Balance is everything. This lesson was evident with my pepper/pepper exercise (#6), but my agitated outlook could not see it. Instead they were opposing opposites competing. A slightly shifted perspective may have viewed them as compliments.
My husband commutes from Idaho. I’m in NJ. A few years ago we would have adamantly argued that no such separation would ever be possible. Then things changed. He’s still a hottie, and for whatever reason he still finds me infallible (that might be an exaggeration, but you get it). The economy crushed our life as we knew it in Idaho. Banks went under, business credit shut down overnight, and we were economically crippled. It was strangely…freeing. I always felt compelled to stay put when the money was flowing in. I needed to pick up everything else – the house, the kids, the general well-being of the clan – it was my job because he was bringing in the cake. I would not say I was content in that position. I had a budding career and huge dreams before marriage and babies. I missed the chase, and in a not-so-overtly way, blamed him for its absence. I love my husband, and I love my kids, but I was co-existing to keep the peace, hesitant to rock the boat. What if I had forgotten how to swim? Then the banking meltdown capsized our little ship for us. It turns out – I still know how to swim. In fact, years of treading water have increased my upper body strength and reminded me that when I get tired, I can still suck it up… and float.
This commuting business is hard. The kids don’t really get it. The absence makes them question, makes me question. Unspoken thoughts turn into mistaken innuendos. Blame and resentment creep into telephone conversations that end in “well, goodnight honey” phone calls, and as cool as Skype is, it doesn’t cut the mustard.
We just had a sweet little in-person date. He’s just arrived and he’ll be here for two weeks. We didn’t talk about money, the mortgage, taxes, health insurance, tuition, or gas bills. He has his gig, and I have mine. The entire conversation resembled something from our dating life 15 years ago. I talked about what I was doing – things that turned me on – projects I dream about – and places I want to go. He did the same. They were not all the same, but they were honest. They were pure in their excitement. They had a breadth of fresh air. He fueled mine. I fueled his. Within the conversation was the mutual admiration for the children we created together, and how we could balance and envelop them into our greater plans, the ones we would experience together, and the ones we would not. It was a widening – an awakening – a re-adjustment. It was lovely, and it was full.
“Lovely and full” is as good as it gets in life. If we hit that mark occasionally – be it in life, or art, or love – we are engaged. When life (or art) engages, all the little things go pale and our focus pushes forward in bold intensity – and we are alive – thankful for every short breath we take.
His commute is long, and the gas bill high. No regrets for the struggle, no expectations for the outcome. Paint mimics art; sometimes we need to push to get the color to pop.