Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Door Number Three

I spoke to a woman whose husband once held a chainsaw to her neck. He took a knife to her leg. He didn’t kill her, but he did bash her head against the wall and punch her in the stomach, taking the life of his unborn child. Other than causing the miscarriage, he never did anything serious enough to warrant investigation or time in jail. He always stopped just short of visually obvious physical abuse. But physical scars heal, now, don’t they? The damage to this woman’s heart will never. It is irreparable and deep. The tears she shed while sharing her story, the certainty with which she felt her pain, the look she showed, the one she wasn't aware I saw, when she spoke of how she should be dead, these things left marks on my own heart as my brain struggled to understand.

I knew a young woman. Her parents had separated but never divorced. They were committed to the children but not at all to each other. They lived in two homes in neighborhoods far apart, wife over here, husband over there, never visiting the other, never vacationing as one, never proudly showing off the partner at company functions of any type. Neither did they cheat. The marriage was a commitment that both held true and dear. They were the best of business partners, this mom and this dad, ensuring shared custody of the children, a family unit, a place (or two) for their young ones to call home. It was not a union typical of the twin beds of the fifties, but of houses in different towns.

I have a friend. She has decided to stay home with the children while her spouse goes off to work. They have two girls, both of whom are cute as heck. The in-laws love my friend, brag about her, cherish the girls. Her spouse is warm and genuine, quick with a smile, a compliment or two. Theirs is the sort of relationship newlyweds dream they will someday have. I was taking a walk the other day, ran into this friend, the girls, and the spouse. They were out for a stroll, taking in the summer air. The two-year-olds were collecting sticks, showing off their bounty, inviting me to join the cause. The energy of the family was such that I was lifted simply standing in their space. My friend is blessed. She spends all day with her little cherubs, contributing to the team. Her wife, her wife does her part by bringing home the cash. They are committed. They are loyal. They are supportive and caring and kind.

You could place many labels on my head. I am a liberal, a Christian, and a wife. I am not here, however, to spew Bible verses or debate political view. I am not here to prove that marriage between partners who share physical parts is right or that it is wrong, is God-like or not. Neither am I here to spout my typical peace, love, and compassion interconnectedness sort of crap. I am not here to judge those who are judging or to say, “Who are YOU to think YOU are right and anyone else is wrong?” I am also, however, not here to judge those who are judging the ones who are judging. We humans can be a pretty bitchy bunch. My bet is that if any two of us, ANY two, were the last beings on earth, we would very quickly figure out how to be best of friends. I have heard the argument as well that MY God is a loving God, MY God nurtures ALL. I am not terribly versed in the Bible, but the last time I checked, there was ONE God, just one. That is, of course, unless you sport a toga and wear circles of leaves on top of your head. As I said, though, I am not here to debate the wrath or the love of Christ. I am not here as one who votes to the left or who signs her letters with namaste. No. I am here as another. Of all the labels one could place upon my head, the one I treasure most is that of Mom. I am here, then, as Mother. I am blessed in this lifetime to find myself mother to four. As a mother, if I were given a choice for my child between door number one—beaten and abused, door number two—neglected and alone, or door number three—treasured and loved, I would choose the third. I would choose it. I would choose it every time.

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