Friday, June 1, 2012

Three Points of No Return

"Past the point of no return
the final threshold -
the bridge is crossed, so stand
and watch it burn."

So now that the background music in your head has become "The Point of No Return" from Phantom of the Opera, our conversation today might resonate with you.  The point of no return is something that is common in our society, though we hardly speak of it as such.  Many of the choices we make in our lives can find meaning in the burning Opera House as we hatch our best plans to achieve worthy ends.  Perhaps the problem in such places is that we don't really think of changing our lives forever with certain choices, or that the effects of our choices change other peoples lives forever.  Today I'll only address three, but keep in mind there are far more than these.

The first point of no return we deal with in life is that of birth.  Nobody gets to go back in the womb after they have come out (unless they take the entire womb).  As my wife and I have been married five years this question is thrown at me every so often, "When is Jayrod Junior coming?"  I could answer with the fact that in all my wife's dreams we only have daughters, or talk about our psychological issues we are facing now so we don't screw up our kids later, but the main reason is simply this: We are not prepared to have kids yet.  It is because we know this is a point of no return.  When you have a child they have passed their first point of no return, but as a parent you should be used to this, and you owe it to them to give them the best life you are capable of giving them.

I know a lot of people who are really unhappy in their marriages because they made the choice to have children too soon.  Either they listened to a religious leader who said "It is selfish to not have children immediately after marriage," just weren't responsible with their birth control, or they were so baby hungry that they just couldn't wait.  My wife made a boundary early in our marriage that I have honored stating that until I took care of my issues we would not have any.  Funny thing is that boundary eventually became about our issues.  You can tell us how wrong that is or that we are "sinning," but the bottom line is: We don't care what you think.  We care what our children will think, and we know they will thank us for putting their welfare first.  The poor choices of our parents affected us, likewise as did their wise choices.  We want more wise choices to affect our children.

Another point of no return in life is marriage itself.  Obviously we have stopped regarding it as such, or else there wouldn't be such a high rate of divorce in the world today.  Some folks think of marriage like purchasing a house.  You get a starter spouse this year, to divorce them and later have your second who you hope to keep a lot longer.  But by marrying them you tie yourself to them both socially and emotionally.  It isn't as easy to disengage as just saying "I'm leaving."  You might see this on the outside, but there is emotional trauma underneath the surface, because it was a point of NO return.  Women leave those relationships believing men are all scum, or that something was wrong with them.  Men leave those relationships believing women are conniving whores and think they can treat them as less than human.  Mind you I'm not saying that is what everyone thinks, but trauma of that nature does occur.

I know because when I came home from Iraq the first time, my wife told me she wanted a divorce.  The wounds those words left were deep.  I scrambled to save my new marriage, and found myself failing for nearly three years and each time I heard those words "I want a divorce" I was even more traumatized.  If we had divorced, I would not have walked out of that marriage the same man who went into it.  Because just like marriage, divorce is also a point of no return.   Or perhaps we should refer to these points a little differently.  They are changing points in life.  They are like earthquakes, so life changing that the past looks entirely different to us afterwards.  And we wonder how we survived before that experience.

The last point of no return and perhaps the final is death.  After one dies, there really is no returning.  Not to life as you knew it.  Whether you believe in life after death, or just getting put in the ground, Death changes everything.  It is the final quake that reshapes the worlds of the people around you.  Most of us don't think about death, we just figure that we'll go on living until we die.  We don't prepare for it.  And saddest of all, we often don't live like we are going to die.  I'll repeat that.  


We don't live like we are going to die.  


You might ask me what I mean by that.  The answer is fairly simple.  Over the course of this blog we have spoken about birth and marriage.  These are subjects that have to do with the idea of legacy.  Legacy is what we leave behind after we have passed on.  Legacy doesn't have to do with our will and giving all our possessions away.  It has to do with making the world a better place.  Through our influence, through our children, and through our actions.  To never look at the choices we make in life lightly, and thoughtfully consider what it could mean years from now.  Perhaps that calls for us to live like chess players being able to anticipate what may happen in life five years from today, but how much better would the world be if people took having children more seriously, or getting married more seriously, or took their lives more seriously?  Perhaps I'm just old fashioned in the fact that I want my life to mean something one hundred years from now, and I the choices I make today will shape that reality.  Or maybe, just maybe that is one of the ideals we should strive to achieve.

Thanks for reading my rant.  Hopefully you got something out of it.  Whether to make your life better or to make your fiction more realistic.  I'm Jayrod Garrett, the First OG, and I hope that you navigate the points of no return successfully.  Peace, peoples!



What are some of the points of no return, you've successfully navigated?






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