Endings Are New Beginnings

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In my opinion, there's never been a truly great book written that didn't have a chapter about the hero's two-month marriage to a Mexico jungle woman.

My autobiography will boast such a chapter.

Yes, it's true. The dream matrimony that was covered so lovingly in this publication's companion newspaper in late September is over. But the good news is that I have never been afraid to look like an idiot occasionally. (When I said this to my mother, she said, "OCCASIONALLY???" Mothers can be so cruel.)

More good news: I am now once again Payson's Most Eligible Bachelor the barely sought-after honor bestowed upon me in last year's Best of Payson voting by about six people each of whom, it has been determined, are still safely confined within the Arizona Home for the Criminally Insane and Near-Sighted.

Under normal circumstances, no newlywed would leap at the chance to publicly announce the demise of such a brief union. But I have two reasons to share this very personal episode of my life.

Because my marriage to a woman who lived in another country (not a good idea, by the way) was broadcast in this community's newspaper of record, nary an hour passes TO THIS DAY when I don't run into someone, often a total stranger, who asks, "So how's your new bride?"

It's very rough explaining the situation to ancient friends and explaining it to total strangers is an impossibility, I discovered. So far, the best answer I've come up with is, "Ahhhhhhhh ... ummmmmmm ... well ... last I saw her, she was fine, thank you."

Then, before I am given the opportunity to crawl away, they ask, "So when are you gonna see her again?"

"Ahhhhhhhh ... ummmmmmm ... well ... that's sorta up in the air right now. Ha ha ha."

And THEN they say, "Yeah, it's pretty hard living in two different countries, isn't it?"

To which I have been replying, "Ahhhhhhh ... ummmmmm ... well ... right now, actually, it's not quite as hard as it might seem."

Believe me. If I'd had any idea that the leftover wedding-party beer was going to outlast the marriage, I would not have allowed the rather unusual story of our 28-year courtship, reunion-via-meditation and gala nuptials to be hand-delivered to the home of nearly everyone in the Rim country.

I mean, sheesh! I have never in my life MET anyone who was in a two-month marriage. Yeah, I know about the infamous one-day marriage of Ernest Borgnine and Ethel Merman ... but my brains won't allow me to conjure up an image of those two together, doing anything at all, long enough to make me feel any better.

Suffice to say, as in most separations, it appears that almost everyone I know had seen it coming before the actuality landed on my head with the impact of a bowling ball dropped from the top of KMOG's broadcast tower.

Which brings us to the real, functional purpose of this story: to remind those in the throes of their own breakups that they will find no greater healing or comfort anywhere than in the warmth which emanates from those who love and care about them. Although I firmly believe there are rarely if ever any true "victims" in a breakup look hard enough and you'll likely find truckloads of shared responsibility it's pretty danged hard not to make yourself feel like a victim, at least for a little while, when it happens to you.

And there is no group that gives self-created victims of alleged spousal jerkishness greater sympathy than family and friends who love to be fed as many reasons as possible to say, "You're better off." "It's his/her loss." "How in the world could anyone do THAT to another human being?" "You poor, poor thing." "Well, he/she is sure to rot in Hades for THAT."

Their sole purpose in saying these things, of course, is to make you, the "victim," feel better and it works. The more you hear it, the more you start feeling that you ARE better off and that you WERE a victim ... even if the unvarnished truth is that you were caught with four football players and/or cheerleaders on your first wedding anniversary when your mate came home from church after spending two hours thanking God for the holy gift of you.

The love of these friends and relatives works wonders, too. They will remind you of all the simple things you already know but are failing to remember because of your anguish.

They'll remind you to never stop following your heart, despite the fact that love has so much in common with tossing dice in a crap game.

They'll remind you that we're all who we are, we all work with the abilities and baggage and wounds we've got, and our choice is to accept that fact or carry our pain until we do.

They'll remind you that to wish your former partner was different is to wish that they were someone they aren't and likely could never be.

The wisest among them will remind you that the only purpose of the past is to harvest lessons we can use in the present.

And the smartest of the wisest among them will remind you that there is nothing NOTHING more important than maintaining your sense of humor and your ability to laugh at yourself.

"If you ever invite me to another one of your weddings," a colleague said the other day, "I'm gonna bring Minute Rice."

Ya gotta laugh. Cry for a while. But then, ya gotta laugh.

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