Sunday, April 3, 2011

Raised Eyebrows

Oscar was a long legged hound who’s blond eyebrows must have come from a touch of doberman somewhere. Mostly black he’d run around Huntington Beach with that loping gait looking in bars for my dad.

Dad would go from bar to bar, working on his daily drunk, and they’d tell him that Oscar had been in looking for him. He’d laugh and eventually that dog would catch up with him and spend the latter part of the day visiting bars with his tongue flappin’ in the breeze provided by Dad’s GMC pick up.

He was a character.

One of the funniest things that dog did was his reaction to puppies. Someone’d pull out a puppy and present it to Oscar.

His eyebrows would arch in surprise, his eyes widen, and he’d stand straight and stiff, his lip curled in horror at the mewling’ little one, and he’d back up as far as space would allow in the darkened rooms where drunks got a laugh out of startling the poor ol’ hound.


There are times in our lives when we naturally look at where we are, who we are, what we are doing and what we might be doing next. Puberty is one. I see that in my students. Their bodies are changing and suddenly their minds change as well. They can abruptly reinvent themselves.

Graduation from high school, moving out on one’s own, is another time.

And marriage, of course, is another. Even second marriages. Perhaps especially second marriages.

In my first marriage there were many difficult times which colored the way I saw the world. Readers of this blog might think I see that marriage as a wholly negative experience, but I don’t.

She was intense, controlling. Though that shaped how I lived my role as man and husband, and later, father, there were many good things about that relationship. She was my best friend. Which is one reason why her repeated betrayals hurt so deeply.

Still, there were good things, even in, and sometimes because, of the challenges.

Children, and the desire for children, fueled the engines which pushed us into and through those challenges. Failed pregnancies. The death of our first child. The realization of the mental handicaps of our next two adopted children.

At the death of the child I started reading the book of Job. I read commentaries and wrote notes and began a blog with the intention of discussing the book. That blog promptly turned into a journal about my life, my take on things spiritual, physical, scientific, marital, paternal... the works.

I felt a little awkward at times with the disconnect between the intention of the blog and its reality because it seemed pretentious, as if I was comparing my life, my challenges, to those of that biblical patriarch. But I pressed on, disregarding the obvious hyperbole.

There were times, three of them, in which I am certain the Creator came to let me know I was not alone in my small struggles, miniscule in the history of an earth which had rolled through scores of thousand of years of human experience, rattling around in a corner of a universe greater that 30 billion light years across. A heady experience in which I found the nature of a supreme being was so large He could be aware of the tiniest of souls in the smallest of places.

Those experiences meshed with my understanding of physics and astronomy in a way that puzzles me as well as those who believe there must be a conflict there.

When the papers had been filed, when my divorce was final and the house was transferred to my name alone... When my sons were under my care (though my first wife did her best to help as she could under the new circumstances), I began to become a me who was independent.

That independence brought with it the coarse lifestyle of the unattached male. I fed my sons from easy to fix meals which came from boxes and cans that required only a pound of ground beef or some grated cheese to make them palatable, possibly even nourishing.

I painted the living room orange, a color my sons thought cheerful and my friends (especially those of the gentler gender) thought typically male, and while crude and a touch bizarre, an obviously male attempt at creating a new life.

When my spirit had healed enough I began to date.

I looked around a bit, dated a few, and then got serious about searching for someone who was just right. Unlike Goldilocks, I prayed about the choices, I simply didn’t just taste and judge if they were too hot or too cold, too hard or too soft. I prayed I would find someone perfect for me and I for her.

I met Marilyn.

It is not hyperbole to say it is a miracle.

There is physical attraction. I find her beautiful, wonderful.

There is much, much more.

With her I feel I have found not only a friend and a helpmate but someone who makes it easier for me to be who I am meant to be.

She hasn’t the need to take more control of life than is good for her. She lets me lead in a way that is good for me, good for us.

I feel good to step up to the plate, learn to hold the bat properly, and swing hard at what life throws at me.

For so long, long enough for it to seem normal, life hurt. Disappointment, physical injuries, disillusionment over my life partner, unfulfillment for kids, I found solace in God, found God in dark places, found deep realities within my knowledge of science and my deep sense of my own soul.

Then I met her. Three times I felt, heard, saw, encouragement from the divine that I had found the woman I was meant to share my life with.

I met her in September. I dated her for a few months and fell swiftly (is there any other way to fall?) in love. I fell swiftly into a life that was different than any other I have had (and I’ve had many strange adventures). By November I proposed. By mid December I was married. Now we are expecting a child in mid August.

The idea of being a father at this age (I turn 55 in a few weeks) makes my eyebrows go up, my eyes widen a bit. I had long ago given up on that dream and thought myself too old.

It’s amazing.

It seems the old Will is gone. Though I see many challenges ahead, the future seems to be on a fresh road, a path I’ve never tread.

I worked this past month on the living room (I have already stripped and redone the bedroom this past summer). The orange is gone. The wood stove is gone and the carpet is soon to follow. In their place is an elegant fireplace, tasteful wall colors, and soon a new floor.

Just as the transitional work I’d done to make my sons feel OK about a life (without their mother) has been replaced with decor reflecting a feminine influence, my emotional and spiritual life has been remade to reflect a life filled with prayer, times of devotion, and a fresh breath of life.

The last chapter of Job showed the protagonist with a new life, a rebirth. So too this life seems to me.

It feels as if my pre-Marilyn life was Will Vol. I. Now I am in the first chapter of another new book. Welcome to Will Vol. II.

A new work... Father, man, servant of the Lord God.

A miracle I could not have imagined.

I am a blessed and happy man.

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