Slaying the monsters
Slaying the monsters
Ever see someone you love; turn into someone you don’t recognize? Exhibit monster like behavior that is upsetting? Our general response is to go on the defensive and attack back. And knowing them like we do, we know how to hurt them. We know exactly which buttons to push in our defensive strike.
But, does this slay the monster? Or make it bigger?
In an episode of “This is Us”, an endearing character named Jack deals with such a scenario with his young wife. She is pregnant with triplets, in full monster/exorcist mode.
Anyone who has been pregnant, or been with someone through a pregnancy knows this is an expected part of pregnancy. Body changing, hormones ranging…monster fertile ground. In this state, she orders Jack out of the house, not realizing it’s his birthday. A common slip considering her primary focus is getting those babies out of her, and the only thing she can see right now is that none of her shoes fit, their house isn’t done, boxes everywhere that still need unpacked, and constant uncomfortableness in pretty much every part of her body. Not to mention not feeling “sexy” or desirable physically.
Jack, is driven away. He is hurt about his birthday, which is perfectly normal. He is tempted by his well-meaning friends to treat himself for his birthday, to a golf membership. They try to persuade him that he will need to get away from his wife, and all the complaints and whining of women, and going “golfing” was the perfect excuse for all the getaway moments he would need.
But in that moment, that crossroad in life, Jack realizes a couple of key things. He recognizes that his wife is carrying his future children, that she is making sacrifices to do so, for them both. He states that he doesn’t want to run away from her, he wants to be with her, he doesn’t want to miss a thing. Not ONE moment. And that he wants to freeze time and he even wishes to go slowly through this torturous time. We, watching the show, get goosebumps with premonition knowing that Jack is not going to get to experience his children growing up, or grow old with his sweetheart. That life will be cut short prematurely for him. Here we curse the writers for causing the tears to well up in our eyes and drip down our cheeks. Longing for the capturing of such realizations in our own lives. A friend or loved one to see past the monster times in us, for us, to see past the monster times in others. To value the time, we have, to see in perspective the fragileness of our lives and how little control we have over when it will all end.
But we do have some control. We have control about when some of it will end. We can walk away, shut down, close our eyes to the monsters. The monsters of stress, or hormonal surges, or uncontrollable pain, or impatience, of bottled emotions finally being released. Or we can choose to jump back in the pit, and help take the monsters out. Hard work? Certainly. Sometimes sacrificial, and even painful as the monster nips at you and grabs a couple bites. But in the end, in facing the monsters we grow stronger, deeper bonds with those who are a part of our journey.
Each time we choose to close our eyes or run away from the monsters, the tree of our love, dies a little. Gets a little browner, each time, until it seems at some point there is no life left in it. But, love is not so easily destroyed. With a little nurturing, a little effort, the blooms come again. One small apology, one small reach for your loved one’s hand. One smile. One kind word. Each is like a bit of sunshine cracking through the darkness, a bit of water after a drought. And the plant begins growing. A bloom can be seen. The tree of love. It is not just about a partner, but with parents, children, brothers, sisters, friends.
Our human connections. We get out what we put in. Just like the care of a plant. Sometimes however, there are things we cannot control. A sickness, mental health issues, hormonal issues. Physical pain and suffering. Stress from a job, or finances or life just piling up. Each of the above come in full force ready to devour the tree of love. The release of nasty words, dirty looks, raised voices, things unmeant but bursting out. Altered by all the above filtering out any possible light or water the tree needs to survive. Walk away and the plant is sure to die. Close your eyes and ignore, and the plant is sure to die.
But instead, take a step towards. Offer your hand, smile, speak kind words, and overlook the crap allows sunshine and necessary water to replenish the struggling plant.
Yes, it takes two to tango. But If one walks away, there is no tango. There is no possibility of anything but death to the plant. Easy enough. Close your eyes, close your ears, close your heart, seal it shut and walk away. Or fight for the life of the true. Fight to conquer how to get along with others, Slay your monsters. What will you choose? To bring life? Or allow death?
“When you have once seen the glow of happiness on the face of a beloved person, you know that a man can have no vocation but to awaken that light on the faces surrounding him; and you are torn by the thought of the unhappiness and night you cast, by the mere fact of living, in the hearts you encounter.”