I thought I was finished for the night, but I guess not. Something happened tonight, something bad. That seems to be the way of it lately. It's not something I can share since it's not my secret. It belongs to other people who are trapped in a terrible dance of lies and deceit and God only knows where it will end.
I gave my usual advice when asked -- that the truth is always best since it will eventually come out anyway, that there are trained professionals who can help, that life will go on, and that God really does care for us no matter what.
All the usual truths, the advice that no one takes, the words we all nod our heads to while thinking, You don't understand.
So now I'm realizing how outdated I am, how old fashioned. How utterly ... romantic.
See, I still believe in love in first sight. I still believe that two people can heal their broken hearts. I still believe in babies and puppies and apple pie and vanilla ice cream. I know all the words to The Star Spangled Banner and sing them loudly at ballgames. I like church and the people who go there. I also like books and old movies and playing Scrabble and Uno.
I told a girl a long time ago that I believed in people having space in marriages and that they should have their own lives. I only said it because I wanted to not scare her off, but I tell you now and will tell her if I get the chance that I didn't mean a word of it. I believe in best friends who love each other and would rather spend their time together than apart, and if you don't have that in your marriage, you should fix it or get out. And I believe you can fix it if you both want to.
Why state this all of this when it is probably not much of a secret to anyone who reads this blog? Because I feel threatened lately. I feel pressed. I feel the world closing in. I watch people I love tear themselves apart, and I have to repeat to myself to what I believe and why this life is worth living.
It's a promise to myself. It's a reminder to keep my head up. It's a binding of heaven and earth. It's a prayer.
It's a prayer.
There's a Zen story that goes something like this. A man was walking along a path near a cliff when a bear began to chase him. To escape, he started to climb down the cliff, but halfway down, he hear a growling below him, and it was a pack of wild dogs leaping up at him. He couldn't go up and he couldn't go down, and his hands were getting tired. Just then he saw, growing out of the cliff, a wild strawberry plant with one ripe berry. The berry was red, plump and beautiful. Letting go with one hand, he reached out and picked the berry and ate the berry. It was delicious.
And he smiled.