Love Is Harder Online

valentine from chris

Valentine’s Day has been getting a lot of blog interest this week, much of it sweet and sentimental, but not all of it is happy.  Lot’s of V-Day haters out there, lots of disillusioned couples.  V-Day can be stressful for many, it seems.

One of the blogs I follow is written by a young woman who re-posted some previous V-Day articles she’s written.  The raw emotion of it lead me to read some of her previous posts and, to summarize, her husband had (in not-too-previous times) sent a love note of sorts to his ex-girlfriend through Facebook.  Apparently, no other contact (meaning physical) has come of it and the ex-girlfriend has made it clear she’s no longer interested.  But he got caught (the idiot), by forgetting to sign off his account before leaving his computer.

Well, the good news is, they’ve gotten through the worst of it.  The bad news is, the pain he’s caused his wife is all online, for anyone to read.  Anyone, meaning me, of course.

Reading the bleeding pain of this young woman, and probably being a bit sympathetic to the young man as well (his distressed emotions were also apparent), brought home to me the reality of what it’s like to be married in this day and age of love online.

Kids (please forgive me for sounding old here, by referring to anyone younger than 40 as “kids”), but kids today live in a world that my generation never had to.  They live public.  Their world is broadcast “live”.

Those black words printed on screen or comments on Facebook aren’t necessarily “real” to us oldsters, we don’t automatically think of them as real life.  We know better.  Or, at least, we think we do.  But to the kids, that IS real life, and rightly so that they should feel that way.  Just as we were raised to see things Pre-Facebook, they were raised with their lives public from the very beginning.  Or at least, in this young woman’s case, early enough in their brief time here to have encrusted a solid weight of importance on their shoulders.

What a horrible burden to bear.  For not only are romances begun online, but the whole of their relationship as well.  How many couples meet online?  How many videos are posted of extravagant, or funny weddings?  Morning sickness is tweeted, and marital infidelity is shared among all the victims friends, relatives, and perfect strangers.  Like me.  I’m a perfect stranger.  (Well, not so perfect).

The thing is, it’s not just marriage that is online in this crazed, electronic madness we call social media…. the whole messy divorce happens online as well.

As anyone who’s been married longer than 10 years can tell you,  the reason very old, married couples frequently look like life-long soul mates, isn’t because they’ve had 60 years of wedded bliss.  It’s because they’ve had 60 years!  Those first years of marriage are a bitch for a lot of couples.  The husband (or wife) still having issues with ex’s isn’t something new, and infidelity didn’t originate on Facebook.  Hanky-panky has been around before God wiped out most of mankind with the great flood.  Pretty much no-sooner than there were more than two people on this earth, someone’s eyes started to wander, and gossip became the mainstay of people’s entertainment from the moment it began.  Albeit, the world was a smaller place then (John Henry messing around with the mayor’s daughter had a smaller audience), but the problems existed even then.

Choosing to live with one man/woman for the rest of your life is a hard thing to do!  That’s why doing it (over and over for 60 years) is how you get better at it.  You get to a point where you learn to adjust to each other, ride the bumps, and hold on for dear life through the darkness.  Depend on each other.  Developing trust.

Practice really does help.

Some people call this “settling”.  They are wrong.  There is no deeper love than the one that develops though tolerance, and need, and forgiveness.  Through life.

In the case of my young couple, as I write this, the wife has developed some health issues (also online) which seems to have drawn her and her husband closer.  They have been married for only a few years.  They have many, many hills and valley’s ahead of them, but I have hope.  From what I’ve read so far, they’re committed to making it work.  They’ve put their commitment to each other ahead of their wounds, wondering if the band aid of dedication will be able to heal their pierced bond.

I think they can do it.  Certainly it seems that I’ll be able to find out, simply by signing in to my computer.  I thank God that my marriage began in a smaller world.

To this couple I say:  Hang in there.  Keep fighting for love.  And when those dark, scary nights envelop you, and the fear of not making it looms in your mind, remember that old cliché about how it’s always darkest before the dawn?  That’s not just a cliché.  That’s a promise from God.

Weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes with the morning. (Psalm 30:5)

In the morning, O Lord, you hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before you and wait in expectation.  (Psalm 5:3)

I’m Lovin’ This Winter

I’m lovin’ this winter.  I’ve been hearing lots of discontent from family and friends, about the record number of below zero temps and snow.  And yeah, I admit it’s gotten to be a bit much at times.

I’m tired of changing the towel that’s shoved into the grooves of my bedroom window, to catch the water leakage from the ice dam on the roof.  I look out that window and I can see the snow is now halfway up the side of that wall.  There’s a huge mass of icicles hanging from my one-story roof, reaching down and meeting the snow, the tips disappearing into the white ground.

And okay, neither am I thrilled with the below zero nights.  Especially when the negatives dip into double digits.  I’m tired of gating off opened cabinets to keep the pipes from freezing, or worrying about my shift-worker husband driving home on deserted roads at midnight.

Even the dog is driving me crazy. He runs into my office periodically and gives me wide, demented, cabin fever stares… right before he gets into some trouble.  (Poor baby).

I’m not even happy with the way our village ran out of road salt, much as many other communities have, and told us they couldn’t get sand so we would be driving on snow packed roads from now on.  Their sage advice was to avoid the hills.  Since my community is nothing but hills, I could only laugh at that advice.  I know the village is swamped with complaints, bless their frozen hearts, and I really do appreciate their efforts.  I am not one of the complainers.  But I do think that when they threatened us with liability for accidents in front of our house if we blew our snow into the road, perhaps they were over-reacting to criticism.

Yet, this morning, while I was out snow blowing the latest 6 inches of white, trying to widen the driveway (which is becomingly alarmingly narrow), and dislodging today’s chewed newspaper from the blades of the snow blower… I had to admit that I still wasn’t done with this winter.

I shoveled the snow from in front of the mailbox so the mailman could deliver my junk mail, went in and got the dog, and watched him struggle valiantly through the drifts to mark his favorite pine tree.  Then we just walked around a bit, enjoying the brilliant winter day.

Don’t get me wrong…. I love the other seasons.  How could I not?  When everything bursts with life?  I love gardening and summer flowers and the colors in fall.  But winter has always been my favorite season.

I love the feel of the cold air on my face.  It makes me feel alive.  I love the peaceful quiet.  It makes me feel safe.

I love discerning the patterns of growth in the bare trees, designs you can’t glimpse when they’re fully clothed in leaves.

The stark browns and grays that spring like charcoal drawings from a blinding white landscape.  And the way the snow coats the railings of the fence, or lays like vanilla frosting on top of giant evergreen pines.

Of all the seasons, winter always makes me think of God the most.  Certainly I pray more during winter!  For safety on the ice and the hope the furnace doesn’t die.  But it’s more than that.  The tilt and orbit of the Earth around the Sun, the never ending pattern of light and dark…. this is what makes our seasons, and all seasons are from God.  We could not exist without them.

The bible tells us that after the great flood, God promised Noah cycles of seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night, without end, as long as the earth existed, (Genesis 8:22).  From the breath of God ice is made, He balances nature, and does wondrous things, (Job 37).  He gives snow like wool, (Psalm 147:16).

So call me crazy, but I think I have good cause not to join the voice of the dissenters.  You can bet I’ll be right there with you come spring, delighting over early crocus and that first lime green flush of new grass.  But until then?  I’m still lovin’ this winter!