I probably used to be a lot funnier…

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I’m at Annual Training for the National Guard, and it’s been a bit of a struggle. I’m not coping well with my latest bout of depression, and it’s been hard to be functional and not a drag on my section.

I’m incredibly lucky in that my NCOIC is not only a good NCO, but a good friend, and he’s helping me develop coping mechanisms to get through the next 10-ish days. Having something to focus on that I am, quite frankly, good at helps. I may not be able to control all the brain weasels, but I can still frame a shot, and with help, put together a video.

I’m eating well, at least, because my beloved husband took the time to shop for me and I have the means to cook. That helps. I’m exercising too, which is good, although good BOB it’s hot out there. (Note to self: Pls to drink more water today. That headache is probably from a lack of sleep but the lack of water isn’t helping.)

Anyway, I didn’t start out this blog post with the idea of updating my latest go ’round with the brain weasels, even though they’re kind of inevitable in my life.

No, I’ve had the germ for this post in my head for a while and I finally saw something on Facebook that made me think it was time to write it down.

It was silly- “Tweets From Couple That Prove They’re Winning at Marriage!”or something very similar.

Accompanying the click-bait headline were, indeed, a bunch of tweets. Most of them supposedly highlighted the “inevitable” conflict of marriage. The “humorous inequality,” or the “henpecked hubby” were also pretty common and frankly, I don’t get this at all.

John and I, well, we talk. If one of us is feeling blue or like we’re not being listened to, the other one pays attention and we work together to fix the communication. There aren’t towels he can use in “my house,” and he isn’t henpecked because I talk over him and don’t value what he says. I don’t second-guess his shopping or whether or not he uses coupons. There is no wrong way to put milk back in the fridge, and if there is something that would irritate me SO much if it were “done wrong,” I do it myself.

We do finish each others’ sentences, or sometimes we don’t finish conversations but we still know exactly what we said and discussed. (Evidently we “do that married thing” a fair bit.)

But seriously, he’s my best friend. He’s the one person I want to see more than anyone else at the end of the day. He’s my favorite in the history of EVER. Why would I want to tweet things that are…mean?

I know, some folks find it funny. They find it funny to take stealth pictures of their SO doing something…whatever, and then post it. Or they find it funny to show the world how “bad” their marriage is, and I don’t get it.

What I do get, and I’m so dang grateful that I can’t even begin to express it, is a husband who respects my boundaries. We’ve talked about the fact that I don’t like having my picture taken, especially if I’m asleep or doing something goofy, and posted, and he respects me enough to not do that. Oh, I’d get over it, but he’s kind enough to not put me in the position of having to get over it, and that’s worth so much to me.

It’s kind, it’s considerate, and it’s a concrete example of the esteem he holds me in.

If you and your spouse are okay with teasing each other in public, or making those kind of posts, go for it. I personally just don’t understand it.

Storytelling

I recently ran across a Wall Street Journal article claiming that good storytellers are happier people and have better relationships. The article is good as far as it goes, suggesting that bonding while storytelling is important, and that we do it early in the relationship but tend to fall off.

I’m going to go a step or two further. Sharing stories means creating a shared reality. If you and your partner build a consensus reality that strengthens the relationship. This is the reason why Jen and I share stories about ourself. In telling stories to others, we reinforce the emotions and associations of those stories.

http://www.wsj.com/articles/why-good-storytellers-are-happier-in-life-and-in-love-1467652052

 

Still alive…

Just trying to keep the black dog from gnawing my face off.

Still stupidly happily married, even with not having a job.

Still have the silliest puppies ever in my life.

Also, I’m learning that goat milk has a much steeper learning curve when it comes to making yogurt.

And that pearls really do spiff up garments.

Christ is Risen!

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I went into Holy Week utterly broken. Defeated. Even, dead inside. I was actually dreading the entire week. I knew John wanted to attend as many services as possible, and I was doing my best to drag myself out of bed and lay down some articles to pick up some freelancing money, and the last thing I wanted to do was go be social at church.

It’s the most amazing week of the year in the Orthodox Church and I was dreading it? Wait, what? How does that happen?

Well, it comes from losing your job the Wednesday before Palm Sunday and everything you thought you had in the works crashing down around your ears. It comes from struggling to remember why you thought you were ever going to amount to anything, really. It comes from that persistent and nagging fear that you really are as horrible as you think you are, and that you are going to drag your beloved husband into poverty and disaster when you finally come crashing to a halt against the rocks.

(With that said, I’m still pushing out resumes, even though I feel utterly defeated at the idea of trying to sell myself right now.)

So, Holy Week. I’d been to several of the services over the past years, but hadn’t made the effort to get to more than one or two. This year, though, this year was a bit different.

We went to Palm Sunday, and had plans to attend the Bridegroom service that evening, but John didn’t feel well, so we skipped it. Monday, we attended a Bridegroom service. Tuesday, I’d made a commitment to my SCA barony’s heavy fighters, so John and I went to the park to hit people with sticks. (Well, let’s be fair. He hit people with sticks.)

Wednesday, we arrived just after the service of Holy Unction and that’s when the marathon started in earnest.

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Holy Wednesday at Transfiguration Greek Orthodox Church.

Fr. Vasileios had JUST finished Holy Unction, and was still anointing people as we walked in and I scurried up front to receive. And then, I lost my shit. Oh, not noisily, or messily, but I just couldn’t stop the tears that welled up. Father gave me a huge hug, and I sniffled into his robes, and then went to sit in a pew and just cry. I’m not even 100% sure what I was crying about. I just cried.  Fr. Vasileios humbled himself to wash our feet, as Jesus washed the feet of the disciples, and that was…moving. I cried.

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Fr. Vasileios (left) and Father Deacon George (right) wash a young parishioner’s feet.

Thursday, I wasn’t up to the Vesperal Liturgy at 10, so I was lazy and stayed home, writing. If I’m being fair to myself, I wasn’t writing for fun, but to submit to a freelancing gig and get paid for it.

That evening, though…ooooof. We headed to church for the Service of the Holy Passion with the Twelve Gospel Readings. It started about 7pm, and it was a crash course in how to survive an emotional roller coaster for the next three and a half hours.

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Seriously, all I could think was “No, I don’t want this to happen!” and “Oh my God, what have we DONE?” It was…awful. Horrible. Terrible. I might have cried through a LOT of it. And by a LOT, I mean like most of it. I kept trying to figure out how to stop it all, even though I KNEW that it wasn’t possible, we can’t stop this, but that didn’t mean I didn’t *want* to stop it.

All through it, all I could do was hang on with by my teeth and toenails, praying that I too could survive being destroyed and rise again. No, I’m not God, not Jesus, not anything more than just me, but oh, that service, in the midst of the horror and the pain and the incomprehensible awfulness of what was going on, even knowing it was necessary, I wanted to think that if God could endure betrayal, condemnation and death on the Cross, maybe, just maybe, I could survive this too. Maybe, if God could rise again, maybe I can too.

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At the end of the Holy Passion service.

 

Friday, which John took off work, started out with the Royal Hours. It was lovely, and quiet, exactly what I needed after the emotionally draining Holy Passion service. The Descent from the Cross at is always one of my favorite services, and this year was no different. I’m not sure what it is, but the solemnity and love as the icon of the crucified Christ is gently removed from the cross and wrapped in clean linen…it’s strangely healing. The service of the Lamentations at the Holy Tomb is hard, but needed. We need to mourn, to recognize what’s happened, to allow ourselves the time to grieve.

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John (right) and another altar server prepare to remove the icon of Christ from the Cross, while another altar server waits with clean white linen.

Saturday started off with the Proti Anastasi, which celebrates the harrowing of Hades, the fact that Haded received the body of a man, and came face to face with God. It is joyful, and was exactly what I needed. Also, if you ever need a pick me up, your priest laughing and throwing bay leaves over the congregation is a great thing!

How to explain that night? It’s the culmination of all that we have hoped and waited for. The Resurrection is revealed, Christ is Risen and we are all renewed and made right. There was darkness, then light, then joy and wonder and love. Also, it’s the breaking of the Lenten fast, which means there’s a huge pot luck and we all get to indulge in the foods we’ve avoided for 40 days.

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Ready to celebrate!

I feel like I’ve nattered on forever, so I’ll wrap up today’s novel with CHRISTOS ANESTI!

  • Jen

Forgiveness

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Reintegration is always a joy. The period following extended separation is, in many ways, worse than the period of separation. The longer or more stressful the separation, the more rocky reintegration can be. We’ve done this dance over and over, most recently after a mere 30 day deployment to the National Training Center.

Reintegration has broken marriages, as many as have fell to separation. I’ve heard it over and over.

I don’t worry.

The reason is the fundamental principle which titles this article. I know I’m not perfect. It would be hypocritical to expect perfection of my Beloved. The one thing we do, not perfectly but close enough to perfectly, is to forgive each other.

I’m going to go out on a limb and say that without forgiveness in a marriage, it is impossible for it to last. If we take as given that all of us, being human, are imperfect, then it stands to reason that we will all make errors in our relations even with the people we love the most. But if we cannot let go of those time when our partner hurts us, slights us, or fails somehow, then eventually their weight becomes overwhelming.

I hear people in relationships talking about forgiveness in the worst ways, as if they were given a weapon for future fights when their partner does wrong. “I’ll forgive him, but he’s going to work for it first.” Or they use the words of forgiveness, and then bring it up as a bludgeon in the next argument. This is most harmful, because it teaches the other partner that no argument is ever over, no wrong is ever made right, and nothing is ever good enough to make up for past mistakes.

Obviously, as Christians, we are commanded to forgive. To bury offenses so deep we cannot recall the details. But as humans who have sharp edges and vulnerable spots, we must learn to forgive, or we will most certainly be unable to bear each other’s presence.

  • John

Bent, not broken.

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We’re fine, but this song has been the subject of some discussion between John and me.

P!nk is, in a word, amazing. She’s tough, vulnerable, not scared of heights (something I cannot even pretend to) and open about her struggles with life. This song, a duet with Nate Ruenes, has been on repeat for a while now.

John actually brought it up first, as a song he found uplifting and positive. Friends of ours had just announced a split, saying their marriage was “broken,” and past fixing, and I think it just made him introspective.

Just Give Me A Reason seems to speak to both of us, in that we actively seek ways to fall in love with each other all the time.

Also, John totally stole my heart, and I let him. He sees the worst parts of me, and loves me despite them. He finds reasons to love me, to see the best in me, to uplift and exalt and delight in me every day. I still find his smile irresistible, the sound of his laugh to be music to my soul, the curve of his spine to be beautiful and perfect.

He gives me reason, every day, to remember why and how and how much I love him.

  • Jen

Knitting No-jo?

Ugh. I’m not sure what’s going on, but my knitting mojo has turned into knitting NO-jo.

Knitted some at lunch today, which was nice, since it’s an easy-peasy mistake rib scarf in a forgettable grey acrylic, but it’s frustrating because I have ALL THIS GORGEOUS fiber at home and I’m just all…meh.

I have patterns I love and yarns that are just delicious, but zero motivation. Maybe I should do something knitty for Lent or something.

  • Jen

Civil War: Captain America

I just saw the second trailer. There is so much there relevant to the discourse we’re seeing now. SO MUCH.

As I watched, I remembered someone giving me shit after I burbled in joy all over my Facebook about how incredibly awesome Star Wars: The Force Awakens was. They sneered at me for giving my hard earned money to a faceless Goliath of a corporation, feeding the capitalist beast that would consume the world.

But you know what? This movie, Civil War: Captain America, a movie based on a comic book series about the intersection of power, and security, and freedom, something I think we’re all interested in, at least in my country, was bought and paid for with our money. Geeks, who finally convinced Hollywood that we’ve got the power to pay for movies and IPs we love, that resonate with us, that will, if timed right, resonate with an entire country.

So, I’m kinda proud of that, and proud that my cash made even a tiny bit of difference.

  • Jen

ZOOOOOM!

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Wait, where did the month GO?

Daaaang.

Anyway, John is home, things are good, and we are, as always, thrilled to be hanging out with each other.

I’ve been reading a blog over on Ancient Faith dealing with death and dying, and what a “Christian ending to our life- peaceful, blameless and unashamed” truly means. It’s not a new subject for me, or for John, or for us as a couple really.

I’ll be working out my thoughts again, and trying to put them down this week.

For now, I need to get moving on an award rec at work. My brain is muddled due to thunderstorms, and dogs barking at said weather at 0100, so it’s a long, uphill slog today.

  • Jen