"Everything which is done in the present, affects the future by consequence, and the past by redemption."
One of my favorite people I've never met is Ken Burns. For the proverbial list of guests you'd pick to sit around your dinner table, he is one of mine. Because I think he's found a secret: that the process of going back, being knee deep in history, is beautiful. Because hindsight gives clarity and sense to our lives, even the bad things. Because it's a good story. While the present just seems like a mess- one without any rhythm or poetry, at that- the events that we look back on give meaning to the chaos.
But I read an article in the Chicago Tribune three days ago, and haven't stopped thinking about it. It told the story of an 87 year old woman named Anna. She is a psychoanalyst who was visiting the September 11 memorial. More importantly, she is a Holocaust survivor who lived in three concentration camps, including Auschwitz. She was freed when the camp was liberated. Her father and grandmother did not survive. She watched a friend die as mice waited nearby for their next meal.
Anna was asked, at the end of the article, if her background made her see meaning in the events of September 11. "Meaning? What meaning?" was her response.
I believe in God. I always have. But there are some things that will never be good. It doesn't mean He can't make good things from broken ones; He often does, and those make the best stories. Yet, it doesn't made the bad fade. What happened to Anna was inexplicable and horrifying. What happens to victims of abuse is senseless. When someone gets cancer, or dies too young, or has their heart broken, it doesn't sit right with us, and it never will. Sometimes, I don't think it's possible to reconcile tears.
Two weeks ago was my anniversary. Sky and I have been married for five years. In those five years, there have been two babies, three jobs, and four apartments. There have been long absences due to the military, and they add up to over a year apart. There has also been a lot of hurt.
The truth about my home is that it is not a happy place. It has not been a happy place for most of the last five years. There is not a lot of screaming or slamming of doors, no midnight shouting matches or broken dishes. There is just empty silence where sweet words should be. Separate rooms when there should be a shared couch. An absence of hope when it should be full to the brim. There is not a shred of trust. The one place in this world that should be calming and kind has never felt that way. And it doesn't make sense to me.
From the very beginning of our marriage, Sky and I have fought an uphill battle, and we've gone sliding down to the bottom again and again. It's where we find ourselves now. Only this time, I don't have the strength to keep climbing anymore. I am hoping that things will change and our family can stay whole. I hope that more than anything in this world. I wish that it was just up to me, but it's not.
These next few weeks/months/etc. are really our last chance at this. I tell you this because I ask for your prayers. I don't understand what has happened or why. I will never be able to be the wife that says, "I'm glad it happened. We're better for it." I am not glad. I hope we will be better for it.
In the meantime, I've quit trying to comprehend the reasons why we're here, and fix my gaze on Millie and Walter. On being gentle with our hearts. On waking up and going to bed and waking up again. On knowing I'm not the only one with problems that keep me up at night. On whispering prayers that remind God I need Him desperately, and remind me that He knows.
And maybe someday, there will be beauty in between the pain. Maybe someday, I can tell this story, and sigh when I get to the happy ending. Until then, the pages turn day by day. I'm in the middle of the mystery.