Midway

Evolving

Pure Luck and I have been together for eight years now, married for six of them, and one of the keys to our relationship has been the Friday night departure of my children to spend the night with their dad. When he returned from his thru-hike of the Appalachian Trail in late 2000, my valiant attempts at a social life transformed into an ongoing appointment for dinner, maybe a movie, you get the picture.

All very well until a few months later, when he left for the Empire State, to work for six weeks or so. My gosh, I felt lonely! I missed him at other times, but on Friday evening, it seemed more pitiful. I reverted to the habits of my single years (Thai or Italian carry-out, a movie from the video store), and occasionally I tried to get together with a friend. But I liked the new routine, and I had to work hard to get through those evenings.

He keeps going away, of course, because that is the nature of his work, gone entirely for part of the year, and home with time on his hands the rest. We chat on the computer when we can, or have hurried cell phone conversations if there is real news. We have our habits of communication and adaptation, and over the past few years, I've improved at managing his absence.

Really.

And my hard-won ability to improve seems to prove that people can evolve; people can change.

A person who struggles with feeling abandoned, an issue that accompanies her through her life, does not marry a person who travels for work unless she is ready to get over it. It's just that the getting over it involves more than a cleverly drawn conclusion, or a charmingly advertised cosmetic.

Getting over it takes time, and the changes feel small at first. They may be so small we cannot perceive them; only when we look back can we realize the moment something began to shift, the first fern to move toward the shore.

On this Friday evening, home alone but for a dog and two cats, I will watch Battlestar Galactica, a show the boys and Pure Luck love, too. Some people love the space battles, the visual effects, the gun battles, the relationships between the characters, but we all know that what I love most is the metaphysical part of the show, the discussions of religion and almost more than that the idea that people would make robots who would somehow make more robots who look like the humans. And in this post-apocalyptic world, will they all come to understand themselves as people?

Growth, of a species or a person, cannot come without some pain.

I may never learn not to run to the Animal Emergency Clinic when a dog has gas. But I can learn to trust that absence does not equal abandonment.

This applies not just to people but to God.

 

On the Galactica, the great human proponent of the robot-born monotheism, Gaius Baltar, may or may not believe in the One True God he teaches others to trust. Some days, yes, he feels a surge of possibility when things go his way. But another day he questions God, feels angry with God, rejects a God who disappoints his expecations of what that God "should" be.

And I totally get that. I'm just as oddly inclined to worry that God has forgotten me as to wonder if Pure Luck will remember to come home after his job ends. I confess these peculiar thoughts because I want to confess to them. Somewhere inside this middle-aged woman still resides a little baby passed from one set of arms to another, unable to protest or make sense of her fate, and while I love her, that helpless part of myself, I continue to work at not BEING her.

It's getting better.

Really.

But, oh! So slowly. So, so, so slowly.

Some people personalize the Theory of Evolution. They think, "*I* cannot possibly be related to a monkey." But why don't they stop to think of how miraculous the tiny evolutions of mind and heart can be?

7 thoughts on “Evolving”

  1. This is lovely.Really.
    Bert traveled constantly for over 9 years. I have to say that now, even with the loss of income and other problems with the job, it feels like such a luxury that he is home every night. Absence is hard. I admire you for plugging on, and actually see the beauty in your experience.

  2. Well, that is so hopeful and wonderful Songbird. As another little baby who was passed from arms to arms… I love the unfolding understanding you share here. Here’s to dealing with Friday nights and not feeling pathetic (an issue for me as well).
    Pax, C.

  3. “But I can learn to trust that absence does not equal abandonment.
    This applies not just to people but to God.”
    What a profound observation my friend. Sending lots of warm hugs your way and wishing I could be there some Friday night to watch with you. :c)

  4. Your post made me smile. I remember sharing a Friday night pizza with you on Halloween. It is a very happy memory.

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