I had a breakthrough lately.

Excuse me for being a bit confessional.

My marriage goes through cycles.  Over the course of years we have had really good times and pretty sour ones.  We reach a joyful place and then seem to revert a few years later to the bad habits we had before, and have to climb our way back out.  There are also smaller cycles, where specific issues that one of us thought resolved come back up the same aw always.

I’m no marvel of patience.  The feeling that we’re back where we started is like a punch to the gut; I hate it. But out of nowhere, the thought came to my mind that I was seeing it wrong.  The cycles, these circles, were probably not a monotonous round.  They were layers like on a pearl.  Each time we reached a better place we had overcome a certain level of challenge and had found a new principle or a deeper understanding of an old principle on which to build higher our marriage.  But eventually we exhaust the possibilities  and we struggle until we reach yet newer or deeper.

I had been thinking we were taking one step forward and one step back.  But all the steps have been forward.  It’s just that at the natural end of each step, you collide with dirt.

This understanding also applies to sin.  Some of us have recurring sins that we struggle with.  Addictions, deep character flaws, and so on.  It feels real bad to repent and then fall back into your old ways.  You feel like giving up.  Don’t.  You didn’t fail, you succeeded, just not all the way.  Now you have a chance to add something else to your prior success.  Eventually you can even return to that old technique or mindset that you tried before without complete success; it will now work, because now you have laid sufficient layers of foundation.

My insight gave me pity for the tragedy and comedy of the world.  We are all struggling at different levels, all with our precious little stock of different hardwon truths.  And thus great men collide because they don’t quite understand each other, or at a much lower level, thus we shout at each other on the internet.


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