Who wrote the book of love? I wanna know who to ask for a refund….

After getting through a divorce you inevitably reach a point when you wonder if anyone will ever love you again. Be able to love you again. The ringing of what you perceive to be your greatest romantic failure is still filling your ears. Most people assure you that you will find love again, “You’ll see”… But that ringing deafens you to even the warmest of reassurances. You wonder how if I gave everything I had to someone and it wasn’t enough to keep them, then what I have might not be enough to keep anyone. It’s not one of those casual relationships or minor flings where the person “just didn’t know what they had.” In a marriage, especially when it is failing, you give everything in you, and it’s still not enough to keep them. You wonder if anything in you is enough to keep anyone else.

It’s what I wonder.

Especially in my case. My ex-wife was my first everything. First relationship, first girlfiend, first woman who actually loved me. No other woman had, and the first woman who did ending up being seriously damaged. That makes it worse.

The only woman I’ve ever been able to get turns out to have serious issues. It makes me seriously doubt if there will ever be a “normal” woman who will love me.

And then there’s the disbelief. Right now if some woman told me they loved me I think I’d recoil in disbelief, unable to accept it as possible. Part of me panics at the thought of it.

I’m generally one to point out that it is completely possible to live a fulfilling, satisfied life as a single person, but it’s a little unsettling after a divorce to think maybe that’s your only choice.

Picking up the pieces….

I’m still impressed by the frequent bouts of depression that plague me from time to time following my divorce. It’s been almost nine months since the divorce was final, and two months of going through the divorce prior to then. But, despite that length of time, I still deal with a lot of emotional fallout from that. Now, my situation is a bit different because I let my ex live with me for seven months after the divorce was finalized, which caused a great deal of emotional stagnation. So, I’ve only really been separate from her for two months now. Needless to say, this has created a lot of undiscovered country for me and everyone I talk to. Most of the time, even if you have to still deal with your ex because of shared children (which we also have), you are physically and geographically separate from your ex even before the divorce is final. So, while dealing with the normal emotional issues of a divorce, you also have that separation to facilitate that. But, for me, it’s all muddled up.

Part of me is fairly far along in the recovery process, but other parts are still in early stages of the emotional roller coaster of divorce recovery. It’s like I walking back and forth on the path of life picking up parts of me that shattered and were windblown all up and down it.

I was doing some thin sections recently, and in the process I realized the particular brand of glass microscope slides I bought are of poor quality and thus extremely fragile. Almost all of them shattered and required me to glue the shards back together. Some of the pieces were easy to put back together, but some pieces were lost and I had to carve new pieces out of other pieces of glass to make the necessary repairs. Sometimes the glue job was good and pieces fell off again, leading me to re-glue them and modify how I glued it.

Right now, I feel like the glass slides. Parts of me were easy to pick up and glue back on, others are completely lost and I have to create new ones. Sometimes when I feel a piece is glued back on well and taken care of, it will fall back off again and I’ll have to redo it.

The social argument against the problem of evil

Connectedness is something that is highly prevalent in today’s society. It’s almost become the core of our culture now. Smart phones, the internet, social networking, etc. Everything we do seems connected to everything else we do, and it’s all posted on Facebook or Twitter.

But that’s not the type of connectedness I’m talking about. Think about it this way: how many people do you know? How many of those people do you have strong ties to, minor ties to, or interact at all with on a regular basis? Our lives are intertwined with the lives of others, Things that happen in our lives and to us affect those around us. 

One thing that really hit me in the wake of the Boston Marathon tragedy are the reactions of the perpetrators’ family and friends. The older of the two brothers had a wife and small son. They have parents. While the whole world was reeling from the tragedy, these people were mourning the loss of their sons, father, and husband.

Shortly after this I read a particular passage of the Bible in the book of Matthew:

24 Jesus told them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field. 25 But while everyone was sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat, and went away. 26 When the wheat sprouted and formed heads, then the weeds also appeared. 27 “The owner’s servants came to him and said, ‘Sir, didn’t you sow good seed in your field? Where then did the weeds come from?’ 28 ” ‘An enemy did this,’ he replied. “The servants asked him, ‘Do you want us to go and pull them up?’ 29 ” ‘No,’ he answered, ‘because while you are pulling the weeds, you may root up the wheat with them. 30 Let both grow together until the harvest. At that time I will tell the harvesters: First collect the weeds and tie them in bundles to be burned; then gather the wheat and bring it into my barn.’ “

(Matthew 13:24-30).

One of the things this parable states is that in the world there are good people and bad. No duh, right? Often I have wondered why God doesn’t strike down those who do evil. A lot of people wonder that. It’s often argued that God and evil cannot coexist. That if God is all loving and all powerful, then He would not allow evil to happen. I’ve addressed this issue in some of my previous posts, In short, God cannot both preserve the free will of human beings and restrict their decisions, such a thing is a logical contradiction, and logical contradictions cannot exist. For the sake of argument, let’s grant this (meaning if you got all in a harrumph over what I just said, uncross your arms and suspend your disbelief for a second….), and then we can wonder “Well, okay, if God doesn’t prevent evil things from happening, why not strike down evil people before or when they do evil?”

This is where the parable comes in. We are all interconnected. Nothing happens to us without affecting others. The Boston bombers got what they deserved, but in doing so it crushed their family, people not in any way guilty for what happened. The bad people, the weeds, are so entangled with the wheat, the good people, that there is no way to pull up the weeds without puling up some of the wheat with it. God told Lot that He would not destroy Sodom and Gomorrah if even one righteous person lived there. If God were to blot out an evil person, how many righteous would be affected? Wipe out the son, and it crushes the mother. Wipe out the husband, and it crushes and irrevocably affects the child and wife for the worse. God doesn’t wipe out the evil person, people curse Him. God wipes him out, and people curse Him also. Sounds like a tough situation to me.

Perhaps the reason an all-loving God doesn’t wipe out the evil-doers, is because He is all-loving.

The truth? You can’t handle the truth!

I’m constantly perplexed by peoples’ persistent tendency to….um….I ran our of long words that start with “p”. Basically what I mean is they hide the truth. Even tiny, irrelevant truths. As someone with Asperger’s, I have a tendency to bluntly state what’s on my mind or going on in my life without comprehending or at least knowing the social consequences ahead of time. Once I say whatever it is that is then eliciting a shared shocked facial expression to all those within earshot, I spend the rest of the day confused as to why what I divulged was received so poorly. Sometimes, though, I don’t get a shocked reaction but one of pity.

Let me clarify a tad more. I’m an open book. I’ll gladly share anything about my life, even things that people normally would conceal. Some of it is understandable, even to me. You probably don’t want to know the consistency of my bowel movements because that is generally considered disgusting (though seems to have become general topic of conversation amongst my family [a real winner with any women I might bring home in the future, too….]).

But one thing that confuses me is how people conceal the hurt in their lives. The bad things going on. I tend to be quite open to that, and as a result I’ve gotten some weird reactions. People tend to think I am somehow to be pitied or think I am less than them or some version of that. Or they just fidget uncomfortably and try to find a way to get out of the conversation. Maybe they need to go have a bowel movement, I don’t know….

Instead, people will only talk about the good things in there lives when around others. They will only bring up the bad if it’s too apparent to conceal (“So, what did the doctor say about that soccer ball-sized tumor on your forehead?”) This I don’t quite understand. People will get together and talk about their latest raise, how they’re expanding their kitchen, how they just bought a new great car, how they finally got that soccer ball-sized tumor removed… etc. What they don’t tell you is how they haven’t felt happy since 2002, how they’re three months behind on their mortgage and the bank is threatening foreclosure, that she thinks her husband has been sleeping with another woman for the past year, etc.

It makes me wonder a lot about my friends and other people I know. When they’re sitting around putting on a happy face and talking about all the good; how many of them feel like they’re stuck in a loveless marriage? What if this friend of mine has been secretly cheating on her husband for months now? How many of them are on the edge of filing bankruptcy, etc., etc., etc. I recently went through a horrible time in my life. Losing my job, health, and wife amongst other hardships in the course of just one year. I was very open about all of it. People knew. It made me wonder what a normal person would have hid. Makes me wonder sometimes if my story isn’t so unique.

The only two reasons why people might do this which I’ve been able to derive are that either a.) people hide this stuff as a form of social competition (especially amongst females) and/or b.) people are worried about being judged and/or looked down upon by others. But, at the same time, you sacrifice a lot of potential support and closeness that could be invaluable in your time of need. Also maintaining the charade that everything is just fine usually takes a lot of effort, and seems to be energy best spent elsewhere (in my opinion). I guess because I have Asperger’s I’m not prone to the concern of social judgement as much as others are. Perhaps the shame they feel outweighs the effort they put forward to maintain the deception.

Overall, I feel largely lied to in social settings. More so since I’ve learned to read minutiae and microexpressions. It adds to the general unpleasant feeling I get being around other people, and the things I have to keep running through my mind to do and not to do in order to act normal around others. I spend a lot of time questioning if saying such-and-such a thing is socially appropriate to say, or if so-an-so is even telling me the truth or the whole truth.

In closing, I really wish people I knew were more open about the struggles in their lives. It would have helped immensely during my trial, and I honestly would just like to know. Everyone’s lives always seem so happy and blessed, but I know that, even just statistically, a few of them have to be going through some tough circumstances.

Lousy TV and other random thoughts…

This is why I need to not watch so much TV. My mind is a flood of thoughts, desperately trying to process the last year of my life and all that occurred. I can only do so when I am alone and all is quiet. At night, before bed, I like to watch TV. I’m addicted to good stories, good plots, so when I find a TV show, movie, or video game that has one, I find it hard to tear myself away. This, unfortunately, wears on into the night, then when I turn it off and go to sleep, my mind turns on a whirs around faster than sometimes I can handle. So, sleep eludes me, and I write just to relieve the pressure built up behind that dam that is my skull.

I had an interesting thought this last week. I tried to think back on my life to identify someone who was encouraging to me. Not just once or twice or occasionally, but consistently. Someone who would frequently encourage me, truly believe in me and tell me I could succeed.

No one came to mind.

My father was overbearing and discouraging, my mother critical and doubtful, my sister defined herself by opposing me, and my now ex-wife was verbally and emotionally abusive. I have had mentors and guides, but they served more to steer than encourage. My friends have usually just wondered why I am so odd and asked why I can’t be more normal. Sure, there have been people that have encouraged me once or twice in the time I’ve known (or knew)  them, but only a handful of those come to mind. Few have really believed in me. My former boss at the museum in Albuquerque, a friend from my high school youth group, a mentor of mine in college, my former mother-in-law, and a couple of female friends are the only people in my life whom I think have given me any encouraging words or believed in me at all.

For the most part, I have been my only ally in life. To be honest I sometimes even feel like God isn’t even on my side. I know better than to truly think that but feelings and rational thought don’t always flow in the same direction.

A lot of this stems from my own insecurities, I’m sure. But insecurities are built up from experience, then influence your future actions and relationships which leads to further insecurities. It’s a vicious cycle. I tend to imprint my issues with other people on God. Which isn’t fair, since He does not operate on the same level as us humans. To assume that He operates the same way that humans I have had the unfortunate experience to know is a logical fallacy on my part.

I often wish I could shut myself away from everyone. Live as a hermit. People are chaotic, and relationships of any kind confuse and frustrate me. Despite years of trying I have yet to get a decent grasp on social interaction. People say just to be yourself and people will like you. This was perhaps one of the biggest lies of my childhood. When I act purely as myself people inevitably like me less, not more. I default to not caring what people think of me, which is relaxing and freeing, but also leads to even fewer people wanting much to do with me. Perhaps that is the key to me being more alone: just be myself and I will have the peace and tranquility I get from not having to interact with others.

Into places yet unknown….

And now what? My hell is finally over. Or at least on hiatus. I have endured things that I have not words to describe. Trials too many to name, hardships that even I have a hard time grasping. In my wildest dreams I could not have predicted I would go through a time such as this. I would have found it laughable years ago.

 

And yet, I am faced with yet another challenge. What now? My slate has been wiped clean. My reset button has been pressed. No longer do I have a clear focus on my future, or direction to my steps. Once I knew how it would all play out, how and where I would walk on this road of existence. But no more. That which I though would happen, did not happen, and that which I though never could, did. I find myself directionless and adrift in the sea, waiting for Him to calm my storm. And I am weary. So very weary. I feel drained, beaten, bruised, almost lifeless. As if I just came out of the ring from a 12 round fight I barely survived and don’t yet even know which way is up. I need a rest-bit. To hit the showers, relax, so I can hit the mat again. It goes deeper than that, though: to the very raw feeling of void that overwhelms your mind and senses after going through a physical ordeal like a hard fight or some horrible tragedy. I find my feeling has more in common with those rescued from debris of a fallen building after hours or days spent buried in a tight, dark, horrible place.

 

I remember once I went spelunking. Several years ago, back in college. The cave was obviously dark, with cold, hard walls tens of feet thick flaunting my inability to escape save for simply following the lightless path forward. After repelling to greater depths, squeezing through tight spaces I never thought I could fit through, after several hours I came up into the world. A green forest, with trees spaced widely but not so wide as to provide an open canopy. It was refreshingly cool and moist, but unlike the cave was fresh and bright. Looking around it felt as if what I was seeing was an illusion. My mind could hardly grasp such a sudden change of scenery, so much so that my mind was blank, gripped with the anticipation of another possible reality shredding through what my senses told me to reveal my presence back in the dark cave.

 

I find that is an apt analogy for my current situation. I can barely think the words, but more feel the thought asking “Am I really here?” It is said that before you can know where you are going, you must first know where you are. So, I guess now my first goal is when my mind finally accepts that I am really here, to then answer the question “Where is here?”