I Could Spit on a Stranger

15 Aug

When I’m not careful, I dream about my future.  It’s a dangerous place to live, because I work hard to stay focused on the moment.  The future is completely unknown to me, even the very-near future, so I am careful not to imagine what it could be like. But when I’m not careful, begin to fantasize.

Usually I fantasize about the HD’s visit in a few (5) weeks, but sometimes I go farther, dreaming about life after he returns for good.

Here is what I definitely do not know, right now:

#1: When he will return.  His orders say, “not to exceed 365 days”, but many units have returned a few weeks ahead of schedule; others have been given the “honor” of serving their country beyond the originally alloted time.

#2: Where we will live.  His orders will change very quickly, assigning us to a new duty-station, wherever the Army decides.

#3: When we will have another child (could we potentially conceive while he’s home for two weeks?).

When I dream about the future, though, all I see is tranquility and peace.  I close my eyes and fast-forward to some imaginary vignette where the HD and I are simply *together*.

There is a Facebook game going around right now where some friend will “give you a year”.  Then you take that year and write about what that year was for you.  Then, anyone who “likes” your post you must give a year to, and so on.  I received 2005 as a year, and I went back to read my old blog from those days.  It was a year when the HD and I were long distance and was making the painful transition away from graduate school.  I was broke and jobless, but all I  knew was “soon” we’d be reunited.

I’ve been interrupted from writing this post so many times I can’t even remember where I was going with it.  Can’t imagine why I would keep getting interrupted, can you?  Life with a toddler makes writing hard.  I think of so much to say, still, but cannot compose it.

Anyway, the point I’m getting at, is that the hurting heart is in no position to speak sensibly about what will define true happiness.  When someone is in pain, their idea of joy is that which will make the pain go away.

“I’ll be happy when he comes home,” I say.  As if it will be a finite, once-and-for-all ending to all my heart’s suffering.  Every concern with Young G will be put at ease, every sleepless night, every day lacking motivation, every un-eaten meal will cease troubling me.

My mother sometimes says, “I’ll be happy when my children live near me.” But the same is true for her.  Until her basic need for happiness is met, she can not honestly claim that having the four of us in trailers in her backyard would satisfy her.

You can’t trust the starving man’s preference for food; he’s indiscriminate.  He can’t tell you if it’s actually a cheeseburger that he wants, or pizza.  He simply needs nourishing.

I need my husband.

My mother needs companionship.

The starving man needs food.

Once the basic need is met, then the future can be approached soundly.  I can’t make plans, or tell you what I want to do with my future, because it is so uncertain.  I can’t tell you that living in South Carolina will make me happy, or teaching in Tennessee.  My hurting heart can’t conceive of anything in the future beyond being reunited with my Love.

The reality, too, is that the romantic vignette doesn’t actually exist.  There are new problems once the basic need is met — higher-order problems, if you will.  Once the need for food is satisfied, then the starving man can begin to consider his needs that are less important than survival.

Survival.  That’s what this is about.  What I’ve always been about, I guess. I don’t like living here in survival-mode anymore, though.

Maybe my mother’s basic needs are being met right now, either.

Once the basic needs are met, and satisfaction is found, happiness doesn’t just settle like a warm blanket forever.  There are new problems.  My husband’s return will be full of new problems, I’m sure.  Four children living on my mother’s property will be FULL of new problems.  The starving man will have to find a way to continue to maintain his health.  The happiness we fantasize about is not REALITY.

But REALITY can’t be faced until our needs are met.

I’ll make plans when he comes home.  I can’t see clearly now.  It all looks good to me.  I’m not discerning well.


One Response to “I Could Spit on a Stranger”

  1. amy 15 August, 2011 at 9:48 pm #

    I’m doing the same thing in regards to us moving to Oregon next year. It will be Utopia; I’ll be near my family. Jason will be staying home with the kids. I’ll BE IN OREGON. I feel like I’m holding my breath until then. : \
    And I deeply remember my days of waiting to be reunited with Jason… it was like being in a state of suspended animation. It does pass though, and then life goes on. And as you said, more hurdles will come along. But it’s true: it’s easier when you’re together.

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