A Man’s Journey

Once there was a man who made his home in a hidden and rare world of beauty. In this world, there existed everything necessary for peace and contentment. All the waters were cool and refreshing. The trees contained many varieties of tasty and nourishing fruits. The flowers perfumed the air with soothing scents. He had never seen or experienced anything else like it before. He had discovered this rarity in the midst of a dry and sandy desert. It was his resting place, his Oasis.

He happily remained in this precious home. Over the years, he wisely chose to nourish his extraordinary world. Whenever he noticed that the plants began to droop or wither, he refreshed them with the abundant waters. Whenever he perceived that stubborn weeds were attempting to overtake the healthy plants, he patiently removed them. In return, the Oasis protected him from the scorching heat of the surrounding desert. It gave him drink when he became thirsty and provided him food whenever he desired. The soft bank near the clear pool comforted him when he was weary of his labors. He knew that he could trust the Oasis to care for him, no matter how long his stay. He enjoyed spending time cultivating his world and promised himself and the Oasis that he would remain until the end of his days.

Over time, however, he began to feel a listlessness. He began to wonder if there were any other worlds such as his own…perhaps even better worlds. Even as he sat comfortably, next to the clear water amidst the shade-giving branches of his Oasis, his mind would wander.

One day, while again allowing his thoughts to drift off to this fantasy world, he noticed something in the distance, something new and intriguing. It appeared to be another Oasis! He couldn’t believe his eyes! Until now, he was used to seeing only the healthy and naturally occurring green shades of foliage that existed in his current home. However, this new Oasis boasted an unbelievably variegated and brightly colored plant-life. The trees of this far-off vision appeared to contain an amazingly tempting variety of fruits, some of which he had never seen or even dreamed could have existed before. Since he was unable to see any weeds or undesirable growths from this distance, he wondered if perhaps the soil in the new land was somehow better than what he was used to in his current home. Maybe it was a special type of earth that wouldn’t even allow weeds to grow! He imagined that the plants and trees were somehow hardier and would be able to produce those luscious fruits without all the care-taking that was currently required of him. Imagine…no more weeding or watering, and still being able to reap a ripe and plentiful harvest! As he continued to ponder these thoughts, he became ever more drawn to the new, and ever more disgusted by and impatient with what he already possessed. What a contrast this new Oasis appeared in relation to his current one! He never even once wondered if something as incredible as what he was imagining could even be real; instead, he felt that he simply had no choice but to travel to this seemingly superior Oasis in order to build a new home for himself. After a moment of indecision, he decided to abandon the home that he had worked so long to establish. And so it was that he began his journey.

As he turned his back on his familiar home, he hesitated briefly. Just then, off in the distance, the new Oasis seemed to beckon to him. A tantalizingly sweet and strangely invigorating fragrance wafted toward him from afar. It was a fragrance totally unlike the calming and soothing scents of his familiar home, and the difference intoxicated him. Without looking back, he staunchly took his first steps away from his well-known Oasis, toward the unknown.

At first, he was invigorated on his journey by the thoughts of this different world. He was able to ignore the sweltering temperatures, because he had high hopes of what he would be gaining by his entrance into this captivating new world. Whenever he became weary, he focused his thoughts on the lush glossiness of the leaves of the new Oasis. Whenever his lips began to parch from lack of water, he imagined how cool and refreshing the waters of his new home would taste. Whenever his stomach churned from lack of nutrients, he fixated his thoughts on those exotic fruits which the undiscovered Oasis had seemed to promise. However, no matter how far he traveled, the new Oasis remained elusive. No matter how hard he strove to reach his marvelous destination, the weary pursuer always found it to be out of reach. How could this be? While in the comfort of his previous home, the new Oasis hadn’t seemed incredibly far off. Now, just when it seemed he was getting closer to arriving, off it would retreat into the distance. He had taken provisions with him from his abandoned sanctuary, but they would soon run out.

The provisions… They served to remind him of everything he had left behind. Suddenly, he remembered. He thought of the home he had rejected. The home which had a stable environment on which he could rely without question…so unlike this fleeting, fantastic vision that forever tempts and never satisfies. At that moment, he realized the folly of his actions. How foolish he had been to cast off the one place that could provide him with everything he needed for true happiness! And for what? For an intangible fantasy, a world of illusion. He had built such imaginings from this vision! The vision had promised to provide only effortless ease and pleasure; but instead, it had required him to sacrifice everything that he had of worth in exchange for the unending wretchedness it knew it would inevitably deliver.

Then, he understood that all the peace, contentment, and stability were still there, waiting for him in the place he had discarded. He yearned for the comfort and security of his own Oasis and decided to return. As his focus shifted back toward his forsaken home, something odd began to happen to the vision he had been vainly pursuing. It was disappearing…the seemingly verdant and richly decorated Oasis which had tempted him away from his secure home was melting away into the desert. Nothing was left where the tantalizing, untouchable Oasis had once been; all was barrenness, only the dry and dusty sand remained.

But wait…there was something…something that turned his stomach. It was the source of the tempting fragrance, the one which had lured him from afar and had seemed so exciting and desirable when he first experienced it. A pungent fragrance wafted through the air, certainly; however, it had now totally lost its original allure and instead thoroughly repulsed the exhausted traveler…no longer invigorating, it had become a heavy and nauseously sweet odor. The weary searcher peered ever closer, making sure that his mind was not again being deceived. There it lay: the broken and rotting corpse of a man, decaying flesh hanging from skeletal remains. Lying there as a red flag, a strong and bitter warning for any future followers. Another weary searcher who had vainly pursued this illusion, now a victim of this mysterious mistress mirage.

The filthy, disenchanted wanderer turned his back on the mirage that puzzlingly reappeared in the distance. Instead, he reset his focus onto his original place of safety, fulfillment, and peace…toward the Oasis that had proven itself to be deep-rooted, long-standing, ever true.

For Everything You Have Done, I Thank You…or, A Letter to the “Other Woman”


For Everything You Have Done, I Thank You

Thank you for all you have shown him. 

Thank you for showing him such a blazing contrast to what I am and what I offer to him. 

He has seen everything that you are: nothing.  He has seen everything that you represent: emptiness. Because of you and the life you represent…a life filled with dark and meaningless emptiness, a life that can never truly fulfill…he has now come to appreciate a life which is full of wholesome light and purpose; a life that is full of meaning and that can truly satisfy; a life that I can offer to him, but that you never could. Because you have shown him these things, he has finally chosen to remove the blinders and filters from his eyes, chosen to live a better life, chosen to become a better person than he ever was before. Thank you for showing him the shallow side of life, and how easily it corrodes and erodes away. Thank you for helping him realize what is truly important in life, by showing him things that have no long-term significance in comparison.

Because he has been exposed to your instability…like the house built on sinking sand…he has a newfound appreciation for my own comforting stability…like the house built on solid rock. Thank you for helping him value my stability by showing him its opposite in yourself.

Because his eyes have witnessed the ugliness of raw conceit and self-centeredness, he can now acknowledge the true beauty of the selflessness of his wife.  The true beauty of a wife who highly values her family and has proven that she’d give of herself for its benefit. The true beauty of a wife who has no need to sing her own praises to others. The true beauty of a wife who does not feel the need to purposely draw attention to herself, because she is confident enough within herself and so has no need to pry constant attention and adulation from others in order to be happy. Thank you for showing him conceit, for he now knows that conceit does not equal self-confidence.  Thank you for showing him self-centeredness, for he now knows how desirable it is to have a wife who cares more for others than for her own self.

Because you have shown him your version of what life is…a worthless imitation of happiness filled with alcohol and filled with bars and filled with saline/silicone facades…because you have shown him this version of life, he is now able to look at me and see a wholesome genuineness; he is able to see an authentic beauty that is all-natural instead of a showy sham, a beauty unadulterated by synthetic veneers; he is able to see a contentedness from deep within me that comes from being true to myself.  These rare qualities that I possess…which he could never witness in you…these things that he now recognizes in me give him a peace and pleasure that lingers and satisfies.  These valuable qualities that I possess…which he could never witness in you…give him a satisfaction that runs fathoms deeper than what any alcohol-induced passion could ever come close to producing. Thank you for helping him appreciate the genuine, the real, the natural…everything that I am, and you are not.

Because he has wallowed with you in everything that pure love isn’t, he is now able to clearly see what pure love truly is.  Until he had lived amidst my opposite and experienced it in all its grisly and repulsive glory, how could he really understand and appreciate all the desirable traits I possess?  Sometimes, the best way to learn what something is, is to be able to experience what it isn’t.  Thank you for teaching him all about my opposite, so he is now fully able to recognize what love is by contrasting it to what love isn’t.

Thank you for all you have done for him, for me, for our marriage.  For although your every intention was to break up our family, instead you ultimately achieved the opposite.  His experience with you has given him the desire to repair our relationship with the highest quality cement…a mixture of pure love and commitment.  That mixture will strengthen our marriage-bond into a crumble-proof building with the strongest of foundations.

Thank you, because our relationship is now impervious to the storms of life.  We can now stand together, stronger as a single unit, against whatever darkness or troubles that dare to come our way.

Thank you.