Trouble in Paradise

Gosh, Al Jarreau, where have you been all these years? I’m thinking 1980s now, you know, this song:

The lyrics toward the end, in case you don’t know them, go like this:

May you always have somebody to depend on
And may your days be celebrations
And may there always be an angel on your shoulder
To help the awkward situations
And if you love each other
You’ll never need another love
When the whole wide world has finally got you down,
She’ll still be around
When it looks like trouble in paradise
When you’re burnin’ love that’s cold as ice
Go out and find a flame
So you can warm it up again

Go, Al, go! Actually, I kind of know where he’s been all these years. A college buddy of mine played in his band not all that long ago. But I still have a special fondness for his music after all this time.

Where am I going with all this? Well, first, let me explain the seemingly incongruous picture that goes along with this post. Yes, it’s a tomato, one from our garden a couple of years ago. In Austrian German, a tomato is known as “Paradeiser,” coming from “Paradeisapfel,” or “apple of paradise.”

With that out of the way, I’ll get to my story. My wife called me this morning to arrange the doggie drop-off situation. I left the house early to hit our favorite bakery to get a couple of pastries, as I was pretty sure she would not have had any breakfast yet. (She is not a morning person; the adulterer is — don’t ask me how I know this, but I do — and therein lies a key incompatibility.) I managed to get home in time to make some coffee, and figured I’d bring my wife a homemade latte, which I loaded into a thermal cup. I left about 10 minutes before her expected call time, and just as I was in range of the acquaintance’s house, she called. I told her I’d be there in less than 5 minutes.

I pulled up and got out of the car. She was waiting for me, and opened the door as I arrived. I gave her a hug and a kiss. No, I don’t ask for permission. She is my wife, and somehow she assents to this at this stage. The dog seemed tired and very gentle. I think this crisis has been hard on her, too. She clearly does not seem to like being at the adulterer’s place and that’s not surprising: this is her home, and she really just wants to be here. In fact, whenever she comes back from these extended stays at Camp What’s-It-There, she sleeps really hard, and for a long time, as though she is relieved to be done with a stressful situation. I loaded the dog into the car, and off we went, headed downtown to drop my wife off at the bus stop.

My wife’s energy was very interesting: it was very open and warm. It was certainly not the typical obstinate spouse energy, which might be cold and full of rejection. My sister suffered a serious loss this last week, as a friend of hers passed away, and my wife knows about this. She asked about my sister, as I’d asked her to pray for my sister if she felt so inspired (she did) and I told her that it would have to wait until we were parked, as it was a pretty emotional situation. In the meantime, the conversation was very positive.

Once we were parked, things got more serious and emotional. It’s not easy losing a friend from your life. In this case, this was my sister’s friend, but this friend was very much a fixture of her life back in our high school and college days. It was very upsetting to me to see how sorrowful my sister was; she’s had a lot of loss this year, as her husband’s mother and grandmother both passed away in the past 8 months. And now this.

So, we chatted a bit longer, and then she needed to catch her bus. I gave her a small brown bag with mail that had come for her in the past week. There wasn’t much, just one letter. I put a little postcard in there as well that thanked her for offering prayers on behalf of my sister. This seems to have touched her. Right after I had gotten home, she texted me to thank me for the ride, and to say that she understood both my and my sister’s pain, and would continue to pray for my sister. I thanked her for that sentiment, and that was that.

It’s weird, you know? I have a wife who is shacking up with an adulterous partner, and so many of the outward signs would seem to contradict this, but I just have a very strong sense right now that she is really close to wrapping up that adulterous situation. I don’t think she sees it, and it quite possibly will happen in a rather spectacular fashion, but happen it will. I just have far too strong a connection with her for her to just walk away from our marriage stone cold. Part of her probably realizes that.

A lot has been said by various experts about the importance of visualization in realizing your goals, and I do think that this is a very useful exercise. Certainly visualization is part of my spiritual path. But sometimes it’s hard to visualize the goal and instead we might do better by using another sense faculty, like hearing. So I’m going to ask Al Jarreau to help us out one last time. Hope you enjoy it — and those Miami Vice-inspired pastels…

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