Thursday, January 25, 2007

Regrets

If it is possible, listen to these two songs while reading this little post...

The Crane Wife 1 & 2” by the Decemberists and “Long Ride Home” by Patty Griffin.

When I first began attending my church (15 years ago) there was an older couple.

I don’t remember her very well. Honestly, I don’t remember her at all... She died soon after we began sitting in those wooden pews.

I do remember the man. He had a metal fabricating business and he did several projects for the church.

But that isn’t what I remember most about him.

One day I went over to his house to talk over some project, and we chatted a little before I left. Standing there, leaning against his pickup, I saw a pain rise up in his eyes I had never noticed before.

He looked hard at me, cleared his throat, and gave me some advice.

“Don’t forget to be gentle,” he said. “It’s easy to get busy, to do the things a man does to support his home, and take his wife for granted. Be sure to stop frequently and really look at the woman in the kitchen.”

Someone dug a hole six long feet in the ground
I said goodbye to you and I threw my roses down
Ain't nothing left at all in the end of being proud
With me riding in this car, and you flying through the clouds


I never looked at him the same way again. Whenever I shook his hand on Sunday morns, or in the produce section of the grocery, I saw a tightness about his eyes, a deep pain. Regret.

One day I took your tiny hand
Put your finger in the wedding band
Your daddy gave a piece of land
We laid ourselves the best of plans
Forty years go by with someone laying in your bed
Forty years of things you say you wish you'd never said
How hard would it have been to say some kinder words instead
I wonder as I stare up at the sky turning red


I’ve a friend in pain right now. A good man. A man I respect, who loves his family and is one of the greatest educators I have ever met.

He and I have been praying together.

His younger daughter, a sweet child now with a baby of her own, is in an abusive relationship. Her controlling, angry husband watches her every move, keeping her from making friends, from having money, from making phone calls.



My crane wife arrived at my door in the moonlight
All starbright and tongue-tied I took her in
We were married and bells rang sweet for our wedding
And our bedding was ready and we fell in

Sound the keening bell
And see it's painted red
Soft as fontanelle
The feathers in the thread
And all I ever meant
To do was to keep you
My crane wife
My crane wife
My crane wife

We were poorly, our fortunes fading hourly
And how she loved me, she could bring it back

But I was greedy, I was vain and I forced her to weaving

On a cold loom in a closed room, down the hall




Men are beasts. I suppose women are also. We are all fallen creatures. But men have too much control for their own good, for their level of maturity.

Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave Himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to Himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. --Ephesians 5:25-28

There is a reason our Lord made certain these words got to us. Men are beasts.

I think one of the reasons for teaming up such different creatures, a man and a woman, is that there are things we each bring to the table, things we need to learn from each other.

Men are hunters. We were designed to scan the horizon, to spot the herds, to track the prey and grasp our destinies. We were designed to look ahead and take control, and plan the fortunes of our homes and families. We look to the future more easily.

Women nurture. They notice the growing things, the pace of life, the way certain foods heal, the things necessary for warmth and comfort and beauty. They look at the now more easily.

Men are good at dragging the bloodied carcass home and flinging it onto the linen and thumping our chests in victories won.

But we need taming. we need someone to tell us to pick our ephods off the bathroom floor and to wash the grime from our calloused hands.

Now the best of men, the perfect man, was a gentle man. He loved deeply and knew how to salve wounds. But he also knew how to stand firm, to show strength, solidity firm enough to support the foundations of a universe.

“Husbands, love your wives...”

We were made larger, stronger, faster. These are gifts, useful tools granted to us so we may better lead, and support.

But being the head of a household is not the same as being a tyrant.

“Husbands, love your wives...”

We need gentling. We need to remember the light in the eyes of the woman we fell in love with and keep that spark glowing, keep that spark bright, so it may light the darkening years of age.

So we don’t end our lives regretting words spoken, deeds done and undone.



37 comments:

Anonymous said...

This post touched me deeply. I've noticed my husband is changing lately...especially since the melanoma diagnosis and now several health ailments. It's as if he's waking up to me...and doesn't want to take me for granted anymore.

Anyway, thank you another good post. Your writing is right on target.

Coco said...

Thank you for your prayers, and support...both my husband and I will be seeking professional help.

My husband wants to work on our marriage (which is a good thing), and he also wants to work on our "communication", and on spending more time together...ALL good things!

Again, THANK YOU!

Blessings to you and your family,
Coco

Noel Lewis said...

"In the same way, …wives are to be women worthy of respect, not malicious talkers but temperate and trustworthy in everything." 1Timothy 3:11

Anonymous said...

Very good post! It speaks a lot of truth to marriage. It indeed is the joining of two people, who bring things to the table. As you share those things, you learn, grow and also a lot of times, balance each other out.

Blessings to you and yours...

Ame said...

there have been moments ... a few ... when the real "him" broke through the layers of who he'd become. "i hope you find someone who deserves you, who will take care of you the way you should be taken care of," he said once. it was a weak moment for him.

at youngest's birthday party last week, we were the only two adults there, working together as in a symphony as we ebbed and flowed through this little girl's 7th birthday party. it was beautiful, and even i found myself wondering ... has he changed? then the girls, having had just too much and really needing mommy, both clung to me as if their lives depended on it, pleading and crying not to go with daddy, "please, mommy, don't make me go!" it wasn't personal toward him, but the pain was in his eyes. it turned out to be a terrible weekend for them. i imagine his pain acted out and aided that fact.

when i think of his moments of weakness, when he can't keep the reality from breaking through the layers of life he's piled on himself, it breaks and grieves my heart to the point of physical pain for him. i cannot imagine.

the same is true of my parents.

but i cannot change the choices they made. i cannot soothe their pain. i do not have the balm for their wounds. their choices have been made; their harsh consequences seem unrelenting. denying their choices and covering their reality only leads to passing on the baton of abuse rather than breaking the cycle and building a bridge to healing.

you give me hope, CS, that there are kind men who choose to be gentle; who choose to live lives which, when sifted, leave little left for regret when it is all said and done. i earnestly pray God chooses to gift me with such a man someday.

yet, even as i can visually see being in this kind of marriage someday, or perhaps dream of being in this kind of marriage someday, i can see myself there and still having to watch the pain of my first husband ... watching our joy ... wishing ... regretting ... pain etched into his face ... listening and watching his very own daughters share their lives with another man in his role. and it grieves my heart for him.

i am free from the chains of abuse he clamored on me. but i am not free from the compassion for one whose choices i cannot change and whose pain i cannot salve. only God; and i am not God.

Lucy Stern said...

I guess I am lucky, I have had a good husband from day one...We work hard to be as one and we seem to work well together. I thank God for him daily...

Lorna said...

wonderful wonderful thoughts CS. thank you

Anonymous said...

Thanks. Your comments are always a welcomed bright spot in my day.

Yes, we beasts were given many gifts. It is truly unfortunate that many of us fail to recognize women as one of the greatest gifts of all. Any greater speed, size or strength we have over women was given to us with the purpose of using them for the betterment and protection of our wives and children. NEVER to be used to intimidate or harm.

Thank you for this post Will.

And you know I may not pray often and you did not ask, but...

Dear Lord,
Please bless, watch over and protect this daughter of yours whom your most wonderful curious servant speaks of today. Please guide her abusive husband to her in a loving, respectful, gentle way, or lead your angry son in a different direction.
Please allow the fear, anger and pain to be taken from them both.

Amen.

Anonymous said...

This post, and the comments have touched me deeply. My sister was in an abusive marriage, and had to leave when it went too far, about 12 years ago. She has never remarried, she lives for her son. She has gotten her life together again, and hopes to find love one day, but it's not easy to open oneself to love again. My heart goes out to everyone, especially the children who are the most vulnerable.

jel said...

thank you!

donna said...

I look forward to tomorrow with hope and prayers with a deeeper understanding of God's design for marriage...with a greater desire that He change my heart ....with a deeper need to learn of Him...so that I might know....How to love and be loved...

Praying...
God Bless you Will.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for your visit and comment on my blog today. I've enjoyed my visit here at your place. :-)

I find that my beliefs fall in line with yours on a great many subjects. Thanks for these words about appreciating our spouses and always being gentle. Wise and powerful words indeed.

Diane

curious servant said...

Sorry I'm a little late in replying, folks.

Vicki: I'm glad things are working out better in your home. Thanks for stpping by.

Coco: I have paused several times this week to pray for you and your huusband. Please let me know how I can prayer better for you.

Noel Lewis: Of course you are right that there are things women need to do. But it's the ol' beam in the eye thing. Much easier to wonder why everyone else is such a screw up than totruly examine ourselves, right? That's my goal this year... to be honest with myself and Him.

AME: Wow! Quite a comment! Thank you for taking the time to share so much. I am so sorry for the burden that you and your husband have and are carrying. I always appreciate you visits so much.

Lucy Stern: Thanks for dropping by once again. I appreciate how you take my pompous comments in stride. Your hubby seems like a pretty great guy, though I only know of him what I have read in his posts. Take care my friend.

Lorna: I'm so glad to be sharing more with you now that we are doing that Bible study together. I've been reading, but too busy to comment a lot. I always feel like I've gotten a special gift when you visit here. You know... a sort of "Wow! I have a Friend in FINLAND!"

Judas Hate: You always seem to find the heart of what I am trying to say. It's good to have you around, brother.

Forget Me Not: How can anyone forget you? It is so sad what has happened to your sister, and to so many others. Men have a lot to answer for.

Jel: You're welcome!

Donna: Thanks for the visit and comments. I know that such posts as these can hurt folks with your experiences. May the Lord bless you and your home my sweet sister.

Diane J: Thanks for visiting! You are too kind and gracious with your comments. I just sort of tap out what comes to mind... Ah well. I'm glad you enjoyed yur first visit. God bless.

Lurkers: Yeah, I see you! That's OK. Actually I wrote this piece just for certain lurkers. But all of you are welcome to breeze through without leaving a comment. That is fine. I don't worry too much about that sort of thing. Mostly I wrte to express an idea in my own head. But this particular post I want all sorts of people to see. There are a lot of abusive men out there. I hope that the Lord wakes you up and that you can save the relationship you are destroying. There is great joy awaiting you if you see you wife or girlfriend as a partner. It is worth it. most abusers do not see themselves as abusers. They beileve they are in the right. I pray that the Lord causes you to look into some metaphorical mirror and see what you have become.

Of course many of you are simply passing through. If this isn't meant for you, great. God bless!

T. F. Stern said...

"She died soon after we began sitting in those wooden pews."

After reading all the serious comments I thought a little levity was in order. Sitting in church for hours is the toughest part of the week for my back. I have to go home and relax after church so that line in your article made me grin.

Anonymous said...

This post sure has brought forth, the foundation of any marriage. Its surely a partnership and not a game for single player.

Very well written post as always.
Thank you Curious
:)

Jim said...

Hi C.S. This is a sad post. And you really don't get the feeling of helplessness if you don't have a married daughter. I think there is more of that going on than we see.
..

curious servant said...

T.F. Stern: We outgrew that snctuary (which later burned down) and moved into a gym-like building we call The Cross Connection.Though the basketball hoops on each end and the rubber floor with the markings for volleyball and other games detracts from a sense of holiness, it does have comfy chairs. The rebuilding is strating to come along though, and we will have a sanctuary again.

Godzheart: I'm glad the post meant something to you.

Jim: It sounds as if you know this situation too well. If you'd like me to pray for your daughter, ,let me know, my friend.

Anonymous said...

I'm late in getting here, but I see the Lord in your post. You have just given Jesus Christ to anyone that reads this.

Thank you Lord for CS, a man who sees his first love. You, Lord!

curious servant said...

Kim: Thank you.

Anonymous said...

Hi C.S.,

Curious book, the book of Job, isn't it? It certainly helped keep things in perspective when my first husband died at twenty-eight.

Every time I read Job, I discover a new nugget of truth. Today, I wrote on my blog about Job 38:2, "Words Without Knowledge".

Living in God's grace,
Susan
www.livingtheadventurouslife.blogspot.com

Anonymous said...

Hi C.S...I'm back to reread this post again. I experienced a very minute portion of abuse in a relationship as a teen, but was able to get my life straightened out. Especially on a week where I've been sick, I realize how truly blessed I am with my husband's support and love.

I always come away with something new from your posts...thx so much for that!

squirrel said...

What a very beautiful post. I think if/when my sons marry I will print this page post and have them read it!

Anonymous said...

Wow, that's great !! It touched me in so many ways and is so very true.
I think as women we can do the same with our husbands and wow what a great marriage that is !
I look forward to reading more of your posts !
Deborah

Terry said...

Dear Curuios Servant...I agree with Squirrel..This is INDEED a post well worth making copies of!

That poor man with the pain in his eyes and that gentle man that took notice of that pain. You are such a good Christian Curious Servant and a true encourager!

I think the Lord must of known that even Christian husbands need this warning about loving their wives. I, myslef have been so fortunate in the husband that the Lord gave to me 35 years ago. Sometimes I really don't feel worthy of him but I think that I will keep him just the same!!

Thanks again for a lovely posting. Gentle and yet chiding and truthful!!...from Terry

I have to go down now to read your other postings. I want to see how your headache turned out!!

I KNOW that the head of the wife is the man, Curious Servant, but I always tell Bernie that ...sure he is the head, but I am the neck!!!Turn this way...Turn that way!..hee hee!!

curious servant said...

Susan Kelly Skitt: Thank you for visiting my blog. I think youmight be a first time visitor, correct? I'll try to get your blog very soon. Thank you for the comment.

Cinder: I'm glad you enjoyed the post. Thanks for coming back for a second read.

Squirrel: That is such a nice thing to tell me! I would hope they would know how to treat a woman simply by being raised by you and your husband. But that is nice you think my words worthy of giving to them. I would hope that these words would find their way to someone who really needs to hear them, somone like the son-in-law of my friend.

Deborah: Thank you for the visit. I think you might also be a new visitor, aren't you? Welcome to my little corner of the blogosphere. I'm glad you enjoyed the post.

Terry: Thank you. I hope these words help folks. Much of what I write I am hoping will lead folks closer to the Lord. Stange method of evangelism, isn't it?

Anonymous said...

Oh my. What a powerful post. I have such a wonderful husband that I believe I take for granted. I need to show more love and say more kind things so I don't have regrets.

And I laughed at Terry's comment... I think I'm the neck too! lol.

ag-gf said...

Men: Operating Instructions
By Brian Doyle

Open carefully: contents under pressure.
Caution: sharp edges. Contents may cause injury.
Contents may have shifted during transportation.
Caution: nuts may have come in contact with contents.
Caution: the surgeon general has determined that contents may
-be mule-
Headed, doltish, rude, stubborn, defiant, forgetful, easily distracted,
liable
To repetitive pattern for sheer simplicity’s sake in this vale of fears
and tears,
Difficult to penetrate or understand, complicated beyond imagination,
and not
At all what you thought you wanted when you were a kid dreaming
of princes.
Open with care. Athe manufacturer recommends mercy & humor.
Do no microwave.

Anonymous said...

just stopped by to see if you had posted anything new, lately I have really really enjoyed your writing, just wanted to say Thanks, there is always a message to your writing, you inspire and encourage. God bless!

curious servant said...

Looney Mom: I hadn't thought about it from that direction. Thank you.

AG-GF: Thanks for the poem. Hope you are feeling better.

Live, Love, Laugh: I need to get something new posted, don't I?! I'll pop over to your place when I do to let you know. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

Indeed. I was, interestingly enough, thinking somewhat the same thing recently as I was reading your blog. This last post was something that struck me as being very much in line with the things God has put on my heart of late, a sort of Christ-centered and submitted carpe diem: if every day is Christ's, really, then we ought to live that way. That includes honoring those around us. That includes sharing the gospel. That includes so very, very much that goes undone.

Thanks for this latest post. It's a reminder of what I will strive forward towards.

Sorry it took me so long to get this posted. I had just finished writing it when my PC crashed a few days ago, and it took till now for me to get back to you.

Anonymous said...

Yes, I'm new to your blog, nice to "meet" you :)
Deborah

Noel Lewis said...

Hello friend. Just checking up on you (and reading some of the comments). This is indeed a wonderful post.

Ame said...

" Much of what I write I am hoping will lead folks closer to the Lord. Stange method of evangelism, isn't it?"

why would it be strange to use every part of who God created you to be and become and every part of every gift He has given you to reach the world He has circled around you for Him?

i love seeing how God is weaving so many of the threads of your life into the words you write. the fierce trial which began this blog, and your life story, have earned you the privalege to reach out to others in unique and creative and strong ways. thank you for standing so strong.

curious servant said...

Anonymous: Exactly what I have been thinking! Carpe diem! Or better yet...

Carpe phasma sanctus

Sieze the holy spirit...

Draw near to God... He will draw near to you.



Noel Lewis: I'm glad you like it. I have appreciated reading your blog.

AME: Thank you for your long time readership, encouraging words and sweet spirit. I have appreciated the opportunity to pray for your trials as well.

Me said...

You recognize sorrow...that is a great gift.

Every man has his secret sorrows which the world knows not; and often times we call a man cold when he is only sad. Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Karen said...

wish more people had your insight into the human condition. thank you always for your words....

G~ said...

i wish my husband would read this. *heh* he doesn't even read my blog, though, so it's not likely.

bleh.

this was a reallllly awesome post.

God bless.