Some towns have foothills that roll and bounce. They’re covered in that soft, thick grass that sways because it’s unmanicured. The kind that looks like you could comb it. We’ve got some of those here. One of them is a landfill you can see from the thruway. Oh well.
Those hills, natural or not, are permanent. We also have some hills rising from parking lots. These are temporary. They’re like monuments. Megaliths erected to remind us snowplows were here. They’ll be gone when the weather warms. Until then, the snow piles keep watch. I’ve noticed that, in one particular series of connected parking lots, the peaks are crowned with obliterated shopping carts. All types. Metal ones, plastic ones, red, blue, green and on. They’re the carts the lot boys didn’t get to in time or just flat out left behind.
It’s hard to blame the snowplows, right? They’re just doing their job. The snow is the enemy. It must be dealt with. They can’t bob and weave like a mogul skier. They need to do a clean sweep. If some carts get trashed so be it. They shouldn’t have been standing there. It’s not that the driver wants to, but then again I bet it’s pretty fun to watch the cart explode in front of you. There can only be one winner in this battle. The plows are mightier so that makes the carts the losers. Please try not to lose any sleep over them. They’re in a better place.
Sometimes we can be like snowplows. We’ve got a job to do and we’ve been given authorization to do it. So plow we do. The problem with analogies like this is that they aren’t always direct parallels. While we’re like plows other people are not like carts. Not entirely. Yes, they find themselves before us and in our path. Yes, they sometimes get in the way. Yes, even sometimes they shouldn’t have been standing there. They shouldn’t have said what they said or did what they did. It’s understandable why you want to go through them. Most people would agree. But just because you can do something doesn’t mean you should. Not every thing you think should be spoken.
My wife has many endearing idiosyncrasies. Many of them fuel my love. Like the way she, only once about every 3-5 weeks, talks out of the side of her mouth. Literally. Her lips muscles shift ability and move differently when she speaks. It’s marvelous. There are also some things that don’t make me smile as much. For about the first 9 years of our marriage (yes, that means up until about 7 months ago) I felt like I needed to point these things out. Daily. They were really important, life or death sorts of things like not turning out a light in a room after she exited. You can see why I was so offended, right?
Why did I do this?
I wanted to win. Or, more accurately, I didn’t want to lose. And she needed to know that. Or so I thought. Turns out she didn’t. The lights weren’t the only thing I tripped over. Every time I brought my case, I placed another stone in the wall I was building between us. The most alarming part is that I didn’t even see what I was doing. When two people decide they no longer belong together it’s usually because they discover there’s a wall between them. They no longer see eye to eye. The saddest part is that they usually believe that the wall was there all along. But it wasn’t. You built it.
The thing about carts is that they’re meant to be filled. I wasn’t doing that. I was looking at the 2 or 3 things she didn’t do to my standards and ignored the 513 things she does routinely that make me feel loved. And even if she didn’t do those great things she’s still my wife and I owe it to her to build her up even when it’s difficult to do. That’s my job.
So every time I have to take extra time to walk around the house and turn the lights off it reminds me of how much I love her.
And of course this isn’t just about marriages. It’s true wherever you find two or more trying to live life together.
When I’ve tried to win I find that I’ve lost. Now that I’m trying to lose, I’m learning what love is really all about.
Photo credit: Angel in the North
Author: Erik Eustice – Read more at The Sea Log