Oh, God, it hurts so bad to love anybody down here

I will be the first to tell you that my life isn’t hard, especially by the world’s standards. I have always had enough to eat, and clothes to wear, and a loving family. Life, though, is hard on everyone in an emotional sense. Things happen that are sad and upsetting. People die, and they let us down, and things we hope for don’t always come true.

The funny thing about the way a girl gets destroyed
About the way that deal goes down
Is that everybody pretty much sees it coming at the sister
From all the way across town
And she isn’t always blinded, she isn’t always far astray
She just might not be thinking, she might be having a bad day
But when you choose, you choose, and when you drown, you drown

In the summer and fall of 1999, I was dealing rather badly with some of the changes and disappointments of life. I got a little depressed (actually, if you ask Mike, it was a lot depressed) and behaved in some ways that I’m embarassed about. One of the results of that was that Mike’s parents decided they didn’t want to support our marriage, and cut off contact with us, including not coming to our wedding. This isn’t something I talk about much on a public forum such as this, but I feel like it’s okay to state the bare facts like that.

Oh, God, it hurts so bad to love anybody down here
Why don’t you come and help me out ’cause I can’t even see clear

Mike and his sister have told me ad nauseam that it’s not my fault, that similar things have happened quite a lot, and that I shouldn’t blame myself. I think it’s fair to say that it would have happened eventually, but that I was a catalyst for causing it to happen more quickly.

Regardless, though, it was a hard thing. I listened to a lot of Waterdeep that summer, and “18 Bullet Holes” really resonated with me. It is hard to love people here. It was hard for me to love Mike well, both because I was so caught up in feeling sorry for myself that I couldn’t grasp the enormity of what he was going through, and because in some ways, loving him meant losing some of my ideals of having a “perfect family.” On the flip side, it was hard for him to love me well, because I was in such a dark place that I wouldn’t let anyone help me.

When I look back at that time, I realize two things. The first is that that time brought us closer together as a couple, because we had to decide if this relationship was really what we wanted to do. We were having to face up to some of the serious sacrifices we were going to have to make – not just little things like, “I like skim milk and he likes whole milk,” or even, “Oh, I want two kids and he wants three.” We had to decide if we could construct a reality where we were together without the support of his parents, and if we wanted to make those sacrifices. And because we both decided to do those things, it strengthened our relationship. It does hurt. I don’t have in-laws who love me. We don’t spend holidays with them. We haven’t even talked to them in over five years. Life hurts. But when I close myself off to the pain, I am also closing myself off to the joy that relationships bring.

The second thing is that that period of time is when I really began to grasp some things about the incarnation. The past few years have been a time of disappointment and letdowns even more serious than those that spun me into those dark days of 1999. And over and over and over again, God has reminded me: “I was there, I understand. I was betrayed by one of my closest friends. Even my closest friends didn’t understand me most of the time. Bring those disappointments to me, because I can help you with them. They are too much for you to carry on your own.”

Oh, God, it hurts so bad to love anybody down here
Oh, that’s right, you know so well
One thorny crown, three nails, and a spear
One thorny crown, three nails, and a spear.

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