Mothabouting Myself

I’m pretty sure that if you love someone because he or she is like a mirror, you’re a narcissist and should talk to someone about that.  (Although of course it might be more helpful if you didn’t talk about yourself.)  I know this has been said before, but I just listened to that particular song, “Mirror,” for the first time.  Usually I don’t listen to whiny-sounding arhythmic drivel, but my hands were full so I couldn’t change the station.

Would that my ears had been full too.

In any event, one of the nice things about marriage is precisely that it lets one labour to love someone who is very much not oneself.  (And yes of course love is work, sometimes drudgery, and frequently difficult.  That’s been said before as well, and is quite as true as ever.)  There are a few dozen directions I could go with that, from discussing the differences between men and women to discussing the rather bold theological claim that pantheism is silly.

Instead let me change the subject.  (Because my wife told me to, although she was not aware that she did so at the time.  Yet another thing to like about marriage:  complex depth.  It’s very difficult to develop complex depth in a relationship without an earnest endeavor to be thorough.  So I suppose this is also something to like about committed monogamy.)

Back to changing the subject.

I imagine that most parents hope that their children will have better lives than they have themselves, will be more successful and have fewer troubles.  I certainly hope that, and have found a clever way to insure it:  I am so ridiculously unsuccessful at everything that my children would have to strive heroically even to match me, and much more to surpass me by going lower.  And of course if they then did match me, it would have been after a successful heroic effort, so they would be successful after all rather than unsuccessful.  In any event, I have guaranteed for them that they will be “better off” than I am.

Now if only there weren’t that pesky business about generational poverty, where the children of struggling parents are more likely to struggle themselves.  Perhaps I have doomed them with my pathetic blessing.  Fortunately there are innumerable dooms available anyway–from natural disasters to war to the inexorable desolation of everything by our stubborn unwillingness to be good stewards of anything–so I suspect I have not hurt them that much, in terms of the big picture.

And in any event, I certainly haven’t hurt them on purpose.  I would be successful if I could.  But of course the odds are against anyone who uses the phrase “in any event” as much as I have in this post.

Sigh.  What a day.

I’ve forgotten when I started typing this.  I don’t know how much (if any) time I have left.  How about I just end with a quote by Chesterton?  This is from his book about Charles Dickens, somewhere in Chapter 2:

“The bitterness of boyish distresses does not lie in the fact that they are large; it lies in the fact that we do not know that they are small. About any early disaster there is a dreadful finality…. I fancy that hope is the last gift given to man, and the only gift not given to youth. Youth is preeminently the period in which a man can be lyric, fanatical, poetic; but youth is the period in which a man can be hopeless. The end of every episode is the end of the world. But the power of hoping through everything, the knowledge that the soul survives its adventures, that great inspiration comes to the middle-aged; God has kept that good wine until now.”


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