The Savage, the Witch and the Mirror: A Fractured Fairy Tale

998444-177Once upon a time, there lived a sometimes-happy married couple, the Savage and the Witch. This is a tale of one of those days they were not so happy.

One morning, the Savage woke early after a night of raucous snoring. He scuffled his way downstairs, rearranging the Witch’s throw rugs in unkempt piles with his big ugly feet. He wants to eat breakfast but the slothful Witch is still sleeping. He makes himself toast using the stove cook top as counter space (knowing the Witch hates this) because it is most convenient. His primal instincts are focused on bread and butter and he can’t slap it together hastily enough. Fill my belly, fill my belly, he chants in his head.

Unrefreshed from broken sleep, the grouchy Witch is enticed nonetheless by the smell of brewing coffee. She trips over a bunched up scatter rug and mutters something awful to herself. But the Savage heard and he cowers in his corner.

“Good morning”, the chipper Savage offers. Chipper morning people bother the Witch.

The Savage hopes the coffee he made will subdue the Witch and overrule the criminal crumbs. The Witch just looks at him, then her eyes dart to the evidence on the cook top.

“Shut that light,” mumbles the Witch as she proceeds to clean the cook top. Fluorescent lights give her migraines. And we certainly don’t want her more irritable than she already is. The Savage dutifully obeys.

The Savage trudges off to the bathroom to trim his unruly beard. He looks into the mirror and admires himself. Though past his prime, he sees a fine young specimen that the Witch does not appreciate. If she only knew how many fair maidens would be drooling over me if I were free, he thinks.

“Don’t leave beard hairs on that sink!” bellows the Witch.

The Savage mutters something awful to himself and continues shaving.

After the Witch is soothed with quiet time and coffee, she makes a fluffy omelet and beckons the Savage to join her. How could he refuse? Fill my belly, fill my belly. The Savage makes several attempts to turn on his laptop but each one is killed by the Witch’s evil glance. (The Savage feels uncomfortable without background noise. The Witch wants meals to be relational, social events.) They eat and have a somewhat civil conversation.

The Witch gets dressed and looking in the mirror, she sees a beautiful Queen who does everything perfectly; so much so, that she doesn’t want the Savage to do anything but sit there and listen to her. She saunters off to do some dreadful exercises, shoving the Savage’s weights out of her way. Then she loads her laundry basket with an avalanche of Savage laundry. She ventures down the basement stairs, nearly tripping over an assortment of big-foot Savage shoes, sneakers and slippers.

Meanwhile, the Savage sits in the breakfast nook, burping and watching YouTube videos, which of course, the Witch totally resents.

Suddenly, a gust of wind forces the side door of the Savage-Witch cottage open. Continue reading

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Purging and Pursuing Wisdom in Blogging With Humility

Divorce agreement - approvedJanuary is a great month to purge.  Purge closets. Purge drawers. Purge the papers under the bed. That’s where I keep my divorce papers. For legal purposes, those will have to stay. But I still have drawers full of journals. Interspersed with joyful reflections on homemaking and childrearing are lamentations over a failing marriage. Trying to purge, but how do I skim off the fat (broken marriage and betrayal) and keep the healthy minerals (memories of motherhood)?  It should be as easy as soup. But the skimming process forces me to read them. To shred or not to shred. That is the question. Yet I must purge. I sure could use the drawer space for more fuzzy sox.

So I’ve been caught up in this for several days. It plunged me into melancholy. I started rehashing stuff in my mind. I’m grieving again, with Natalie Merchant moaning in the background. It doesn’t help that this month marks the 10th Anniversary of my divorce being final.

I failed to heed wisdom I wrote about before in my post The Second Time Around: Yours, Mine and Ours, Yes!don’t look back. The holidays always cause nostalgia to flare up, so I need to cut myself some slack. There’s nothing wrong with remembering precious moments with my children. But to relive the death of a marriage is for naught. I will skim through my journal pages with a discriminating eye. I will treasure the good and destroy the evil.

Though this blog says ‘divorced’, I don’t want to focus on that. The title remains as is, but only so I can help others, perhaps, heal from divorce. I will never bash my ex or rehash. I’d like to emphasize marriage – having a God-glorifying one at that.

Maybe I should have made two posts out of this one, but I think it will be okay to segue into: Continue reading

Marriage Resolutions for 2015 From the Last Dead Man of This Blog Series – Part 5: J.C. Ryle

IMG_1589IMG_1587New year celebrations can be pretty ridiculous. After all, it’s only a new number. We went from 2014 to 2015 at precisely 12:00am January 1. Numbers and time frustrate me with their restraining, constraining measurements. Clocks and scales are not my friends.  Time. I can never seem to keep up with it, though it successfully takes its toll on me. The wonderful part about eternity (and having an eternal perspective) is the fact that there is no time in heaven. As I see it, eternity is not endless time — it is that time completely ceases to exist. Poof! I love that!

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New Year’s celebrations are a bit Goofy.

In spite of my aversion toward time, idiotic new year celebrations, and yes, even resolutions, a new year is a great time for reflection. This is a marriage-themed blog, so I will offer some wise marriage resolutions borrowed from a dead man to end this blog series.

Continuing to glean timely wisdom from times past, here are three rules for a happy marriage by cherished dead man, J.C. Ryle. Below each rule is my two cents highlighted in blue.

The first is to marry only in the Lord, and
after prayer for God’s approval and blessing.

The first rule (or resolution if I may call it that) does not pertain to those of us who are already married. Hopefully, dear married readers, you are married to a believer. If not, do not fear. 1 Cor. 7:14 says: “For the unbelieving husband is sanctified by the wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified by the husband…” You can be a sanctifying influence on your spouse.

The second is not to expect too much from their
partners, and to remember that marriage is, after
all, the union of two sinners, and not of two angels.

This is a biggie! I know every woman wants to marry someone like Jesus: a man who will love them unconditionally and never get sarcastic, impatient or neglectful. I’m reminded of a book Mike and I read before we were married. What Did You Expect? by Paul Tripp is an excellent source for marriage help from a Christian perspective. It is scriptural-based, not Freudian like too many other evangelical marriage manuals. Too often, we expect to have an angel for a spouse. Expect a sinner instead, but one saved by grace, a work in progress, started by God Himself. Just like your sinful but redeemed self. This is humbling.

The third rule is to strive first and foremost
for one another’s sanctification. The more holy
married people are, the happier they are.

Going from rule 2 to rule 3 is a great segue. (Numbers are useful after all!) God’s purpose in marriage is refinement and holiness. We’ve read other dead men recently and they, too, have pointed out duties of spouses. Those duties include spiritual helps of recognizing each other’s sins and helping to mortify them. We first realize we married a sinner. Which reminds us that we are sinners, too. Then we help each other put that sin away, under the blood of Christ our Savior. He is that first person in our marriage. We are bound together in Him. The dynamic of marriage is to be a display of God’s love.

These three rules sum it up nicely, don’t you think? They remind me of T.S. Arthur’s words: the divinely beautiful arrangement which marriage enforces. With that said, it is time for this blog series Dead Men Know Best: The Wit and Wisdom of the Puritans (and Other Dead Men) on Marriage to end. I pray that you’ve learned much from these historic brethren while enjoying this holiday season. Perhaps you’ll refer back to them, peruse the aforementioned publishers, and find much space for them in your home libraries.

J.C. Ryle’s work can be found in its entirety on Grace Gems: Three rules for a happy marriage.

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My calendar is ready; complete with numbered days. Many plans and lists will be made this year, but “My times are in your hand…” Psalm 31:15 ESV

Happy New Year and HAPPY MARRIAGE!

P.S. In keeping with my rebellion against time, this was not posted in a timely manner, which would have been on January 1. Thank you for understanding.