There are stages to grief and one of them is denial. We deny the reality of the situation when someone we love hurts and or leaves us, we deny the reality when someone we love dies. It’s a widely if not universal phenomenon. I went through it. This stage can last a long time for some but one thing is sure. When you finally move out of the phase into acceptance true healing can begin. All of it is a process though. But no matter how long it takes a person to deal with the reality another thing is certain as well. Reality is reality. That person is still gone no matter what.
A person can also say that God doesn’t exist and Jesus is not God. But if it is true it really doesn’t matter what a person says they believe because their unbelief does not make the reality untrue.
Reality is reality. When I size up situations I often strive for the truth…which I believe exists but I also don’t think anyone of us can know the WHOLE truth but we can know a reasonable truth which means we can arrive at THE truth without knowing 100% absolutely everything. Let me explain.
I’ve been reading a book called “The First Thanksgiving” written by Robert Tracy McKenzie. And in this book he writes about history and historical evidence. He quotes C.S. Lewis who said, “a single second of lived time contains more than can be recorded, ” he likened the past to a “roaring cataract of billions upon billion of such moments: any one of them too complex to grasp in its entirety, and the aggregate beyond all imagination.” McKenzie goes on to write, “the past is everything that has happened before us. Lewis’s ‘roaring cataract of billions upon billions’ of individual moments. In contrast, history concerns subsequent understanding of that awesome totality. The difference is immense. The real past never gets in the books. Not completely and objectively for the simple reason that the past itself is gone forever. Coming to grips with this truth is the first step to thinking historically.” All history then is interpreted. The past is the past and reality is reality. But we look through our filters to understand it.
None of us no matter how much we try can be completely, 100% objective in the case of history. He also writes that, “the historical evidence that survives constitutes a boundary that the historian can’t cross without leaving the domain of history for the realm of historical fiction. Unlike the fiction writer, the historian is constrained by the historical record. The more extensive the surviving evidence, the greater the constraint.” And I might add, the more confident we can be in arriving at a reasonable conclusion about what is real.
So as I strive to understand my world, and the truth of my past, I know that I color my interpretation with all kinds of baggage picked up along the way. But because I am a trained historian (yes, that is what I got my Bachelor’s degree in) I discipline myself to constrain my interpretation based on the historical record of what I can know really happened not necessarily my feelings about what happened.
And I have two reasons for bringing this up today. One is a side note really but worth noting for those of you who have been with me since day one. Over a year ago Harry had a short email correspondence with Slimeball, partially to make him aware of Harry’s very real existence in my life. Harry had said, “Thank you” to him. Slimeball’s response was “You’re more than welcome, more than welcome! Time will tell…” Harry never responded back until a couple of days ago.
He wrote saying, “Time told… We are getting married on New Years. I couldn’t be happier. Cheers” Simply stating a reality again. But Harry got a very long ranting email back full of outlandish, empty threats and accusations that were completely fabricated. Clearly Slimeball has major issues when it comes to dealing with REALITY (still – big surprise.) He lives in a world of lies and is probably certifiably egomaniacal. But whether he wants to believe it or not…reality is reality.
I watched a football game the other night and wrote about how Auburn was the unlikely victor in the last second of play against Alabama. The camera cut to a player who had just taken off his helmet and the look on his face was priceless. You could actually see his face change from being incredulous to elation as the news sunk in. It was a great shot, I’ll never forget it. It almost made me cry.
Because sometimes…and this doesn’t happen very often, but sometimes reality is SO good, it’s hard to believe. How could I be this lucky? How could this relationship be this good? You know what they say…”If it seems too good to be true it probably is.” So what do I do when I get these feelings of incredulousness? I go to the record.
I trace each memory I have of Harry and I together. Lucky for me, I have this blog to constrain my history. It’s my eye-witness account in the moment recorded for all time. I read past blog posts and am amazed I wrote the words. I know they are true. I know they are honest. Sometimes my memory in the present is wrong and often has big huge gaps. Sometimes it’s very right. But I have thousands of words in over 500 posts of about 900 words a piece on average. That’s over 450,000 thousand words that I have to draw my history from.
I read, I remember, and I gain great confidence in each step I’ve taken over the past year and a half that feels more like only a few weeks. I read and I remember the good, and there is so much good. I read and I remember how we chose to lock our steps and purposefully sojourn together. It’s all there.
And each day confirms what I know about the past. It’s so very good. It’s so very right. That is reality. As hard as it is for me to believe after all the hardship, tears, ill-treatment, striving, and pain, my new reality is really that good.
This morning I thought…with 23 days until the wedding, I should really be more nervous than this. I should be more frantic. My mind should be racing with all the reasons getting married at the end of this month is the wrong thing to do. After all, this is a VERY BIG STEP. But instead, I shrugged my shoulders and said to myself out loud, “I can’t think of any reason not to…and I want to!” I chuckled for talking to myself.
As I drove to the courthouse to meet Harry to pick up our marriage license today, all I could do was smile. Harry filled out the paperwork online and made us an appointment. We walked in, sat down for 10 minutes and were called to the front. We handed the man our ID, verified our information and with our right hands raised, promised that the information was accurate. That’s it. The man shook our hands and we walked out with our certificate of marriage needing only a few signatures to make it valid.
Harry helped me get some of the house in order on Sunday. It was the first day we were alone in the house for a long while. It was so nice. We replaced lightbulbs, dusted, moved furniture, decorated the mantel, and I cooked my special cast iron rib eye for dinner. It was a precious evening because just like everything else…with Harry…things just go the way things are supposed to go. He’s getting ready to call my home his home and he’s moving stuff in and we are meshing our stuff just like we’ve been meshing our lives for this past year and half.
Harry said to me last night, “I know the guy is supposed to get cold feet as the date approaches, but I just am getting more and more sure.” Then he leaned over and said, “Tell me this is real?”
I rolled over to sit on his lap and put my forehead onto his and I remember saying, “Four years ago my life ended as I knew it. I felt splintered in a million pieces and really didn’t know who I was anymore. Then I clung to the promises of a man I couldn’t trust and was shattered again. But the day I kissed you, I knew we would work. I knew it.” I kissed him soft on the lips. “This is real. This is as real as your tears.”
I don’t just believe it’s good. I know it’s good. I know as good as I can know any truth or any reality. And will begin a life with Harry that will be made up of billions upon billions of lived moments that I will cherish forever…