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Chasing the Dragon: God, Sex and Saying Grace
You can never “unsay”, “unsee” or “unknow” something. Who knows whether that is good or bad. I’d argue it’s a good thing.
I was walking Rufus this morning, and I got to thinking about how often I have said something out of anger and later came to regret it. I may not have meant it, but I meant it when I said it. And the thing is, you can never “unsay” it. You can apologize, plead for forgiveness, give flowers or send a singing telegram, but you can never “unsay” it.
Years ago, there was that video of the basketball player who broke his ankle, and it was left dangling. It went viral, and everyone kept telling me, “I had to see it”, to which I responded, “No, I don’t. I don’t need that image burned into my brain for the rest of my life.”
To date, I’ve not seen that video.
And just like you can’t “unsay” or “unsee” something, you can never “unknow” something. Good, bad, or indifferent, once you know something, you know it. You can try to forget, and sometimes you will, but invariably you’ll always remember it.
I recently found something out about someone. That person was related by marriage, so “it ain’t kin”. And what I know is not anything illegal or criminal. Salacious, yes, but illegal . . . not in the western world.
The thing of it is that it speaks volumes about not only their value system but also the hypocrisy of their existence. About six or seven years ago, this person admitted something but only under great duress and after the threat of it being revealed. And after the admission, they turned to the Church for absolution while everyone else was left to soak in the detritus.
I guess God forgives when others can’t?
Post the canonical absolution; I recall a visit with the whole family. As dinner was served, I dug in. Only to realize the others at the table had folded their hands, preparing to say grace. Saying grace in my family had gone out of fashion with bell bottoms and Watergate. Nonetheless, rather than scoff, I played along with this silly charade.
It’s not that we didn’t feel thankful for what we had. We did. And I don’t mean to belittle those that do say grace or those who have faith. That’s terrific. We just weren’t that type of family, and something about this act rang phony, like the person.
Given my recent knowledge, perhaps phony is too kind. More apropos words include, but are not limited to, selfish, narcissistic, conceited, arrogant, egotistical, self-involved, et al.
To be clear, I’m not knocking anyone with religious beliefs. For many people, regardless of belief system, they help lay a foundation of values that are, on the whole, very good.
Christianity, for me, instilled some fundamental values that I carry with me today. Even though I am not a practicing Christian, I identify more with that than any other religion. Mostly out of familiarity and lack of exposure to other religions. Nonetheless, unless I’m mistaken, one of the principal tenets of most religions is honesty.
One of the saddest impacts of the recent political era and the 24-hour news cycle is that we have become more familiar with, and immune to, the duplicitous nature of politicians, corporations, etc. In other words, lying has become normalized to some degree.
If you behave like a lying, narcissistic miscreant for six days, as this person did, and then absolve yourself and shapeshift yourself into a regular Sunday church-going type . . . well, you might be bordering on some pathological behavior disorder.
But, you could also be an asshole.
Today, almost more than any other time in our history, you have to stand for something, and you have to know what you stand for. In other words, you’ve got to have principles. They may ebb and flow and change over time, that’s to be expected.
Take, for example, the sanctity of marriage. One of the most fundamental agreements of any marriage is that you’ll remain faithful. That you’ll only be intimate, as you define it, with that one person, for the rest of your life.
Look, for me, that seems ridiculous because even though we’re human, we are still animals. And animals aren’t designed that way. I know myself enough to know that I had too much respect for that type of commitment. It wasn’t for me so, and I NEVER GOT MARRIED!
Not because I couldn’t and, at various times, didn’t want to. For whatever reason, the idea of being with just one person, emotionally and physically, for the rest of my life was too large for me to grasp. So, to date, I have not married. I want to, and, one day, I will.
Nonetheless, over two million marriages take place each year in the United States. Of those two million, over one million will end in divorce (just over 50%), and should those that divorce choose to re-marry, the second marriage failure rate is about 60%, and if they want to try one more time, the third marriage failure rate is about 70%.
Marriage has pretty grim odds for success.
There are a host of reasons marriages fail, but infidelity is a top contender. So you get married, and over time he or she becomes withdrawn, moody, works too much, or things become boring in the boudoir or whatever. The point is that it changes.
Having never married, but had several long relationships, that’s normal. All that initial excitement does go away, and if you’re lucky, it’s replaced by things more meaningful and substantial.
But maybe you’re shallow and only define yourself sexually and need to be objectified. That is how you find your identity and self-fulfillment. I would argue that’s sad, and I’d suspect there is something else going on, but I’m not a mental health professional.
Now I can wrap my head around an indiscretion. However, I would encourage it to be kept private. Telling your partner takes a selfish act and makes it infinitely more selfish. It doesn’t absolve you and dumps all of that onto your partner. Sure, you feel better by being “honest” but look across the table at your partner. Do they look like they feel any better?
And if you’re cheating to get out of the marriage, you’re just a coward.
If by some chance, you consider yourself among those that feel an “open marriage” is what you need to save the marriage, you may be a borderline narcissistic sociopath. For whatever reason, there seems to be a resurgence of this philosophy, and I can’t wrap my head around it.
Sure, we’ve all seen the movies, adult and otherwise, where an “open marriage” is portrayed as benign. The reality is that there is nothing innocent or healthy about an “open marriage”. The behavior is a petri dish of jealousy, emotional dysfunction, and disease.
My guess is an exploration into this “open marriage” stuff stems from one partner’s emotional deficiency, selfishness, or insecurity. I would like to hear from the couple that married under the pretense that they were entering into an “open marriage”. If both partners still want to “swing” why bother getting married? I suppose they’ll need health benefits for all the diseases.
In and of themselves, fantasies are good. They’re healthy, they’re familiar, and if you’re lucky, you can share them with your partner. You’re going to need them. But the fantasies are always far better than the realities. If you feel the need to explore that sexual fantasy life in your real life, far be it from me to judge. But don’t drag innocent people down with you.
I am old enough now where the idea of marriage doesn’t intimidate me as much as it did when I was younger. I understand now that marriage is about so much more than fidelity and procreation. It’s about happiness.
You owe it to yourself to be happy. But you’re responsible for you’re own happiness, not your spouse, not God, and not your “swinging group”. I would suspect the goal should be to try and find that happiness and share it with someone who wants to share it with you. Some people only find joy in moments while others feel it all the time. Both are important.
Part of my happiness is having principles and staying loyal to them. I do not doubt that it has cost me friends, promotions, and jobs, but that’s who I am. At the end of each day, I have to put my head on my pillow and answer for my day.
The God I choose to believe in doesn’t need me to say grace or go to Church every week or tithe. The God I choose to believe in only asks that I live my life the best way I know. And for me, that means living by my principles, which include, but are not limited to, understanding the concept of commitment, the perils of deceit, and recognizing, however painful, when someone has a tectonic shift from what was once a shared belief.
But if one thinks they can find happiness exploring some Caligula like lifestyle, okay. However, I would argue they’re going to end up just as vapid as they always were. No matter how many holes you have, you’ll never be fulfilled.
I don’t think God or sex can help you find personal fulfillment. But, again, that’s just my belief, I’ve no doubt there are others.
I can’t “unknow” what I know about this person. Though, I am thankful for the knowledge because it paints a much more thorough portrait of who they are and what their real values are.
And where they do exist, they are in direct opposition to mine.
Forgiveness? That’s not mine to give.
For me, happiness, fulfillment, and peace can only come from within, and until one recognizes that, they’ll always be chasing the dragon. Sometimes the dragon is drugs, sometimes it’s booze, and sometimes it’s sex, but you’re forever chasing it.