I have one. A peanut gallery. Sitting in the front row are my three closest friends. They have been privy to most of my intimate details. They have talked me down off the ledge and have encouraged me to stay true to myself. They have lead me on the straight and narrow in the Lord and pointed me in the right direction. They are practically in the orchestra pit.
In the Loge seats are my mom and my sisters. I tell them almost everything but mostly they don’t want to hear it. They have busy lives and don’t call that often. The one I’m closest to is the most opinionated out of them all and has about as much tact as a truck driver. She means well but is abrasive and often makes me feel defensive. When I do open up it’s like she doesn’t wait long enough to even hear enough detail before she judges and comes down with her verdict. It’s frustrating.
In the general seating are my friends from church and high school who I have shared many things with and who care about what happens to me. They want to be kept up on the story but don’t get too personal in their questions or opinions. They are the cheerleaders for the most part, sending positive platitudes and making thumbs up comments on Facebook.
I have been very careful to conduct myself on the stage of life keeping my peanut gallery cheering me on. I have tried my whole life to meet expectations, to do the right thing for the right reasons. When I’m mad, or when I mess up I’m honest about it and ask for help to see things in a different way. I really opened up when my husband left.
But for the most part I have lived playing a script and a familiar role. The role that is my claim to fame is a dedicated wife and mother who is a gifted photographer, a mediocre housekeeper, and has momentary lapses in memory which garner the occasional dumb blonde jeer. A person who is conservative with her money and level of personal risk. She loves learning new things and often gets bored at her job but finds something new fairly easily that she is good at that replaces said job. She is a goody-good who has gone to church her entire life and loves to do the right thing almost as much as she hates waste, inefficiency, and hypocrisy. She doesn’t pick fights but won’t back down from one and she is good at being an arbiter and people often come to her with their problems in hopes of getting her help in sorting them out. She’s the one who can be counted on and has all her ducks in a row. That is me. That is my MO.
So when my life took a nose dive and I fell out of the boat I had to survive. I made mistakes of course but mostly my peanut gallery cheered me on. They picked me up off the floor a few times. They marveled at my ability to be loving and forgive. They were incredulous at my faithfulness and yelled, “LET HIM GO, LET HIM GO!” in a roaring collective chant. I listened, I felt their energy, I was buoyed by their support. I welcomed it. I survived because of it.
Now that I’m on the upswing they are still there. Curious as to how the next scene will play out. They know I’m serious with Martin. They think it’s a good thing. And most of them trust me and are in full support of my enthusiasm and happiness. But some are still wary. Especially when I talk about marriage. They don’t want to see me get hurt again. They are not romantics in any way shape or form. They are practical to a fault. And they warn me to take my time. They don’t believe that I could know as much as I do at this point. They think they know better what is best for me. Sometimes it gets to me. So I’m sharing less. Keeping things more private between Martin and me. And I guess that is the way things should progress.
And if I’m completely honest there are times when Martin is like that rescue boat for me. My daughter and I were in the pool this afternoon and we decided we were going to tread water as long as we could for exercise. It was a challenge. We lasted about 15 min. At the end we were both tired and thirsty and our muscles were cramping. We wanted one thing…some rest. Martin has been strong, confident, giving of his time and resources, patient, honest, open and willing to help. And I KNOW I’m supposed to get better on my own and be able to stand on my own two feet and be in a place where I don’t “NEED” a man. But when something is that good…comes out of left field and is almost everything you ever dreamed of? Perfection? No – nothing is perfect but sooo good. Great even. No negatives to speak of. It’s like God has put him right in front of me and what am I supposed to do? Say…no thanks I got this….
You know this joke?:
There’s this huge flood one day, and an entire town looks like it’s going to be swallowed up by the waters. The police and rescue agencies are running all over the place trying to get people to safety.
They send the rescue boat over to this house where a guy’s sitting on the roof with the water lapping around his ankles and they say “Come on, quickly, there isn’t much time”
To which he says “Nah, it’s ok, God will provide”
So about an hour later they’re zooming past in the boat again and they notice the guy’s still there, only the water’s up to his waist, almost at the top of the roof.. “Quick” they say, get in the boat, it’s going to get worse before it gets better.
“Nah, don’t worry – God will provide”
An hour after that a rescue helicopter flies over the area and notices the guy, who must be standing on the peak of the roof now, with only his head and shoulders out of the water. “GRAB THE ROPE!” they cry “IT’S YOUR ONLY HOPE!”
“Don’t worry” he replies calmly “God will provide.”
So he gets drowned of course. And he goes to heaven, and is a little ticked off with God for drowning him like that, and expresses his concern saying “I had FAITH, I BELIEVED in you – and still you didn’t help me.”
“HELP YOU?!” God replies “What MORE did you want – I sent you two boats and a helicopter!”
I’ve been given what I needed. What is wrong with that? I’m not expecting him to make every one of my days rosy. When I marry him (not if) …has to be my decision and like he said…we will make it in the right time taking into account the lead characters. Namely him, me, his kids and mine. Because we are the cast. And that is all that should matter.