Room Inside a Box

"There is no room inside a box." ~Doug Pinnick

Location: Tamaqua, Pennsylvania, United States

I started this blog as a soundboard for some much needed therapy during my separation with my wife throughout much of 2005. It was truly a blessing to get my thoughts out there through the writing process. Thankfully things have worked out between us. I would have continued to blog, but ever since I started my teaching career, I have found it impossible to do as much blogging as I would like to. So now I hope to periodically post as time and energy allow.

Friday, September 30, 2005

Connections and the Lack Thereof

Just a couple of reflections on the week…

I mentioned Ann and I were having problems with the computer. We couldn’t connect to the Internet for a while, and it was frustrating both of us. We both have a tendency to let things build up and build up until they explode—not too much unlike a raisin in the sun—and this was no different. We both went to the library or used other computers for a few days, but when that got to be too cumbersome, we sprang into action. I finally broke down and called Verizon, and when that was going nowhere fast, she furiously began to check the wall jack in the bedroom. Now, one might think that this is the first thing we should have done, but it just didn’t seem to make sense that the problem was with the connection between the phone line and the wall jack. The reason for this is that the jack is behind my two armoires, which are practically immovable, and thus we reasoned that since nothing could get back behind that precariously narrow corridor to disconnect the line from the jack, that could not be the problem. Besides, the connection to the Internet was intermittent for about two weeks, and finally it just stopped, so we surmised that it was a problem with our hardware, either the router provided by Verizon or a faulty phone line itself. It just couldn’t be the connection to the jack; that just didn’t make sense, for if it was the connection, it would’ve just stopped immediately without all these intermittent problems. Besides, when I shined a flashlight behind the armoires, the connection seemed fine.

But Ann does not think like me, which in this case was a good thing—kind of. She ripped the armoire away from the wall in a fury that I admired, yet my appreciative smile was tinged with a wince because she didn’t consider how the armoires were affixed in the room. She just ripped the left half of the wardrobe away from the wall, which was screwed into the right half, and thus she stripped the wood and left two visible gashes in the interior panels. Usually I would’ve immediately condemned such hasty action, because this is not the first time Ann has broken or ruined something due to her careless hurriedness, but knowing that she was already agitated, and quickly realizing that this was not the end of the world and that I’d rather have an Internet connection than a flawless armoire, I merely cautioned her to what she had just done.

Of course, the problem was with the connection to the wall jack behind the wardrobe. And of course, I was able to screw the armoires back together again and minimize the damage, which isn’t glaring at all due to the amount of clothes I have stuffed in them. But the lesson learned has nothing to do with either of these things. The lesson learned is that I am realizing more and more every day that there are indeed myriad reasons why I married this woman and will continue to remain faithful to her even if she is not to me. I am completely enamored with her desire to get things done. When she sets her mind to do something, damn does she do it, and she does it with gusto and passion. And I love this about her, this enthusiasm she musters inside herself to get the shit done when it needs to get done. It might take her a while to get there, but I am guilty of the same indolence, so I cannot fault her for that. I tend to burst in bubbles of enthusiasm myself, and in this way we are very much alike. Ann loves to point out our differences, which she points to as reasons why we should not remain married anymore, so I am going to take the advice of a buddy of my buddy’s: Envision your marriage as you would like it to be, not how it is or how bad it can be, and in this way will God’s will get done. I believe this to be solid wisdom, and thus I try to practice this advice as much as I possibly can, difficult as it is in the daily grind. So since Ann likes to point to how bad our marriage can be, I’m going to point to how good our marriage can be, and let God settle the difference.

And one more thing about this past week: I mentioned how good it is that Ann and I complement each other in certain areas, specifically in instances of gullibility. She is naïve in certain areas that I am not, and vice versa. What I didn’t mention—or actually what I edited out of that post—was our proclivity toward seeing the glass as being half empty. Neither of us are strong optimists, though we are optimistic at times. We are even always optimistic about certain things, but by and large we are pessimists, and her cynicism, even more so than mine, runs deep. Sometimes I think Ann sees her glass as being completely empty. Like yesterday, she was complaining about something—I forget what—and, after I tried to console her or cheer her up, she dejectedly said, “These things never work out.” Now even though I forget what we were talking about, I do remember thinking, “Of course these things work out! Why such negativity?” And then my mind jumped—as it usually does—to our marriage, and how positive I am about things working out so beautifully, and how negative she is about things never working out. I know where this deep pessimism comes from: her genetics and her family history. I will not get into specifics, but suffice it to say this is a real uphill battle for her, this whole “things will work out” deal. It is actually hard work for her to be optimistic about things sometimes, especially when it comes to a lifelong commitment like marriage when I did almost everything wrong that I possibly could have (emotionally speaking). I certainly did myself no favors by giving her every reason to think that things most certainly will not work out. So I shouldn’t be surprised when she says things like, “These things never work out.” I can tell her until I’m blue in the face that they can and will. But actions speak louder than words, which is why as of late I have been virtually silent as far as talking to her about our marriage. It’s time for me to put up or shut up, and walk the walk I’ve been talking. I just hope she walks with me.


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