, who's 5 inches shorter but has the incredibly long legs of my mother's family, can fit into the seat.  But I drove it alone today.  And had a pleasant conversation with a friendly policeman. 

I think I dodged the 126$ ticket by perhaps--perhaps!--exaggerating how annoyed I was with the Beve.  I did feel slightly annoyed. I told the cop that my husband would be hearing from me about this. The cop laughed.  I laughed as well. However, I know Beve has more work than daylight most days, and I get that he's absent-minded.  Trust me, I get it.  As Mr, Bennet, the father in Pride and Prejudice tells his wife, "I have a high respect for your nerves.  They are my old friends."  Likewise, Beve's foibles are my old friends, just as my countless faults are his.  But, just so you realize I'm not a saint about these things, after I didn't pass go, but got myself to the DOL to buy tabs (the DOL just happened to be a block away from my interlude with the cop), I pulled out my cell-phone and called Beve.  May have even exaggerated my annoyance with him. But he knew I wasn't really mad. Just as I am used to his foibles, he can certainly read my tone of voice.  Now, if I'd gotten that ticket--plus having to buy the tabs!--that would have made me mad.

Marriage. That's what I'm thinking about today.  We got an email this morning from a friend who has had her parents in her home a couple of months.  Her dad has been caring for his wife for years.  Decades, really.  Maybe four of them. Since my friend was a young girl.  A couple of months ago, my friend, who became a nurse in part because of her mother's poor health, in part because she's by nature the most nurturing woman I've ever know, told her dad that he needed more help, that she was taking them home.  "Did you talk to your husband about this?"  "I don't need to," my friend told her dad.  "We've already talked about it.  We already knew this day was coming."  That's a marriage I admire.  But so is the marriage of her parents.  The servanthood of her dad to care of an ill wife for decades.  This morning that service ended as my friend's mother died peacefully in her sleep, the servant-husband beside her.

I think of these marriages, of this man who suddenly has a life-long weight lifted from his shoulders.  It's a whole new world for him this afternoon, and I'm wondering how he will navigate it.  Will he feel released?  Or will he feel at loose ends?  Each are equally possible after such a life.  Maybe both at once.  And will my friend who has waited for this day with her dad, not merely for the last two months but for who knows how long before that, feel a peace and freedom?  Or will she begin to grieve the mother she lost to illness when she was only a child?  I hope for both for her, even if that sounds odd.  I'm thankful that she's been there, that she's the amazing, intentional nurturer she is, that her marriage is such that she knew these privileged last days would be welcome in her home, even if they've been hard.

And, I'm thankful that my own marriage is such that we care about each other's families.  Even if we find them slightly odd. I'm thankful that Beve is the one I'm walking through all these hard days with.  I'm thankful that God sent us across the world to find each other, and has never given us an out since.  His family is my family, just as--of course, but hallelujah for like-mindedness--his God is my god.  Sympathy in choice.  For my friend, her parents, Beve and me...and all those sympathico people we take for granted.

No news on G-J. We're going to sit by her bedside tomorrow.  I'll keep you posted. 

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