Wednesday, September 03, 2008


Well, I guessed I asked for that. Responding to my last post, InDCDon wrote that:

TC says "I love you," in words. Do his actions, words, deeds ever match those words? I hardly think so. Empty words from an empty young man.

Well, I guess I should be grateful for the "young" in "empty young man." I've been called a lot of things in the last two years, but "young" has certainly not been one of them. There's a first time for everything, I guess. I can tell you I certainly feel every one of my fifty-six years, and none of them sit particularly easy.

All I meant to say is that we all need to hear the words said. It makes an incredible difference, both to the person who finds he has to say them, and to the person who hears the words spoken by the person he hopes has found he has to say them.

OK, once again I have failed to be explicit enough. But how does my anguished quote from two years ago elicit InDCDon's judgment? I could counter that the only people who have a right to ask that question are the people to whom I said those three words. I make no excuses for falling for Piggo way back in the beginning, or for having said those fatal words to the Far-Flung Voice a few months after that; the only person who could accuse me of faithlessness for that did so long ago, in the belief that either Piggo or the FFV was a threat to her. They may have embodied a threat, but they were the symptom, not the disease.

However overpowering my emotions may have been, I knew pretty well that any power surge of the moment, no matter how strong, was not the same as what I had been given in twenty-five years of steadfast devotion, and which I had tried to give in return. I knew, as Jimmy Carter knew, that I had "committed adultery in my heart." In Christ's eyes I was guilty--I knew that--I know that--but it seemed to me that no one else had the right to tell me that twenty-five years of fidelity even in just the letter, if not in the spirit, of the law, were not enough. My years of self-denial, and my continued physical fidelity, no longer counted. Isis had every right to make InDCDon's accusation, but even she stopped short of "ever." I can't say more without dragging her back into this blog--the last place she has ever wanted to be.

I can only say that I made a promise to "love, honor, and obey" and kept that promise until I no longer could, except outwardly. And it was, it always is, about the "inward" fidelity, isn't it? That was precisely the hook that becoming the fourth party in an "open" relationship set in my flesh. Here on the other side of the Looking-Glass, my first act was the one thing I had never done in twenty-five years. I'm not proud of it, but everyone else but me seemed to think it was all fine and dandy--until hearts began to yield to the gravitational pull of the other body parts... which in my case took about ten seconds. I look back on that moment in sincere disbelief at the complete asymmetry between what the Goat experienced in it and what I did. But I have said more than enough on that topic.

Anyone who has read more than a few posts in this self-flagellating manifesto of mine will know that I am as hard on myself as I am on other people. I don't think it goes overboard; I am only applying the same standard to myself as to others, on the one hand, and making every effort to be as forgiving to others as we all are to ourselves, on the other.

"Do not judge, and you will not be judged; do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven; give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap; for the measure you give will be the measure you get back." [Luke 6:37-38]

Yes, I have wronged people. Yes, I regret it. I am sure that both facts will follow me "all the days of my life." My actions have failed to match my words any number of times, and my conscience is as heavy as any man's can be, for having betrayed love not once, not twice, but at least three times. Those three women may accuse me as often and as bitterly as they like; I cannot and will not defend myself. But the love of two of them I betrayed over thirty years ago. and no one can point out my failure to have changed for the better after all these years more clearly than I have myself.

I spent twenty-five years trying to expiate that guilt [and I use the word in full consciousness of its many meanings], and if I failed at last, it was certainly not for lack of trying. It would have been so easy, throughout all those years on the road, to live out the side of myself I now embrace. But I took my promise very seriously.

I take my words seriously enough not to utter them until I believe I can in fact, for whatever period of time I am granted, live them out as well. Neither the Goat nor I will live to see if I can be faithful for twenty-five years again. We can only live in hope, which I do.

I can only hope for the grace to do what is right.
That is the nature of the beast that is me...

Hang in there, all.

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