To the King of the Exclamation Point,
My friend Michelle asked me what my Myers Briggs personality type was last week. I told her and then out of curiosity read a description (it had been a long time ago at work that I learned I am a Dreamer/Idealist. Who knew?). I couldn’t stop reading it aloud to you and being appalled by the fact that I am a raging cliché (which INFPs hate…read about that in paragraph 3). We did your typing next and then held the pair up side by side and marvelled at a marriage that has stood nearly 15 years…we could not be more different. You the king of the exclamation point, me…the queen of the ellipsis.
You’ve noticed that haven’t you? The way I have no capacity to finish a thought, how it keeps spinning and spinning around my head. We will have a conversation and then an hour later I will pipe up with no lead in about what I was trying to say. You have no idea what I am talking about…that conversation for you ended an hour ago with an exclamation point. It is midpoint of our ministry summer, and summer is the time of year when we forget how to communicate. We actually have to repeat things several times for the other to understand. You say we get out of rhythm. That is the truth, for it takes a fine balance to match your exclamation points with all of my ellipses…
You are a preacher. I am a storyteller. Preachers say it is finished. Story tellers keep tracking the back story…but then what happens? You can see it in your sermons, your emails, your invitations to people. You can see it in my text messages, my tweets (even when I am desperate to save characters)…I even tried to slip an ellipsis into an academic piece once. Turns out ellipsis are not part of APA format (learn to use a comma for Petes sake Melissa).
It says a lot about how we process the world. The black and white you see. The gray I get lost in.
I’ve been having those dreams again this summer. You know the ones? Cold sweats, full run, beating heart. My anxiety has raised its ugly head for the first time in a few years, and though I can manage the beast just fine during the day when the night falls it is a different story. You will find me searching the house for someone or something. It crossed my mind as I watched you swim with the littles today that maybe it is you I am always looking for, worried about. Or maybe it runs away further when I don’t see you here, always so calm, so dependable, so reliable.
We both know the truth of this thing don’t we? How you are the stabilizing force. How I am desperate for you to put an end to certain thoughts. To finish an idea. To start a new conversation. To have hope in our outcome when, if left to my own devices I would never, ever stop with the “WHAT IFS?”. We both know the truth of it…me without you? I would be under the train for sure…caught in the wreckage of too many thoughts. You are the one that tends to keep me on the tracks, pointing due North.
The first Valentines Day we spent together, I was sixteen and you picked me up in your Ford Escort, the hatch was filled with red roses and blankets and supplies to start a fire by the river. You were just getting started with your setting things on fire, punctuating most moments of our lives with the exclamation points, exuberance, excitement, finality, trust.
I never told you this before. Three weeks before our wedding, one of my dramatic friends asked me how, someone like me, occasionally lost in my own mind with too many thoughts, and too much internal drama, how could I marry someone with a heart so light, one who carried the world in a completely different sort of basket? Could I deal with that much joy or would it drive me over some metaphoric cliff?
The truth of the matter is that she made my already cool feet turn to ice.
But she didn’t get it and I was just starting to see it. The way we were melding to bring out the best in each other. How being with you made me want to be better, stronger, faithful, honest. How your choosing me gave you some shades, freed you to pursue your call like other relationships might not. How I needed someone to make me laugh like that. How I just plain like to be with you.
It makes me laugh sometimes, all the people we know getting divorced. They say it is because they are too different. We’ve taught each other there is no such thing.
Anyways…We will fall back into rhythm soon. The fine balance of passion and stability that we teeter on.
Till then know that we are missing you something fierce this summer. We are lonely and the balance of this whole place is off… there is just something important missing.
With all my love,
The Queen of the Ellipsis