Sunday, May 16, 2010

Information Exchange

I had a conversation this evening with someone who is just about my age--in her fifties--and in the beginning of a relationship.  This is a strange, unexpected place to be.  She feels a little like an eighteen-year-old, excited, glowy, downright twitter-patered, while at the same time a wise old mother whispers from within her own brain, telling her to act cautiously.  I heard both sides of her as we spoke tonight.  I heard the flush of what can only be called 'young' love, no matter how old she is, and the older mother behind that flush, saying, 'slow down, be careful.'

She told me that the sheer volume of information she and her new 'beau' have to exchange is overwhelming.  When you do it in your twenties, it happens naturally, or without thinking about it, and, let's be honest, there's a whole lot less history to have to share.  But most of life has happened for these two love-birds since then.  Marriages, children, parents' deaths, professions.  Not to mention just all the trivial things that make up a person. Once a few years ago, a friend of mine told me that it was the shared memories that kept her marriage intact.  No one else had them.  No one else knew all the little things, even if some friends might have known the big ones.  And this friend tonight confirmed this.  Trying to reproduce all those little things for a new relationship, it's exhausting.  She told me that if this doesn't work, she can't imagine doing it again.  Not now that she knows what it takes.  "You and Beve never even had to do most of what twenty-year olds do, so you don't have a clue what I'm talking about."  But I can imagine.  And it causes chills to run down my back at the thought.

It made me wonder, though, about all those things I just take for granted that I know about the Beve.  About his family, his friends, his likes and dislikes.  His way of being. He takes me for granted as well. Tonight, for example, we went to Olive Garden, with Grampie, Thyrza, Thyrza's daughter and husband, Grampie's brother and wife.  Quite a crowd of extended family.  And I knew that Beve would get the seafood Alfredo, if he didn't ask the waiter what he'd recommend. I knew he'd bat clean-up if I didn't finish my food, and be glad to finish anyone else's as well.  Beve can really eat when he wants to, though you'd never know it to look at him. And part of having Beve's 'stuff' in my head, means I have Grampie's 'stuff' on file in my head now, too.  I knew that Grampie wanted the chicken and gnocche soup to go with Chicken Alfredo.  I told him what to order when the confusion was screaming across his face.  He ate that soup like he'd never tasted it before, by the way, and loved it. 

Anyway, my point is, I'd never really thought about the information exchange my friend was talking about tonight, because most of my relationships have grown up organically.  Out of some soil or other.  A shared job, shared mission.  And the sharing of lives comes slowly up through the soil without thought or plan.  Without rush.  After the conversation I had with this friend I got to thinking about God hating divorce.  I've thought about this so many times, and have generally seen His hatred of divorce as a hatred of anything that hurts His children.  And divorce hurts.  It always, always hurts. But I was thinking tonight that He also knows that our lives grow naturally in a rhythm that matches the earth.  We grow up, leave one family, begin another, and work to grow that family up.  Divorce slices through that natural rhythm, and creates in re-singled people this need to exchange all this information at an accelerated rate.  Or at least in a less than organic rate.  And He watches us and sees that it's harder.  Not that He doesn't love us where we are now, no matter where that is, or forgive us for whatever we have done today (married or not) that needs forgiving, but He knows that our life might have been easier.

Hmmm.  Makes me wonder, though.  What would be easier in my life now if I hadn't done it yesterday?  Because I'm no different than the next person. There are things I've done that have hurt me.  And those things hurt Him.  They hurt Him more than they hurt me.  They already did.  I've heard that saying before, haven't you?  "This is going to hurt me more than it hurts you."  And you never quite believe it.  But here, here is where it's true.  Whatever we do that hurts us, whatever has been done to us that hurts us, we can be sure it hurts Him more.  In fact, it HURT Him more.  Present tense and past tense all at once.  That's the truth.  Our hurts hurt Him to death.

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