And now…, the other shoe.

I’ve got to take care of a little unwelcome personal business.

As you may have picked up through these scattered threads lying about here are a number that try to make some connection between the themes of Christianity,  of Christian theology, and the way the world seems to actually work in observation. Sometimes, as in “Simul Justes et Peccator” that connection is revealed by failure. Failure to act in accordance with what one knows to be true involves, if not a willful blindness, a willful “dimming of the eye,” a choosing not to see, a choosing to not know what one knows. This failure to connect what one knows to what one sees is endemic in fallen humanity. My description of my own marital breakdown already referenced, especially when set against things I have written here and elsewhere concerning marriage as an existential parable for understanding God as Trinity, show my own choosing not to see quite clearly. I think a very good case could be made for the same “not knowing” in Eve’s choice – a big part of her temptation was that of choosing not to know those things that from God she very clearly knew. In Romans 1:18-22, Paul lays this “suppression of the truth” very near the foot of the trail of fallen man.  Elsewhere in these writings I have claimed rejection of Truth, when we see it, to be the core and center of damnation.

 Of course, my thundering has a bit of the flavor of the street-corner prophet of the evils of strong drink, who keeps back a little of his “collection” for a drop of brandy “against the cold night air.”

I am guilty as charged. I can stand as prosecutor and accused at one breath.  But this is not my point.

I’ve written of this dilemma, St. Paul wrote of it (“Oh wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me…?”)

 The truth is that I have let another carefully chosen “partial truth” stand. And I must address it.

 In “Simul Justes…” I explained how my actions led to the brink of failure in my remarriage. They, in fact, led over the brink, and I withdraw not a word to soften my guilt or shame. They are all true.

But there is more truth, and truth which I hid from myself, and wouldn’t speak even when I saw it. That truth is that in the relationship I chose, I constantly had to choose between reality and peace. At first, I saw it and knew it; fantasized that I could walk with integrity through it, and we could grow past it. I think that is probably a fool’s choice. The very attempt demands that one walk in a level of unreality. Acceptance of that unreality eventually leavens the whole loaf, and I swallowed it. One gets use to choosing less than the truth, for the best of motives, then for ok motives, then for one’s own motives. Finally, one chooses unreality because “it’s easier this way” and it the end the habit is so engrained that one almost doesn’t choose at all. That is where hell lies.

 Anyone who knows my marriage will know something of which I speak. Anyone who has had their own marriage fail will know whether responsibility can be 100% on one side. In my previous writing, I left the door open to that interpretation, that mine were the only flaws. They were not. I wrote the way I did in an effort to accurately state my own understanding of my guilt in such a way as to weasel out of none of it. Again, I earned every stripe I invited by those words. My point was to prove that I ‘got it,’ and to ask for a forgiveness that I could not demand, and that was not forthcoming.

This is as close as I will come publicly to these issues (those with standing to know more may ask). My sin is my own, and I can reveal or disclose it as I choose, and better if I disclose. But I had to at least round out the first account – One doesn’t arrive at the truth by telling only part of it.

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2 Comments

Filed under ALL, Christianity, Heaven and hell, Marriage, Theology

2 responses to “And now…, the other shoe.

  1. Mollie McGarity Conroy

    Eric, I read “pain” in between the lines of your musings. As I deal with Stage 4 breast cancer, I am reminded that life is too short to keep beating ourselves up for what we can no longer change. Forgive yourself and put it completely behind you. If God can do it, so must you, old friend.

  2. Molly, thank you for your kind thoughts and words. They mean more to me than you perhaps know, for reasons I’ll tell in a moment. But as to the substance, you are entirely right in everything you say. Yes, there is pain, but a loss unaccompanied by pain is no loss, but a shedding of something that had no value. There is pain over both the loss of my 30 year marriage (in 2 installments, if you don’t know the story!) and over my role in that loss. But you are also right about forgiveness. In fact, that is part of why I have elected to tell the final part instead of taking down the first post (Simul Justes et Peccatore). One of my points in these posts as in other things I have written, other than my own psycho-drama, is that things brought to the light become light, as St. Paul wrote to the Ephesians. I don’t want to babble incessantly about this yuck (believe it or not!), but I refuse to hide it under a rock, swept into the darkest corner of the most hidden closet of my house. Part of my understanding is that, in God, nothing will be undone, but everything may be redeemed and transformed.

    I know you understand at least something of what I mean, probably much more than I do. You bear troubles enough in your flesh to make almost anyone’s “woe is me” party collapse in self-reproach. But even in your small note to me, I feel a kindness made warmer in that the heart behind it has born burdens that make me quake.
    But this posting has completed a cycle, and finished a public record of something I would have preferred to keep quiet. Among the reasons the whole had to be told is that I have been so extravagant in proclaiming God’s work in our remarriage after divorce, that I would have been false to hide it. Now it is done, and said. It teaches what it teaches. But I am forgiven.

    Back to that other thing, though, I said I value your note more than you may suspect. The reason for that is that you, and the old P group on FB, represent the redemption of a pretty difficult time in my life. I did not have many connections then, and bear some scars. But oddly, my most consistent encouragement and support in the past year has been from precisely that group from whom I felt so estranged 40 years ago. You have no idea the restoration, the successful completion of old business, comes with that grace. God is good, even – or especially – in the midst of the mess we make. Thank you for being part of that.

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