Flannery Correspondence

May 1, 2010

Men Are from Mars: Isolation

Filed under: POPS! — BrianOFlan @ 17:36

January 8, 2010

by Brian Flannery

Engineers are weird. Once I walked among them. I am ever grateful to one who warned me, in engineer language, that having a child “was a step function.”

He meant that life’s complexity and difficulty did not slowly, gently increase by 1 or 2. It did not multiply by 2 or 3. No straight line ramp up. It just jumped from 4 or 5 (depending on your marriage) to 107 without transition. The next child takes you up a sheer cliff to 1000+. The third and further children affect the scale less and less. (Their names blur, your hair grays and the years go quickly.)

My cousin, more human, said that everything he thought he and his wife had learned about communication was completely useless as soon as a child appeared. If you wait a few years between wedding chapel and delivery room, you may notice the change more. My wife and I jumped from confusing married communication into confused parent conversation so quickly it all formed one high-volume static screech.

It is easy to feel trapped, alone in a crowded house. When you and your wife disagree on something intense like discipline or your work schedule, then you’re alone. After a terrible morning of screaming, kids and poop, you barely make it out alive. Then you come home and she says, “I’ve been thinking I’m ready to have another baby.” So you unilaterally make a vasectomy appointment.

Sitting there in the sterile waiting room, surrounded by men who are exactly the same as you, still you are alone. That’s how men are. We like long drives and quiet, empty rooms and speechless, faithful dogs or a day spent with no one but the TV. We pull our hats down and squint at the bitter breeze that scrapes across our rugged bristles.

When the moment of betrayal hits; when you look at your spouse — you thought you were in this together — and realize that you are, in fact, completely alone; when your life boat’s one man crew shudders at the stormy waves and contemplates the big, empty flatness beyond; when the night is dark and the late stillness plays tricks on your mind and you are at last afraid to be alone, remember: You are never alone.

This is not a Barlow Girls song. This is war. People in Hell are alone. You are not alone. When you’re in the trenches with tunnel vision, don’t forget you have one key soldier beside you. You are nearer than you think to having your spouse as an ally. Give up the two front war: “Me vs. the Kids” and “Me vs. the Mrs.” Instead, join forces! Teach those kids a lesson.

There are POPS! fighting beside you in the same battle, for the same cause. What if spiritual armies fight on your side? What if a resurrected Christ roots for you and a Spirit is rebuilding you from the inside out? You can stand and fight in good company or you can flee.

For camaraderie in action, join your band of brothers. Fellow POPS! will meet Saturday, January 23rd, 11AM at Old Chicago, Iliff and Buckley. Half hour of unhealthy food and manly, kid-free conversation.

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