I once heard someone mention something that C.S. Lewis said. That makes this, I suppose, less a "quote" than "gossip." Anyhow, the gist of what he said was the fact that humans are surprised by the passage of time is evidence that we are eternal beings. After all, we’ve always existed in time in this birth-to-death existence. For us to be shocked - “no, he’s not THAT old already!”- that time is passing makes as much sense as a fish being surprised that water is wet.
Today, thirteen years ago, I married my first husband. Now see, this is why I don’t scrapbook. To put pictures together to tell your life’s story requires you to understand it. I can still see that day, can still smell the sprinkling of rain that had me an anxious mess. I can hear the papery rustle of the underskirt of my wedding dress. I can feel the taut satin that clutched my stomach in as I peeked out the window of my great aunt and uncle’s house at what I thought was to be the rest of my life.
But I cannot, for the life of me, understand what happened after that.
I cannot figure out how he and I ended up living such radically separate lives.
As Clay and I puzzle through the work of legally disentangling the boys from my ex, I keep finding myself suddenly awash in emotion. Sunday I stood in church, weeping through the entire service, because how dare he? It is the right thing he is doing, choosing to let go because it is the best for these sons of mine, but I find myself again again again in the same rage and anguish at his choices.
How did we end up here?
It’s not a lack of forgiveness I’m feeling. It’s not a lack of anything. This is my life today: in the mornings, when Clay leaves for work in the dark quiet of a still-sleeping house, he pauses on his way out the door and says quietly, “I love you.”
I don’t know if he knows I can hear him, back in the bedroom, tucked deep in our bed. But I do, and I think, does he mean me? Or the boys? Or our home, the whole of this life we’ve built together?
I think yes. All of it, yes.
How can it be that I am so grateful for now, and yet so angry about the past?
What I’m wondering today is this: if our surprise at time marks us humans as eternal beings, what does it then mean that we are so very shocked by the failure of love?