My favorite story of when she gets angry at his behavior is this:
After a day of sitting in a muggy screened porch huddling next to a citronella candle along with every mosquito ever created because the door to our screened porch has been broken for seven years -- playing two games of Monopoly until my kids and I are not only stealing money from the bank, but throwing it at each other, he calls and says he's done with golf. He's going to the farmers' market. My territory.
I tell him we'd planned to go, too. We need tomato starts. My comment is as much about the future as it is about tomatoes. I saw him watering our plum tree the other day. He's got some future in him. Doesn't he?
"We could meet you there," I say. Five scared little words.
"Oh," he says. He doesn't sound like he wants to share the farmers' market. "Maybe I'll just go to the lake."
I want him to go to a lake...in Australia.
It's that last part that cracks me up. When someone hits you when you're not watching (sucker punches you right in the gut), just to be mean, your instinct is to throw an angry punch in that direction with all of your might. To make it hurt. For weeks. To make it sting. And yet if you do throw that punch out of anger, you will flail wildly. You will miss the target. Because you're blinded by rage.
In that vein, let me be honest: today I am angry. Not tired, frustrated or overwhelmed, but filled with rage. Why must I go through this difficult season? Why can't He Who Is In the Middle of a Personal Crisis snap out of it, realize everyone goes through periods of crisis and see that grieving and learning is the way out? Slap himself into therapy, like Laura Munson says? At what point does the immaturity and avoidance become over-the-top, mean-spirited and ridiculous?
I do not want to be grateful today. I do not want to be humble. I do not want to take stock and give thanks. I want to be angry and self-righteous. Demanding. The mean authoritarian, even though I'm not his parent. I want to scream at him, tell him how immature I think he's being and how awful this makes me feel. I want to hurt him as badly as he has hurt me.
I want, I want, I want!
And that is what it comes down to, isn't it? Exactly what she says: we have to come to the end of wanting, because that is the only way out of suffering. Just being. Choosing not suffering.
And so, as I sit here, angry and dispirited, I am grateful that someone else has been through this. That she has figuratively screamed, "Don't do it! Don't react! Don't punch back! You'll only flail wildly and miss the target! He will win!" Her words have helped me to realize that there is much suffering in being overcome with rage, and there are consequences to pay if you react while filled with it.
Better to focus on empathy and to give him the space he needs to fight this out on his own.
In what I find comfort: the words, "Trust me. Go slowly." Thank you, Laura Munson, for being that voice in my head as I struggle through this.