this is a guest post from my frances. she is cool.a week or so ago, elliot and i took a nighttime walk along the flat streets and struck up a conversation about the moon. elliot, you see, is a little freaked out by the moon, because the presence of the moon in our sky means the sun is shining somewhere else in the world where we can't see it, but we believe that it exists there nonetheless.
the only time i am freaked out by the moon, i told him, is when i can see the moon and the sun at the same time, in the same sky. there is something about that phenomenon that feels distinctly not right to me, i said. like the sun and the moon don't belong together or something.
elliot pounced. obviously, he said, you have some sort of subconscious angst related to gender relation, as the sun and moon are strong symbols of the masculine and feminine, respectively. uh-oh.
him: maybe you have a subconscious adherence to traditional gender roles, and you think men and women don't belong in the same sphere.
me: not likely.
him: no. not likely at all.
him: maybe you don't want to exist in the same sphere as men. you want to rule the sphere on your own.
me: more likely.
him: yeah, yeah.
me: or maybe i just don't quite understand how men and women can exist in the same sphere, happily and balanced. it is not that i don't believe it can be done. i see it done, and done well, around me all the time. but i still don't quite get it.
him: yeah, yeah.
it is this last assessment, i believe, that is the truth. or, at least, my truth.
now first, let me be very clear in saying that in no way does any of this mean that i am opposed to women and men coexisting. i am, in fact, very staunchly in favor. maybe my general confusion about the workings of male-female relationships stems from the fact that i can barely make it to a second date, let alone a lifetime commitment. but i do think there is something magical, mysterious and miraculous about two people deciding to spend forever together, something that cannot be understood from the outside.
i mention all of this because i leave in a few hours for portland, where sallee will become a mathews and enter forever the marriage vortex. again, not a bad thing. a good thing, in fact. a wonderful, happy, appropriate, joyful thing for which i am glad. but again, i just don't get it.
intellectually, of course, i understand. i have heard all the stories, the experiences, the processes. you ask questions and you get answers. you have concerns and they get addressed, or become less important. you think. you talk. you try. you pray. and then. you know. or rather, you know enough to take the next step. to make the choice.
emotionally though, spiritually even, it is still difficult (for me, at least) to understand how one might know. you just know? and that's it? because there has been at least one time in my life when i thought i knew something about this sort of thing and it turned out that i was, in fact, wrong. or, maybe more accurately, i came to know something different from what i thought i knew. and it was painful and hard.
it is also hard, i have come to believe, to watch people do things you don't understand, even when those things are very, very good. and it is, probably selfishly so, especially hard when those things involve a change in someone's life that changes your life, too. but, after my own thinking, trying and praying, i have learned this one, very important thing. i don't need to understand how it works for someone else. i don't need to understand how it works for someone else in order to rejoice when they rejoice, and i don't need to understand how it works for someone else in order to believe that it will work out someday for me, too. and, most importantly, the way that it works out for me is going to be just as strange and mysterious and difficult to understand for everyone else outside of my sphere, my sky.
and so i feel, at last, at peace. a little sad, of course. the bittersweet kind of happysad that always accompanies an occasion, and a revelation, of this sort. but, i am also most pleased to offer my joy and congratulations to the soon-to-be mr. and mrs. mathews. may your sky always be full of beauty, balance and love.