Part IV. It seems to be the proclivity of man to not appreciate things properly until they are gone. Continuing to compare my first ten months of widowhood with Castaway, Chuck became keenly aware of the things that he once assumed were always going to be part of his life like ice, fire, knives, dentists around the corner, companionship... I also became keenly aware of the things that were no longer present in my life.
There are things in a marriage that one truly takes for granted. Waking up next to someone every morning. Having someone who says, "Are you ok?" when you sigh, groan, scream, or perhaps make a loud bang as you wipe out.There is someone there to laugh with you and cry with you. There are so many pleasant things that you don't truly appreciate until they are gone. I was blessed to have a husband who loved to give me back/neck rubs. Driving in the car, if I was at the wheel, I'd get a neck rub. Sitting in church. Watching TV. My neck has been so tight since he left this orb because the daily ministrations are gone. Twirling my hair - wherever we were, particularly sitting in church, Pat always had his arm around me twirly my hair. Sometimes it would even hurt because he'd be so absentmindedly doing it that he wouldn't realize it was too much. He also would really muss it up and shrug if I got annoyed, then go back to twirling. I can't remember a day that went past that he didn't compliment me, tell me how beautiful he thought I was, or let me know in some way that he still had the hots for me even after all the years. Women always complain about toilet seats left up, trails of laundry, misplaced items, the last piece of something eaten. Lose your spouse of 33 years and I'll guarantee you that you would jump for joy if you fell in the toilet at night because that meant he was there.The passive aggressive battles over which way the toilet paper should be placed on the roller, waking up to dishes from his midnight snacks.
You miss what you no longer have; strangely enough, this means the bad with the good, the "meh" with the wonderful. You think you have time, therefore, you gripe, you forget to be thankful, Marriage is an amazing opportunity to come to terms with your own humanity and someone else's. It is a time to exercise forgiveness and humility, to learn to put another's needs before your own. You learn about specks in someone else's eye and planks in your own, up close and personal. Iron sharpens iron, if you don't kill each other, you will be stronger in the end.
In the beginning of the story, Chuck extols the virtues of the clock - "We live or die by the clock." Chuck lives in a world where time is of the essence. As for me, one of my life mottoes has been from "IF--" by Rudyard Kipling: "If you can fill the unforgiving minute with 60 seconds worth of distance run..." Time is relentless and as Chuck says, "Relentless is our goal." Suddenly, days marked by the ticking of the clock were gone. Used to time broken down in seconds, minutes, hours, with must-dos and the all-powerful schedule to comply with, Chuck now finds that time can be relentless in a completely different way. He also must build a new personal of relentlessness that includes patience, something heretofore not a part of the equation. Not that my time now is as unrelentingly slow and focused as Chuck's became on that island, but I deeply regret the constant motion, the time spent meeting goals and conquering to-do lists. This is not to say that those goals that I met haven't served me well - in fact, I thank God for the foresight to do some of the things I did. However, I wish that more time had been filled with the simplicity of enjoying our life together. The clock stopped on our marriage far earlier than I ever had imagined it would. Job 1:21 - "The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; may the name of the Lord be praised.” Let this be a cautionary tale.
Psalm 90:12 says "Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom." In James 4:14 we are reminded, "Yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes."
Next up: The Whale. What the Tide Brings In. Facing other losses. Not necessarily in the same post. :)