Saturday, June 28, 2014

A series. (With Many Notes on Marriage & Singleness)

Some of you may remember a vintage comic by Kim Casali. I'll give you a hint: the comics were one panel, with one repetitive phrase, and... the characters were always naked. Sometimes they wore hats or glasses. Haven't guessed it yet?

I'm referring to the "Love Is..." comic strip. Each panel had a separated phrase like "Love is... taking the seeds out of her watermelon." Between the two phrases there was a comic of the only two characters, a girl and a guy, and the comic would illustrate the phrase. They were all extremely adorable, once you stopped being bothered by their perpetual nudity. They were pretty tasteful, for the most part. (Like this one, for instance.) It was pretty popular during the 60s and 70s. But, I digress. (Although before I stop digressing, I would like to mention that Kim Casali's story is intriguing. Look her up!)

So I have this "Love Is..." notebook. I've had it for approximately 5 years. I've never opened it because it's just so stinking cute. But I glanced at it in my stationary drawer today (yep, I've got one of those) and it started me thinking--love is lots of things. It would probably be a good writing adventure to come up with different "love is" topics. It would be even more of an adventure to write on different "marriage is" topics. And then I started thinking about a whole CIRCUS of ideas and metaphors and themes, so before I knew it, I'd come to a fantastic decision about my next blogging endeavor.

I've decided to start a blog series about marriage. On Wednesday the 25th I just completed 3 whole years of marriage. I'm no longer considered a newlywed, which is slightly sad and insanely exciting. All it really means is that the thoughts and ideas I've had in my head for the last 3 years are finally "old" enough to be respected by some of the public.

I'm not going to preach at anybody. I'm probably not even going to give you advice! I am, however, going to make this series funny and creative--this is me we're talking about. So today I'm going to give you a little taste of what that will be like. I'm running with the "metaphor/simile" theme, because it will give me a little consistency.

Marriage is like... a rubber stamp and an ink pad.

It is not a self-inking stamp. Some might argue that it is or should be self-inking. It's not.*****

A marriage is made of two people. Two whole people, who are made whole by God alone, and are not whole just because they are married. They are perfect for each other, but they are separate beings. Just like the rubber stamp and the ink pad are perfect for each other, you might even say they're made for each other, but they certainly are separate. (If they weren't separate, I wouldn't lose ink pads and stamps so often.)

The difficult thing is, the stamp and the ink don't fully function by themselves. Even though they're whole. Even though God made them that way. Even though they're separate.

The rubber stamp is very pretty all by itself.

Or, maybe it's not pretty. Maybe it just has the date on it. It's backwards, and a little hard to read.

The ink pad is also very pretty by itself. It, too, has some functions. It can still make marks. Like smudges, or big blobs. Still, we all know that's not the best way to use an ink pad.

But look at what they can do together.

*****A separate note on self-inking stamps.

Yes, sometimes these stamps are made. They can be very handy, and have lovely designs. They are often used for addresses. However, they weren't meant to be used or paired with other things. You might find it extremely frustrating to try to soak the ink from a self-inking stamp onto a plain rubber stamp. Likewise, it would create quite a mess (and ruin the self-inking stamp, I might add!) if you tried to use a self-inking stamp with a regular ink pad.

It's because they were created to be self-inking. They are intended to work alone, in the same way that God calls some people to singleness. They create something beautiful without any other people, or other stamps, or other inks. I find this incredible.

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Sisters and Wives

With less than three hours of sleep, Joey and I walked across the busy Chicago street from the parking lot to Union Station. We walked through its echoing halls past the Blackhawks merchandise vendors, past tired men sleeping on benches with briefcases for pillows, until we reached the cozy terminal where I would board the train. Someone had a whole theme song set for their text message notification, and so the terminal was filled with the ruckus cell phone music, chattering travelers, and the counter agents announcing last calls. An old man next to us coughed and read his newspaper. We sat for a whole hour, then embraced for five minutes, and just before I stepped into the cold, cement tunnel we kissed each other goodbye.

I became a different person. A tired but courageous woman, traveling alone. And I went to Carbondale to see my best friend.

In another life, we would have been sisters. Except I don't believe in "other lives", so I suppose we just make up for it by being friends in this one. We forged a friendship over lost loves and black coffee and twisted relationships with older brothers--she has one, I have two, but we both know how it is. If you have older brothers, you know how it is too. 

For eight days and seven nights we reforged our friendship, with more coffee and more intense conversations about brothers and our husbands and our lives. We are older, now. Stronger, now. We share a sisterhood--because we are sisters to brothers, but also to each other. We also now share the "wife life," a strange and wonderful place to exist. 

We played video games, walked through the woods around her apartment (and saw a dead snake!), went shopping and talked deeply of all the things that can't truly be expressed on Facebook chat or even on the phone. We went to a hippie town and a garden. We watched movies, but did it in bits and pieces because we would start talking. We sat in the sunshine, and watched all the rain, and had a mini photo shoot. (See the photos at her tumblr here.) It was a beautiful week. 

I honestly didn't take that many pictures. I don't really know why, I think I was just too focused on being there. Which isn't so horrible, I guess. These are just some of my favorites.

It's a lie, you know... that quote about how friendships don't change because of distance or time. They DO change, but that doesn't mean those changes are bad. It means that we have grown--we grow apart, as in separately. Growing by ourselves without each other, but not away from each other. And then we come together again, we measure new branches and appreciate blossoming flowers in the other person. Friendships change. It doesn't mean there's something wrong. It usually just means they got better.