Monday, April 29, 2013

swinging and bending, part 2: the gathering.

{image found here}

Complicate this world you wrapped for me 

I'm acquainted with your suffering 

All your weight it falls on me 

It brings me down 

All your weight it falls on me 

It falls on me 


collective soul

Read the first part of this story, 

cumulonimbus.  cirrostratus.  cumulus.  nimbostratus.

the clouds gathered around ben and i as we lived in the sunshine of our newlywed bliss of the first two years of marriage.  we were happy, life was peaceful. we made friends in our married student ward in rexburg, idaho.  we held parties at the park across the street, inviting couples to join us as we laughed over barbecued chicken, spinach salads and homemade oreos.  we played cards late into the nights with our next door neighbors, and laughed through mcdonald's mcflurry runs with our friends down the road.

we both served in busy callings in church; ben was the sunday school president, i was the 2nd counselor in the relief society presidency.  most of our sundays were spent teaching, in meetings, or out visiting others. serving was not a hinderance in our minds--we both looked at it as opportunities to socialize and provide help where it was needed.  the ward we were in for our first 2 years was full of good-to-the-core people and still have a lot of them as friends in our lives today.

though married life was effortless inside the walls of our home, outside the storms were brewing.  they had been for months, from the time we had started dating each other seriously.

ben and i played similar roles in our immediate families--the buffer, the peacemaker, the comic relief, the pleaser.  it wasn't just that we were placed in this role, we also chose it.  without consciously realizing, we had built much of our identities on these roles.  i wrote that he and i shared similar strengths and weaknesses, and this became glaringly obvious as we began to attempt to extract ourselves from our family roles.

when a dynamic in a relationship changes, there is often resistance, especially if the dynamic has unhealthy pieces in it.  naturally when we were married and moved to idaho, our individual roles in our families shifted.  as we extracted ourselves, resistance did come, in the form of anger and hurt feelings, insecurity, jealousy and competitiveness.  the undercurrent of issues felt constant and though we lived over three hours away, we could hear the thunder of the continual storms rumbling toward us from across the miles.

ben and i couldn't understand what was happening or how we found ourselves perpetually in the middle of the storms of the people we loved.  we fervently tried to keep the peace, standing on the fence and seeing both sides, playing neutralizers and validators as we ran putting out one fire after another while trying to maintain the smiles on our faces.

yet the storms raged on, and we grew weary.  our best efforts could not force others to forgive each other, and deep wedges were formed.  soon we began to have our own intentions questioned by our loved ones.  we were seen with the cynical eyes of others who picked apart our motives piece by piece.  suddenly we were defending our own words and actions, desperately trying to prove the purity of our hearts.

if it sounds like i'm writing this from the "poor us" point of view, it's because that's exactly how we viewed the situation.  we felt victims of circumstances beyond our control.  instead of being able to see and own our pieces of this disturbing puzzle so we could find a way out of it, we continued to join it.

we know better now.

like lone trees standing meekly in a field, we reached for each other while the clouds burst and began pouring down.  as the winds broke our branches and ripped off our leaves, the heavy rain bent our trunks, loosening our freshly-planted newlywed roots.


Nana said...

With the storms that the two of you have been through, it makes the relationship you two share, solid and comfortable and home! There's nothing better.

Rachel Chick said...

You are both incredible. I feel so blessed for the years of friendship that we have together. Love you, lady!

lynsey said...

love you back rach, and i am blessed to have YOU as a friend just as much!