On wishing-wells (and the irony of pessimistic idealism)

Recently, a wise friend of mine spoke to me openly about her own marriage. She has been married longer than Brett and I. It was SO refreshing to hear her voice her own struggles, to hear her speak about some of the things most of us married folk never even voice out loud cos “how could we even be thinking that!”, and to have some of it comfortingly resonate with what I have felt and struggled with. So thank you to honest, open, say-it-like-it-is, older and wiser, married folk who debunk the myths of marriage without degrading its worth!

One thing she spoke about which really struck me is how sometimes we look at our spouse and are so easily able to spot the flaws and the weaknesses and even wish a little that they were “more this” or “less that”.  She has learned over the years that some of the things she wishes her spouse was “more of” do not exist precisely because of some of the other things she loves and cherishes and values in him.

I like this cartoon about Elly the Elephant because, as much as the last two frames of it kind of kick marriage, I think it drives home a hugely valuable lesson that “looking for a partner”, “trying to decide whether to commit to a partner”, and “learning to love a partner better” people can (and SHOULD) all learn as quickly as possible. Sometimes the very things we love in our partners preclude some other things. That is, exactly because they are one way, they are not necessarily going to be some of those other things we may also want/like.  I love that Brett doesn’t care about what people think about him. But I struggle to do the same. And so sometimes I get embarrassed when he goes to the staff party dressed in purple tights, with purple gypsy pants, a Madiba shirt, a Marvin the Martian tie, and dreadlocks under a standy-up beanie (for example, d; ). And I secretly wish he’d just dressed “normal”. But all those crazy clothes are part of the package of him not caring about what people think, and being fun and spontaneous, and making me laugh every-day-every-day, and always finding the good in people, and hoping, and bringing life into a room, and vibing with strangers and just generally not taking things too seriously (in a good way). And so maybe if he dressed more “normal” he would be a little-less all those things. And I would hate that.

So Elly the Elephant wants someone who is sensitive, but doesn’t want him to be “needy”…and one of the two has to go. She wants him to be dependable….but he might not be if he also ticks the wish-list box as “adventurous”. We want our spouse/partner/boyfriend/girlfriend to be all things to us. See, it’s not a case of “simply learning to be happy with the few avocados we have” or “being happy with the crappy partner we have” (Stephan Pastis).  It’s about realizing that maybe we have some ideals that are just idealistic. That do not recognize that we are flawed and that any partner we end up with will be just as flawed. And that some characteristics which we highly value exist to the exclusion of others that we just slightly value. And that when we turn our attention to griping about the small-value things, we lose sight of the big-value things and devalue our partner. Or we sit alone.

Tim Keller and his wife, Kathy, have written a book which B and I are reading through and “studying” together. Here’s a little something about our expectations in potential (and actual) partners:

“Today we are looking for someone who accepts us as we are and fulfills our desires, and this creates an unrealistic set of expectations that frustrates both the searcher and the searched for…it would be wrong to pin the culture’s change in attitude toward marriage fully on the male quest for physical beauty. Women have been just as affected by our consumer culture. Both men and women today see marriage not as a way of creating character and community but as a way to reach personal life goals. They are all looking for a marriage partner who will “fulfill their emotional, sexual and spiritual desires”. And that creates an extreme idealism that in turn leads to deep pessimism that you will ever find the right person to marry. This is the reason so many put off marriage and look right past great prospective spouses that simply are “not good enough.”… To conduct a Me-Marriage requires two completely well adjusted, happy individuals, with very little in the way of emotional neediness of their own or character flaws that need a lot of work. The problem is – there is almost no one like that out there to marry!…In other words, some people in our culture want too much out of a marriage partner. They do not see marriage as two flawed people coming together to create a space of stability, love, and consolation.” (The Meaning of Marriage, Tim and Kathy Keller, pp. 33-35)

I guess to paraphrase John Tierney, so often in our dating and marriages we are “determined to get more than we deserve – and to reject anyone remotely like ourselves”. The problem with all of this – the pessimistic idealism in terms of what we are looking for in a partner; and the wishing for something slightly different which just doesn’t fit with what we have – is that it makes it extremely hard to find a partner, to keep a partner, or to be partner.

As for me? I am seeking, trying (and many times failing), day-by-day, to embrace all the facets (even the hard ones and the wishing-well ones) that are integrally tied up with some of the wonderful and marvelous and highly valuable things which are intrinsically who Brett is. I’m learning that “the basket can’t hold all the avocados” and I’m pretty sure I’m not “all the avocados” myself!

On dating and daring: Part 2

So there I was: 23 and single. Which isn’t too bad. I know stacks of girls much much older who are single. 23 is just starting out. But it felt like the world to me. I was stuck in a place waiting for the guys I wanted to ask me out, and ignoring the ones I didn’t (but not even realising I was doing it at the time). I went to see my pastor (not about that, but it came up). He asked me what was on my list and I honestly told him I didn’t have one. He said something along the lines of “That’s not true. Of course you have a list. If you didn’t you would be dating someone right now. You have a list and it says what kind of guy you are looking for and makes you say no to those who don’t tick the boxes.” WOW! I had a list. I had a freaking LONG list! And many amazing guys just weren’t ticking the boxes. Gosh girls, maybe it’s time we threw those imaginary check-lists out hey. Cos NO guy is going to measure up to them and by holding it over their heads to see if they do measure up we are setting hoops and asking them to jump through before we deign them with our presence on a date. Arrogance and pride much? Just as an aside.

So I told John my pastor about my list – the things I was really looking for and hoping for in a guy. And they were all good, non-shallow stuff. I wasn’t looking for a guy who looked a certain way, just one who acted a certain way. My wise pastor told me to get rid of my list. He said, “Val, you need someone who loves God and is strong enough to lead you. Stop looking for those other things and if you know the guy has that first one waxed then say yes when he asks you out and find out if he is the second one. Start going on dates.” Ah, best advice ever! That’s when I started going on dates. They were awkward, and fun, and wierd, and some guys I would have been happy to date again and some I wasn’t. But that was okay. Because I had started risking, putting myself out there, putting myself in positions where I was able to get to know guys and they were given the freedom to show who they were. It was scary, it sometimes hurt, it was often awkward, and sometimes confusing. But gosh, the freedom of going on dates was incredible!

I’m not saying be the serial dater. I’m saying give guys a chance. Even guys you wouldn’t normally go for. Hey, Brett wasn’t the guy I would “normally” go for. Flip, he was about 5 years too old according to my normal and my checklist. But I gave him a chance. I risked. I put myself out there as did he. And look, it didn’t end so badly. Does my success story mean I got it hundred percent right and am the expert on dating and relationships? Not at all! There were huge measures of  learning and mistakes and grace and forgivenes involved all along the journey. If I had to be in that dating/single place again I hope I would get it a bit better, but I don’ think I would totally wax it. But there is truth in my journey. And maybe that can speak truth into other’s journeys.

On dating and daring: Part 1

I have been following Brett’s relationship blogs – and especially the comments on them – with interest and have been reminded of some of my pre-Brett dating vibes. Here are a couple of thoughts – disconnected, but hopefully useful.

I tell people I never dated anyone before Brett. Which is partially true. I never “went steady” (ha ha ha ha ha I just said that!) with a guy, dated for a prolonged period of time (i.e. more than two dates), “courted”, or kissed a guy. But I did go on dates with guys. Some of them were incredibly awkward – the sit at X coffee shop and play with the sugar packet until it please-God-ends kind of awkward. Some of them hurt so much that I wished I’d never gone or even met the guy – the “Hey, let’s go on a “date”  kind where “date” was his fun word for let’s hang out alone together, “I’ll pick you up at 7”, and talk about another girl the whole night – the please-God-let-the-floor-open-up kind of hurt. After some of them I couldn’t wait for the next one, the call, the sms – which never came. Nothing. One of them – an intimate movie and dinner where I felt the most special and wanted that I had ever felt up till that point – sent me into a 4 month crisis of faith and one of the darkest times of my spiritual life. I left church, pushed friends away, ranted and screamed at God for hours, cried, and rebelled. Because he wasn’t Christian. How could this most amazing guy – the first one to ever treat me like I was desirable, and special – be off-limits? The way I described it to friends at the time was that it was like I had seen this beautiful garden and been allowed to walk a few steps into it, and then beauty and happiness that awaited in it was suddenly ripped away and I had to turn on this hard, dark, path and trust a God I didn’t even really believe in any more that He had something better, something that exceeded this good thing I had tasted, down the road. He did. But wow that path was pretty hard at times.

I get it. I get the “being ignored by Christian guys” thing while non-Christian guys were taking the risk and treating me amazingly. I get the million guy friends, the sms’s that built emotional attachment but never amounted to anything, I get the mixed signals. I get the touching and flirting and hints and signals that are oh so exciting. And I’ve been there where the guy has turned around and said, “Oh that? No I was just kidding and playing with you. Oh, you thought I was into you? Nah, not so into you.” And I’ve seen it happen to girls I love – and it is NOT cool. Church-guys, listen up yo, I’m not saying the girls are innocent cos I’ve seen them play this one too, but it is NOT okay. Just as an aside. I also get the pain of seeing the “serial dater girl” – the really pretty one who is always in a relationship. I’ve seen her work her way through groups of my guy friends and I’ve struggled to understand why they would want her and be attracted to her and get into a relationship for 2 months only to have her going out with their best friend a few months later.

My “good” Christian guy friends told me I was cold and hard and my heart was frozen. I took those words and grabbed onto them and let them twist and turn within me and they made me cold and hard, they made me build up more walls, they froze my heart so that words like that couldn’t hurt me again.

Here’s the thing though. Not all the Christian guys in my sphere were ignoring me, playing the field, and playing with my heart. Just the ones I had my eyes set on. There were guys who asked me out, were genuinely interested, sent sms’s and tried to initiate friendship-relationship. But they weren’t the cool ones, the hot ones, the fun-loving dynamic personality ones. And I treated them like junk. I rejected them, I played hard to get, I gave mixed signals, I spoke about how wonderful other guys were around them, I ignored them, I trash-talked them, I built up “wonder-men heroes” in place of them, set the bar and told them inadvertently that they would never measure up to the spiritual guy (you know the one, cos there is one in your church – the upfront, leader, got it all together dude). When they asked me out I said no without giving them a chance. I effectively said, “I know enough about you to know that I will never like you enough to marry you”. Invariably I hadn’t even had a single conversation with them by the time I had weighed them, measured them, and found them severely lacking. Ah, this is all to my shame now! How dare I do to them the hundred things I was complaining, ranting at God about, that other guys were doing to me. I am sorry. To each and every one of those guys. Because I never gave you a chance to show me who you were. In doing so I not only ended up feeling lonely and unwanted, but I missed out on getting to know and become friends with some super quality guys just because they didn’t fit my mold.

Part 2 to follow:

on immoral wealth

It is months since I have last written and months since I had the privilege to attend the Lausanne Congress in Cape Town. The months since have been full and busy and I have not had the time to think or integrate or even remember all that happened at Lausanne. I think the time is now – to start at least.

I do remember one conversation. I was in a session in which Richard Stearns (The Hole in our Gospel) gave one of the first unequivocal positions and statements on immoral wealth, greed, capitalism, consumerism, the creation of desire, and entitlement I have ever heard. During the comment session, I got up and said so. As I left the building a man approached me and asked if we could meet to chat about something I had said in my comment. During supper, I went and sat down with him and he introduced himself as a German MP and asked me what I had meant by “the creation of desire”. I went blank for two reasons: first, he was an MP and I felt completely out of my depth even sitting down to dinner with him. This was excacerbated by the fact that as he asked the question I realised I had nothing more to say on the topic. I didn’t really know what I meant by it. But it was something that stirred me, something that had come up in the past week and somehow felt like one of the keys. And so I sit now with the sense still that all of this – poverty, immoral wealth, consumerism, the prosperity gospel, the creation of desire – is all vitally linked and must be spoken too. I guess I am trying to “understand the times, with knowledge of what [the Church] should do” as the men of Issachar did (1 Chronicles 12:32). Someone else at Lausanne spoke of the need for a prophetic critique of how we live – but what must be said?

I guess I am tired of a “Gospel that protects the injustice of the status quo” (Richard Stearns). I am tired of wealth that perpetuates and sustains itself at the expense of the majority. I am tired of greed that justifies itself by itself . I am tired of a christian culture that buys into consumerism and the creation of desire. I am tired of the problem continually being defined as “poverty” without any consideration of the counterpoints of wealth and greed. I am tired of a prosperity doctrine which is insiduous in “western” conceptualisations and responses to wealth – “I am entitled to all the wealth I have because my wealth is a sign of God’s blessing. I deserve what I have”. I am tired of all the justifications that absolve our consciences – that say that conviction is condemnatory and therefore can be ignored. I am tired of not knowing how this all fits together and what is right and how much is too much and how this plays out in my life. I am tired because I think this is another one of the myriad things that is “too big for a divided church”.

And after all I am left thinking about two things:

“Use honest scales, honest weights, and honest measures. I am the LORD your God, and I brought you out of Egypt.” (Leviticus 19v36)  In other words, “don’t you dare oppress people when I’ve just gone to all this effort to save you from being oppressed.”  (Peter Houston – http://conversation.lausanne.org/en/resources/detail/10767#article_page_1)

And this:

“I was hungry; while you had all you needed. I was thirsty; but you drank bottled water. I was a stranger; and you wanted me deported. I needed clothes; but you needed more clothes. I was sick; but you pointed out the behaviours that led to my sickness. I was in prison; you said I was getting what I deserved.” (Richard Stearns; paraphrase Matthew 25:42)

on the honeymoon phase

I hate the idea of the “honeymoon phase” in any relationship. It is one of the things that grates me most when people talk about marriage – especially people who have been married for many years. I especially hate it when people look at Brett and I – how much we like each other, love each other, laugh, touch, talk – and say, “ah, that’s cute, you’re still in the honeymoon phase…” and the dot dot dot they leave hanging at the end implies that it will all come crashing down and reality will set in and we will soon see what its really like. We will fall out of love and into “marriage”. I hate it.

That said. I wish people had talked a little more honestly about how hard marriage is and how much daily work it takes, in the months leading up to our wedding. They were very quick to tell us about sex, but not much beyond that.

I also hate it how people don’t speak honestly and truthfully about marriage and their marriages now. Especially people who have been married for years. I don’t like how there is no space for honesty, truth, for saying “it really is tough. so worth it but tough” or “we’re having a hard week and really need your guy’s support” or “B and I are struggling to find time to fit in all the people in our lives and we’re taking a hit” or the myriad other things that are never said, but should be.

B and I are doing marriage prep counselling with a couple in our church. As we were talking the guy used an analogy – he said, “Marriage is like a movie. You can tell us what it’s like and recommend it to us, but we have to go and watch the movie and experience it for ourselves.” Which is cool. And reminded me of another analogy.

Recently B and I went and watched a fun hip-hop/streetdance style play at the Barnyard Theatre. It was great fun and we really dug it, but there were one or two things that detracted from the greatness. So when we recommended the show to our friends we said, “It’s great, especially the purple crew dancing in the second act, but watch out for the narrator. We found him very annoying and mis-cast.” They went and watched the show and loved it, but thanked us for warning them about the narrator.

This is like marriage. We need people to highly recommend it, to rave about it, to build-it-up, to love it – but we also need those people to tell us “the narrator sucks, watch out”.

Pre-marriage counselling is great and highly recommended. But I think we would have benefitted a whole lot more from a monthly catch-up and re-cap with Mr Basson in the months following our wedding.  You see, the thing is, what happened with me is I got into this marriage thing and suddenly it was hard and tough and I thought I was doing something wrong, I wasn’t good enough, I was failing. At times I thought there must be something fundamentally wrong with our relationship. That’s lies. There isn’t. But if someone had been there and told us and shared their vulnerability and their falling and their learnings, it would have all made a lot more sense and been easier to get through.

So, marriage is wonderful, I love it, I love B and am always always glad and confident in the choice I have made. I highly recommend it. But let’s face it, sometimes “the narrator sucks”. Anyone for a little honesty?

on poverties..

“…the material, economistic perspective on poverty is only one way of framing the subject… there are many forms of poverty, economic poverty being only one of these. And the question arises as to how much other poverty we create when our goal is narrowly defined as the alleviation of economic poverty. When all values are subsumed to the economic, as they increasingly are, particularly within a conventional development paradigm, how much do we lose with respect to social values, to artistic values, to cultural and language diversity, to bio-diversity? We must surely recognize by now that the world we are creating with our fixation on the economic is becoming immeasurably poorer with respect to everything which lives outside of the economic

(Kaplan, A. (1998). Crossroads: A Development Reading. Extract from the Community Development Resource Association’s Annual Report 1997/1998. Cape Town: CDRA. pp. 11-12).

I am a trustee at a place of safety which myself and a group of friends started 3 years ago. The House takes in abandoned, abused, neglected, orphaned and vulnerable children. Currently we have two children in the House who have been living on the street for several months. The courts decided that it was in their best interests to be in a place of safety.

I live in Stellenbosch. There is a park opposite where I go to church and a group of people frequent it. They are dirty, some have dreadlocks, they wear old torn clothes (not enough). Sometimes, they come and beg outside the church – invariably they reek of alcohol. They often sit on cartons in the middle of the field until late at night, talking. Sometimes they have a little fire going in a tin. As far as I am aware they sleep out there. Except when it’s raining; then they bring their blankets and plastic bags and lie under the eaves of the building. There is a little girl who lives with them – about 7 years old. I have been grappling with whether to approach social services with an eye to getting her removed and placed in a warm, safe home. But I have hesitated because of exactly that which Kaplan writes. I have always, unconsciously, preferenced economic wellbeing. But removing this young girl would take away her family, would divorce her from a sense of community which clearly exists around that fireplace, would isolate her, would perhaps even annihilate the good values which maybe that group is inculcating in her. Who am I to say? See, this girl is clothed, and runs around happy, and looks well-fed – she is not emaciated and does not look sick. The group talk to her and laugh with her and look out for her. But she does not live with a roof over her head. And my developmental paradigm says this is wrong.

My developmental paradigm says she must be sheltered and in an economically stable environment – not merely a loving one where material goods take the back seat, although community is valued. In my paradigm, the ‘best interests of the child’ are often economically defined (although not solely for sure). I would risk losing all those other values, in fact introducing various other poverties into her life for the sake of alleviating this one poverty (and a relative one, at that).
Of course, I infer that the environment she is in is safe and loving and community-based and provides her with warmth and sustenance. For the sake of illustrating my point. She may in fact be hungry always, be sick, be cold, be abused – physically, sexually, emotionally. The affect of alcohol on that group and on her may be huge. And this is the dilemma. But my point is that in the past I would have run in with guns blazing. I would have recognized a situation of injustice – ill-defined though it is – and done everything in my power to right it. My point is that now right is not so clear. And I think that increasingly an awareness of the trade-off between economic poverty and other poverties will play a part in how I approach individuals and situations.

on schizophrenic love…

I met a guy today. I think I gave him a fright as I entered the Vineyard prayer room in the Neelsie. He was huddled in front of the kettle talking loudly to himself. He quickly recovered and offered me something to drink. I went foward to shake his hand and, when I asked him why it was bandaged, he said he had fought with a lion. Jokingly, I asked him who won. Then the games began. For the next five minutes I was taken on a rollercoaster ride of word salads, outrageous statements and apologetic retractions, whispered self-beratement, four different voices, provocation, misplaced words left hanging in the air. Thinking he was messing with my mind, I eventually walked out but he came to ask me back. We tried to start over. His words and thoughts and voices and pacings surrounded me. He apologised for tearing down the posters and scribbling on the walls. I left. I wrote him off.

See, the most profound thing about the second part of that revolutionary command, love your neighbor as yourself – you know, the one that all the law and all the teachings of the prophets hinges on – is that a lot of the time people are incredibly difficult to love. I think Jesus knew this when he said it. I think he knew that our neighbors would dissapoint us, hurt us, confuse us, frustrate us, rip our stuff and leave it a mess, scribble over our religious acts, trample on our hopes and dreams and passions, mess up our hard work, anger us, and fail us. I think he knew they would be difficult to communicate with, be in the same room as, and understand. I think he knew that the loving part would not always come naturally or easily or gracefully.

In fact, I think the love and the life he calls us to is schizophrenic. It is characterized by abnormalities in perception, content of thought, and thought processes. It is counter-cultural, counter-intuitive and contrary to ‘normal’ assumptions and behaviour. It results in, or perhaps emanates from, an ‘abnormal’ perception or expression of reality. It most commonly manifests with significant social dysfunction… It does not make sense. It is not easy to be around. It confounds those around us. Perhaps it even frightens them a bit. It flies in the face of the way things are. It turns common sense and social convention and religious piety and illusions on their heads.

I wish I had gone back and hung around that guy a bit more, instead of hiding out in anger and frustration because he messed my stuff and my head. I wish I had gone back and loved him.

but I thank him. Because, although I wouldn’t recognise his face again, and I had to ask twice for his name, he has challenged me more directly, thrown me into deeper self-examination and more candid awareness, than have some people I have known for years. If I do meet him there again, I’ll take him up on the offer of coffee….

my vows…

You are my best friend.
You are God’s love made visible to me
You are the evidence of things I had only hoped for
You are my safe and quiet place
You are my heart

Brett,

Knowing that our marriage relationship is meant to be a reflection of the relationship between Christ and the Church, I will show in my life how the Church responds to Christ. I will submit myself to you, in everything, even as you love me as your own body.

I will pray for you, asking God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all spiritual wisdom and understanding. I pray this in order that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and may please him in every way; bearing fruit in very good work, growing in the knowledge of God, being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might, so that you may have great endurance and patience, and joyfully giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified us to share in the inheritance of the saints in the kingdom of light.

I will follow your leadership, not pressing for my own way, but trusting you and trusting God.

I will honour and respect you, even when others I love criticize you or when I may not understand you.

I will be your best friend – confiding in you first, before all others, and drawing you in to my life and thoughts and plans and dreams and listening to yours.

I will be intentional about working out my love for you, in words and in actions. I will affirm you and support you and will spur you on to live in the fullness of who you were created to be in every sphere of your life.

I will be your number one fan, cheering you on from the sidelines, in areas where God has called you to be in terms of your specific gifting, skills and calling.

I will encourage and comfort you in distress, spiritual difficulties and sickness.

I will appreciate you and forgive you even when you disappoint me or fail to fulfill my expectations.

I will seek to satisfy you as a whole person recognizing you have both needs and desires that may be physical, emotional, spiritual and sexual, always trying to strike a balance between the different areas of who you are and not giving any of them to too much or too little attention.

I will laugh with you and take joy in who you are.

In loving you, I will embrace all that love is. I will continue to seek every day to love patiently and kindly, not envying or boasting in anything I do in or for love. I will seek to love and not be rude or proud. To love, not seeking my own way, my own satisfaction, my own rights or what is owed me. I seek and will continue to seek to love without being easily angered. In this I will try to approach every interaction and altercation from the base-line that you love me and so will try to interpret your words and actions in that light. I will seek to love in a way that does not keep a record of wrongs or slights or hurts or disappointments or frustrations. I will not delight in evil but will rejoice, always, with the truth. I will love you with a love that always protects, always trusts, always hopes, and always perseveres.

This is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless until the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ – to the glory and praise of God.

I have chosen and will continue to choose to love you and commit my life to you above all others.

I, Valerie, take you, Brett, to be my husband, according to God’s purpose. As your wife I will submit myself in love to you as to Christ. I will do this in His strength, no matter what may come our way.

dear carlzen

Your eyes. Your eyes stay with me, years and years on (memories tag, snag, haunt, call). I look into your eyes, only child. Child only. The depths of your eyes – deeper than the depths of the sea;born from the depths of crashing waves – your eyes hold the secrets of the old, hold the sorrows of the world, hold in them the stories of every story come after. Every child only who tore my soul (tears my soul) lived and died and lived first in the stories of your eyes. Child only, my first child. I look back into your beautiful, beautiful eyes and I promise to speak.

Your silence – all the tears, all the sandcastles, all the soundless screaming, dying for hands that must not touch you – your silence screams at me. Your silence – which turned from me and felt its lonely way away, hugging close-tight the walls – your silence pleads with me. Around you go for hours and hours and endless hours. Hours which tear me to my core as I watch you, round and round.

You turn – turn from me and stand still – tense, frigid – you stand willing yourself away. Willing the walls to hold you. You stand – breath held til it hurts – lest they see you. Lest the world see you. Sees you. Silently standing.

The wave – monstrous wave. Monster. Raises itself, dwarfs you, pauses a moment to savour its own sadistic menace. Then crashes down on you. Crushes you. Grabs you and smashes you. Child. Only. Air – all the air that filled your tiny lungs, breathed your moment life – is sucked from you. Life is ripped slowly from your clenched child hands. Your body cries, sorrow wrought from timeless ages gone.

Silence descends. Silence which kept you alive before your soul’s death. You lie – tense, frigid, still. Willessly slipping away. Your eyes stare up through the depth of the sea which holds you still. You stare motionless up through the white foam, ageless, blown furiously aside. Your soul is old.

You lift your eyes to mine. Your scream pierces. I lose my soul within your pleading eyes. I lose my soul yet also find it.

Your eyes stay with me years and years on and drive me. I’ll scream. I’ll scream as loud as it takes. I’ll fight. I’ll fight with all of my soul for you.

I’ll take your tiny child only hand, again, in mine and sit with you. Teach you all the colours of the morning sky and more. I’ll hold your hand as waves and breakers (the roar of waterfalls) wash over you. Wash you. We’ll chase that ageless white, holding the colours in our hands as the sun shines down through the sea’s breath – breath that breathes into you. Breathes you. Your breath fills me – breathes life into life, passion, vision, devotion.

You become my life anthem; my voice sprung from your vow of silence. You are what drives me. Because I love you. I love you, beautiful child only. Carlzen.