8 (and i don’t mention my motorcycle once!)

well, gee. i had intended to write another entry within a day or two of the june 12th one…i even had a number of topics. unfortunately, the mundane details of life that amount to little but fill my waking hours kept me from doing so. such is life, i suppose.
a couple of weeks ago i finished reading the twelve (the lives of the apostles after calvary) by c. bernard ruffin. it’s a collection of information about each of the twelve apostles. it’s amazing how little is known about all but two or three. within a few pages i decided maybe mr. ruffin was high church. i figured catholic, but apparently from google he’s lutheran. but catholics like him. the book seemed well researched, and honest about what is known and what is unsure or contradictory or not know at all.
anyway, the book was interesting. i can understand why stories and histories weren’t written, or things happened and no one wrote about them. then after many years passed and those there at the beginning began dieing, and the church became more established and stable, people became interested but there was little info and much of it was a tangled mess of gaps and contradictions.
still, sometimes in the slick presentation and soundbyte style of modern xianity we lose touch with the inherent humanness and life of the church and the faith we profess. why so many american protestant churches have robbed their members of the depth and meaning of the traditions and history of xianity, i have a hard time understanding. it is a history of the faith of our fathers (good and bad), and the traditions are ties to the centuries of believers who came before us.
on to other things before i get swept up in a tirade about modern american xianity…
the movie i saw in austin with my brother was the puffy chair. it’s a road trip and relationships story, written and filmed for about $15k by jay and mark duplass. i think they used to live in austin, so i’m not sure how many screens it’s shown on (as it’s indie and probably a pretty limited release). but it was really cool. i’m not going to say it was great, but there was some greatness in it — mostly dialogue and delivery. the basic idea is josh (played by mark duplass) found a big purple recliner on ebay and bought it, planning to give it to his dad as a present for his birthday. (his dad had one just like it when josh was young.) he’s going to make a road trip to pick it up and deliver it to his dad. on the way he’ll stop for a quick visit with his brother, rhett. after an argument with his girlfriend kathryn the night before departure he decides to ask her to come along, which she does. they stop to visit rhett, who’s an interesting character in that spacey, deep yet shallow, kind of way. he ends up joining them for the trip. the rest of it is a comedy of bad decisions and awkward situations, leading to heightened tensions and the highlighting of weaknesses in josh and kathryn’s relationship. the movie has a low budget and indie feel to it, but i didn’t think it generally distracted from the well-written and well-paced plot and the good job by the actors. it had hilarious moments, but also some very honest moments about things that go on between two people in a relationship.
and speaking of relationships… (you saw this coming, right?)…

…today would have been my 8 year wedding anniversary, and i could have had a 2+ year old son or daughter. assuming our marriage could have survived a child, which now i’m none too sure of.
about a week plus 3 years ago, tamara and i found out we were going to lose the weeks old child she had inside of her. we were in san antonio so i could attend the usenix conference. we were staying in a cool room at the awesome emily morgan hotel (where we could look down at the alamo from our window) on my company’s dime. we had just mailed our fathers “happy grandfather’s day” cards with the cryptic (to them) “yes, it’s true!” written inside. things were hopefully optimistic. we had chosen to wait to tell people because the doctor had said (a few weeks before) the chances of it going to term was maybe 20% because of tamara’s various issues. but it’d been awhile and the numbers had been doubling like they were supposed to, and i was finally beginning to realize this was reality and it might actually happen. so we decided to announce it to our parents that way.
i did the right things in san antonio. i skipped one afternoon to walk with tamara to a clinic for her to have blood drawn. after we found out the numbers had stopped and were dropping, i skipped to be with her. we had to call our parents and tell them to ignore the letter that was coming in the mail.
but i had been skeptical the moment the doctor said how low our chances were. i’m a concrete thinker, and i’m a pessimist. i tried to hope for the best, but i feared how big the chances were that something bad was going to happen. tamara, ever the obsessive planner, who had recently started showing some scary signs of fixation on having a child (although she had been getting more and more strongly interested in adoption), was wanting to buy baby clothes and strollers and such — i was scared the 80% would happen and my fragile wife (and me, but mostly her) would be staring at baby items and the emptiness of not having what was supposed to have been there would be overwhelming. but i didn’t know what to say or how to say it, so i reluctantly went along with at least some of it.
unfortunately, my inability to deal with the stress and emotions from the situation, the emotions coming through my wife, and the addition of the rest of life around me, made it difficult for me to cope with things. it seemed like everything had been pushed to a fevered pitch, the house of cards had been way too quickly and way too high, and now the first card was falling. and what could i possibly do? how could i help it? or stop it? or change it? how could i even view all of this in a way that had meaning or make sense?
when i’m emotionally freaked out and stressed, i am most likely to do two things: i get annoyed and i disconnect. neither of which were the best things for the situation.
i loved tamara. i made a commitment — a vow — to her and to G-d. and even though as the years moved on the plaque of life built up on our marriage, and there were difficult times, and sometimes i didn’t know how we could make it through, somewhere inside of me something kept me thinking it would work out. there was just so much crap around our life, so many complexities. i kept hoping we could simplify, we could strip down life and just focus on a few good things that would give us vision and hope and lead us through.
but that didn’t happen. tamara distanced herself and eventually chose to create a new life in parallel, leading a double life until her new one was secure enough that she could toss the old one aside. i had long been worried about tamara’s mental stability, and was very unsure of how to respond and deal with her after the miscarriage. i’m not sure i could have done anything to keep what happened from happening, but i know i didn’t make the best choices then. but i tried to slog through it, to remain true to my vow, to G-d, to her, even when she started the process of disconnecting. it all seemed to happen so quickly. and once she’d turned, she really wasn’t turning back (despite her requests to attempt reconciliation and go to counseling). she never turned back.
but this isn’t the time for me to talk about from september 2003 forward. this is about the wife that i loved, that i had thought i would raise a family and grow old with. that i met at a coffee shop because i was wearing a tooth and nail shirt. that i proposed to on halloween 1997 with a black plastic skull ring. that i married on june 20, 1998. that i spent most of my time with. that was my closest friend.
i wish things could have been different. i wish that cute little blond-haired girl in the pictures on the walls at the tabo residence (with the haunting eyes and expression that seemed to suggest she knew something dark about your future) had found what she needed in me — as a friend, as a companion, as a husband.
but here i am. i do not wish to bury or deny the past. as i said about the church at the beginning of this, i would lose touch with the inherent humanness and life of…well, life. it is the depth and meaning of the history of my life that will shape and alter the person that i am moving forward. may G-d grant me wisdom and ability to bring good from all of it.

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