Marriage, friendship, citizenship — the ‘Times’ of my life
I woke up this morning to a television news report of another violent attack at a school. There were no guns involved, but it was violent, just the same. From what I gather, some jerk stabbed 20 students at a high school near Pittsburg, Pennsylvania. It was reported that a male student walked the campus while randomly stabbing his fellow students.
Now we’re thinking, “How could we have prevented this?” The only answer I can come up with is, “I don’t know.” I don’t think anyone knows the answer and that’s what is so scary about attacks like this. Some will be quick to blame law enforcement, but I can’t agree with that at all. It is apparent to me that the problems and the solutions lay solely in the home.
I am not a psychiatrist and I’m not the smartest person in the world (maybe in the top 10 percent) but I feel strongly confident that I would notice if my children were having problems large enough to turn them to violence. I would know if they were gathering weapons or carrying them on their person. I would notice subtle changes in their attitude toward others through their language and actions.
It is absolutely necessary that we pay vigilant attention to the behavior of not only our children, but to every person we interact with on a daily basis. Like I said before, I’m not the smartest person in the world, but I can spot a person who is having problems that are too large for them to handle. A man who is full of hate and anger will express hate and anger. He will reek of it. It is no different with children.
In my little town of Winters, California we are blessed with our city government and police department. It’s true that you can look and never find public officials and police officers as fine as the ones we have in this little hamlet. I’m not saying this to “kiss up,” and I have had some problems with our law enforcement in the past, but I can honestly say that I had it coming and it was my fault, not theirs. It’s a natural fact that if you break the law in this town, sooner or later, you will have to deal with the Winters PD.
Anyway, today is my 25th wedding anniversary and I’m not going to let this sort of news ruin this day for me. I’m still having problems considering the scope of this day in my life. I’m the type of guy who never does anything 25 times in a row because I get bored after about 10. I would always say, “Oh, I’ll finish the other 15 later.” It just amazes me that I’ve been married that long to the same person. It seems like 100 years. (Joke, dear.)
I have to say that my wife and I have been together for much longer than 25 years — it’s more like 35. Of course, our relationship was Biblical in nature before we were actually married. (If you think this may be a deceitful statement, I can only say that this is between God and me, and hopefully I will think of something before we meet.) Anyway, I figure that if I can keep my wife happy for that length of time, I shouldn’t have any problems making God smile.
I’m confident when I say things like that because both my wife and God know what a screw-up I am and they still love me. How great is that! I’m quick to judge myself and my actions, and believe me, I know when I’ve done something wrong. I’m the first to come down on myself and I come down harder on myself then I would on others for doing the same thing — much harder.
Today is a day for self-reflection on my part. I will take a good look at myself and think about what I’ve done to deserve such a fine life. So far, what I see looks pretty good. I’m not perfect, but I’m striving to be a better husband, friend and citizen. I think that most of the problems I have are because of conflicts created within this effort. Sometimes being a good friend and citizen might infringe upon the effort to be a better husband.
I hear about this from my wife at times for she wants her “Husband Time.” This is a constant concern for me and I try not to go into this gray area between the three. This “Husband Time” is important to me as well, but so are “Friend Time” and “Citizen Time.” “Husband Time” is a constant and it never ends. That’s the way it should be and that’s the way I’ll keep it. The problem is that “Friend Time” and “Citizen Time” is also constant and never ends.
My wife doesn’t like it when these conflicts arise, but she really understands why it happens. That doesn’t mean she likes it and for many spouses, it’s the straw that breaks the camel’s back as far as marriage is concerned. For me, it’s a delicate balance and I take one step at a time. I try to do what needs to be done for each “Time” but when called upon, some things might have to be done that will infringe of other “Times.”
If you would like an example of a major infringement conflict on “Times,” think about the fact that if I had been married in December 1968, my “Citizen Time” would have infringed upon my “Husband Time” by two years, one month and seven days when I was serving overseas during the Vietnam War. Even after all those years, my wife would have to put up with my stays at the David Grant suicide ward and continued therapy that have to be considered “Citizen Time.”
Anyway, I want to say that when I’m on “Friend Time” and Citizen Time,” I’m always on “Husband Time” as well, because my wife is my best friend and I am a citizen of our marriage. That’s it, the end.