For better or worse, I tend to work out my mental struggles through my writing, so you'll excuse me while I have a mental vomiting session here on this blog this morning.
Wait. Is it not polite to write the word vomit in such a venue? I don't necessarily know the protocol for such things.
At any rate, mentally vomit, I will, and you all will just have to suffer through ... or quit reading long about paragraph 3 or so ...
I have started going to a book club again, and for anyone that knows me well, knows that book clubs are the epitome of adventure for me! Some may like to speed down an empty road at break neck speeds or jump off a cliff and float into the great unknown or bounce and toss down a tumultuous river of white caps and jagged rocks ... Me? I love to dissect the text ... I love to attempt to dig into an author's inner being, to attempt to detect what it is that he or she was trying to convey, whether the meaning was meant or subconscious.
It's the writer in me. I need to know the author's mindset ... his or her desire to convey meaning to the reader.
And I can't help it, but I tend to carry the plots with me ... especially if it's a well-written one. I chew on it ... think about it ... develop the sequels and prequels in my writer's mind ... play with the what if's. Typically, however, this verging-on-insane practice is reserved for the well-written, Earth-moving stories ... like TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD. Oh. My. GOSH! I never read that book until I was an adult, and it ROCKED MY WORLD!
But I digress.
I've read two books (out of the three ... oopsies) for book club, and I've declared them resounding failures in terms of the types of writing I enjoy "chewing on." However, the subject matter has stuck with me, and I've chewed on that topic for awhile now.
The first book was REDEEMING LOVE by Francine Rivers. Now, I need to tell you that I am not one to turn to the Christian fiction genre, which is funny since I consider myself a Christian that wholeheartedly agrees with the content and theology of most books in said genre. When I was a kid, I devoured all of Jannette Oke's books. However, my reading palate has matured greatly, and I find that most Christian authors are very syrupy, sickeningly sweet, where life gets wrapped up in a very neat, escapist's pink bow. And that's certainly not how life is. Real life is messy ... it's ugly ... and it doesn't always end up with the happy ending that we are all looking for ... and for some unknown reason, perhaps because I am jaded and cynical, I like those gritty, life-is-ugly sort of books. Syrupy sweet? Makes me gag.
Now, the strange thing about this book was that I couldn't put it down. I know; it's counter-intuitive! I should have thrown the book across the room ... numerous times. But I didn't. The main character infuriated me every time she opened her fictional mouth, and as far as her long-suffering husband? Well, I wanted to knee him where it hurts the most. I couldn't believe him ... in fact, I was pretty sure he was unbelievable. Furthermore, I uttered, out loud, "NO MAN I'VE EVER KNOWN IS THAT LONG-SUFFERING!"
This month's selection was another Christian author, but it was a non-fiction selection, which, again, if you know me, is not my bag. However, I was feeling guilty about not reading last month's selection (which actually sounded like something I would have LOVED to read), and so yesterday, I went to the library to pick up THE VOW. I'm going to be honest with you; it's not a well-written book. I was disappointed with the over-emphasis on some parts of the book and with the glossing-over of other parts. It was written entirely from the husband's point of view, a man devastated by the loss of his new bride's memory following a devastating car accident. I felt like he was still struggling with the loss of the dream of a life never fulfilled rather than focusing on how they struggled back together in a new life and circumstance. And yet, I read the book in five hours ... couldn't put the drivel down!
It makes absolutely no sense to me. How could something so ill-written have captured the very small head space I have and consumed it? I went to bed thinking about it. I woke up thinking about it. I was in a foul mood during my walk this morning with my walking buddy over it.
I do not know what it's like to love someone so much and have them torn from me so tragically. I've been witness to it. I've watched a friend deal with the closed head injury of his wife ...watched the woman he loved disappear and be replaced with an ill-tempered stranger. It tore their marriage apart. I've been witness to friends' marriages ripped apart by affairs and neglect and apathy. Some haven't survived that ugliness. Some have scratched their way back to a point of strength and renewal. I've been witness to it, but have no working knowledge of it myself.
I am single ... terminally so, it would seem.
What I do know is that my idea of relationship is changing, and I shudder to think that perhaps these ill-written, sappy, sugary sweet texts have played a small part in helping me reshape those ideas.
I am very independent. Always have been ... came into this world with a stubborn streak that could rival anything you could imagine. I was raised to be independent. My parents could have done it all for me, but they forced me to learn how to do things on my own. It's the reason I was able to pack up, move two states away, and start a new life on my own. It's how I figured out how to buy my own home and to do countless other things I've done. I celebrate my independence ... revel in it.
Due to my fiercely independent nature, the mere mention of submission in any way was met with an equally fierce resistance. And yet, I am starting to see the value of a spiritual leader in my home, in a relationship. Granted, any man that signs on for the long-haul with me has his hand full. I cannot convey that point anymore clearly. He will have to be a strong leader in every area of life, to deal with the hot mess that is me ... and yet, I am beginning to see the value of a relationship modeled by Christ and the church, a fierce abiding love that plows through the hurt and ugliness and comes out the other side stronger, fiercer.
And those are the demons I am wrestling with this morning ... it's been a three cup of coffee struggle ... but I am beginning to understand that my understanding of submission might be slightly skewed ... could this be a chink in my armor?