I woke up last night at 1:30a on account of the hellacious storm that seemed to make the night into day with the amount of lightning in the air. And I went downstairs to make sure we didn't have a tornado on the way. I checked the TV. Conan O'Brien was on but no weather report. I watched through Modest Mouse (much better on the album then live, IMO) but as no info surfaced and there didn't seem to be any hail or anything, I just grabbed a blanket and laid down on the couch. Then I proceeded to stair at the ceiling for 3 hours. Hollow nights like that are horrible--you get an hour or two up front and finish off with an hour. But the middle, the time you really sleep, you don't. Insomniacs know what I mean? You end up more tired than if you just put on a pot of coffee and pulled an all-nighter. For me the worst part is all the thinking. I can't shut my brain off. And no amount of praying, reading, humming, banging my head against the wall, keeps me from doing one of the following:
  1. Reliving moments in the past where I said or did something I shouldn't have. Or I didn't say something that I really should have.
  2. Worrying about the future.
  3. Thinking about some crazy theory that someone has and wondering if it's true, attempting to think through all of the implications if it is.
  4. Worrying about how tired I am going to be tomorrow.
  5. Thinking I hear things, like voices.
  6. Burning things because the voices tell me to.
Last night, I found myself careening toward #1 to such a degree that I couldn't believe I wasn't 19 and in college. That may be an indicator of insanity. Then, as an even greater indicator of a degenerating mind, I started wondering about my ex-girlfriends. Don't get me wrong--I am extraordinarily happy in my marriage and think my wife is the best wife that anyone could have. I am not consiously or sub-consiously questioning her or marriage, etc. This doesn't seem like some Freudian suggestion--my Id telling my Ego that I am unhappy. I simply wonder where my ex-s are and how they are doing. It's weird to think that some pretty major parts of my life have already gone by and they were spent with other women than the one I am married to. It's even weirder to think that--at least at the time--I loved or thought I loved them. There's still a strange pang of heartache or loss or something that was conjoured up just thinking about them or maybe thinking about being with them, hanging out with them, their personalities, the way we made each other laugh, etc.. If there's any argument against dating without the intention of getting married to that person, there it is. I don't regret those people, just that there are others in my memories other than my wife. Not just in my memories, the way that friends long gone are in my memories, but in my heart. They're caught somewhere in my emotional cesspool, perhaps biodegrading. How should we look at our ex-s? Do we just chalk it up to a wasted time in our lives and forget about it? I did realize that the more I tried to replay certain days or events with them in my mind, the more they turned out like Momento: convoluted, labrynthine, exchanging cause for effect. In my memory, people were there--speaking, interacting with me or my girlfriends--that I wouldn't actually meet for another few years. And I kept putting words in my mouth or their mouths that may never have been said or perhaps was said but by someone else. Are these really my memories? Did I ever actually have any girl interested in me? Why the hell did B marry me? Good thing I didn't have anything tattooed...I could have ended up killing "John G."


Blogger John McCollum said...

Oh, boy.

The X.

I only have one to speak of, and one coulda-been.

I want to enter this conversation, 'cause I think it's really interesting. But no time today.

Jeez, you really know how to open up cans of worms, dontch?

7/22/2004 4:00 PM  
Blogger brad said...

I love the way you construct your thoughts, man!
Wow, you just hit on a tangible part of my engaged life right now in that post! In other words, "I feel ya', dawg!"

My first thought as I heard you ask, how should we look at our ex's, is one of dying to self. I think of how I dated and that I dated and realize that they were mostly giving me something that validated my singleness, instead of empowering me to surrender to a greater union in which the two are made one and the whole is greater than the sum of the parts. It was a totally selfish experience that is such a contrast to what God is wanting to make real now.

Sometimes I ended the relationship and sometimes they ended it. My feelings of heartache are greater for the relationships that got ended for me, where I didn't feel "done". But done just means the full extraction of my need from the relationship or the final culmination of an impossiible endeavor, held onto so unhealthily long.

I grew, mostly in ways I shouldn't have, and the memories are not going to go away. Whether I remember them rightly or not, they are there. But I feel like this time of engagement (and subsequently in marriage) is so much more about holding them in the context of what God has done for the purpsose of building my marriage to be what it is going to be, and to not hold them as trinkets of my singleness that my wife cannot have ownership of. They are for my wife. And to the extent that I want them to be for me alone, I have the blessing of long evenings with the Lord and days in relating to Lisa to introspect about why they might be there and practice at giving them over.

Anyway, that's a real thing going on in me. I don't know if it resonates with where you see yourself being, but hopefully it can add to the processing of that place so that you can be more empowered to stand there for the Lord and your wife.

7/22/2004 4:07 PM  
Blogger Scott Sloan said...

E, I think it is so easy for us to give our hearts away to anyone, or anything. We long to be loved and to love. That is the essense of the Christian life. However we turn to the created instead of the Creator to find that significance, love, etc, and unfortunately, our society eroticizes everything from t.v. sitcoms to gum commercials.

When we date, we always take a risk of that person taking a piece of our hearts, and we taking a piece of their heart. If the relationship does not work out for whatever the reason, their is a sense of loss. All the time we invested in that person, the roller coaster ride of emotions can come to a halt when they are not the right one.

I only had one significant relationship in my 34 years of life. I don't regret it, but it took 3 years for my heart to heal from that relationship, and it is also so easy for us to develop feelings for someone that may or may not reciprocate those feelings. In the end we get hurt because we develop a friendship based upon hidden motives because I always wanted more from that person than what they could give at the given time.

I guess these are my thoughts. Good insight.

7/23/2004 7:05 AM  
Blogger lucas said...

Ah, E, you and I have the same mind sometimes. I think in the same polluted thoughts, wondering what exactly is going on up there in the space some refer to as my head.

In a way old girlfriends, significant ones at least, are like family members long passed. I still think about my great grandfather and wonder if I could only see him once more what would I say. And I still think about the what-if's of the past. Of course I too couldn't be more happy with my life thus far, and my wonderful wife. There is just something in us that makes reliving the past just as nostalgic as doing the humpty dance.

7/23/2004 8:17 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home