As I alluded to in Volume Four, I am better for having experienced it. The attempts to mediate the marriage, the depression, the weight loss and near death – these are experiences I’ve gleaned much from. The marriage, regardless of my irrational attempts to save it, was heading for the drain. And I ask myself if I would have changed it or done it differently – or not at all – if I had a chance to do it over.
For a moment I’d like to put aside the underlying martyrdom or pseudo masochism in that statement, and focus instead upon the practical consequences if I hadn’t tried anything.
To preface, I will say that I am fully aware that my attempts were all for naught. Even when they had to work together to figure out how to keep their son from dying, and while they shared in their general desire to keep me alive, they differed in their respective assessments and approaches.
So I think about the practical consequences if I hadn’t tried anything, if I sat idly by. Would I be the same person I am today? I can’t be sure. I do know that the things I had gleaned and learned make up a great deal of my philosophical take on the life one lives, the inter-relational dynamics they experience and build upon, the religious understandings they abide by, the social constructs they fall into, and the like.
I wonder if I had been more removed from the madness of it all, if I would have a different view of my father. Of my mother; if I would be less a critic of my dad, or less a default (often to a fault) supporter of my mom; if I would feel differently about adultery and its impact on the family; if I would think differently about Christianity, about God; if I didn’t give off the impression that I am the resident relationship guru; if I would be less patient, less guarded; if I would fear less the colloquial understanding that kids take after, and often become, their parents.
So I wonder, and I ponder, and I muse about it all.
I am happy. And if that experience had something to do, on any level (which I am certain it had), with my state of happiness, I am grateful. Because, at the end of the day, it’s really all about how one learns, how one gleans, how one assesses and reacts to the people, the experiences and the world around us.