Impossible choices

May 14, 2012

I’ve been feeling frustrated by my sense of how we are manipulated by others into framing things that happen in our lives or in others people’s lives into narrative arcs with certain heroes, certain assumptions.  I think this results in our not coming to grips with loss.

There’s a story of a girl whose boyfriend promised to marry her, maybe even suggested that they already were married in the eyes of God.  She is abducted, abused, disappeared for many years, but buoyed through her years of torment by the promise of her boyfriend.  He lost hope, however, and married somebody else.  The girl from his youth reappears, and now what?

What to do?  What’s the lesson?  These are two different issues.

I think the girl finds the spiritual note of wishing her former espoused well and being glad to have had the promise of their marriage to get her through a terrible time.  I think she may even move on to find someone who can devote himself to her whole-heartedly.  Or she marries God.

I think the guy finds himself with an impossible choice of whom to hurt, and here’s King Solomon and the baby recast in a romantic scenario.  I think the resolution for the guy is to find in his heart the wish for her for someone to take his place who is not otherwise committed.

This is an old story, but it never got resolved, because the girl kept committing suicide every time it was re-enacted.  She was too damaged to do anything more than to fall into waiting, loving arms. She couldn’t sound her note of altruistic love, so he couldn’t echo it back.

So the story got rewritten, separating the abusive relationship she ended up in from marriage, and she had a healthy marriage.  Both those relationships end, she’s ready for her old beau, he’s otherwise engaged, and now she has the wherewithal to wish him well.  This allows him to focus on himself and not his feelings of guilt over a suicide.  Of course, it also changes a sense of how wronged she has been (although according to her perspective, she did what she did for reasons beyond her own choosing).

But we finally get to an ethical and loving resolution.  It does require some letting go, though.  That part was only accomplished by having the girl mirror back to the guy his own worldview until she drove him away.  She didn’t want to, but mirroring occurs at a level beyond the reach of wants, and so the universe ultimately ended this story despite the participants’ incapacity to do more than pass the hurt, and their maladaptive responses to it, back and forth.



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