Monday, March 4, 2013

300 lb bag of flour

In discussing situationist virtue today in Ethics a study was mentioned involving phone booths, spare change, panhandlers, dumpsters and bakeries. People who checked the change return in a phone booth and found change were significantly more likely to drop those coins into the cup of a beggar if he were near a bakery rather than a dumpster. This study arguably supports the theory that virtuous behavior is not part of a fixed character, but rather based on situations that support ease and pleasure in being virtuous. Like bakeries...

This evening, B--, my seven-year-old, cuddled on my lap before bed and told me about his day. At some point in his first grade recess antics a number of older boys told him to stop whatever it was he was doing with his friends, which prompted and end to his ability to play with his playmates. With B-- frequently details are unclear, but emotion was not. 

"It broke my heart," he told me, and choked back tears.

We discussed hurt feelings. I had him imagine carrying around a large bag of flour that impeded the ease of his activities, play or work. The bag of flour, I explained was all of that hurt. It's okay to acknowledge that something "breaks our hearts"; I think denial serves only to exacerbate the weight of the situation. But once that pain has been verbalized, it no longer serves useful function. 

"We have to let the bag go," I told him. "Sometimes over and over again if we find that we're carrying the bag again."

We practiced a few times before he found himself completely cheered and the topic forgotten. He then reminded me that I had at one time promised him a new stuffed animal, and upon thinking it over he's decided he'd like a Halo 4 stuffed animal most—if I can find one. 

I think our discussion was the best explanation of forgiveness I could have given to a child with PDD-NOS, and maybe the best self-talk I could give a 38-year-old near divorcee whose husband obviously wants to give her the biggest bag of flour he can in parting.

I want out. It's the right thing to do. It was the right thing to do clear back in November when I went to the Temple and God told me with all that electrical force that I mustn't return. But still, I've been trying so hard to be kind about it. I don't think I deserve my husband's critical estimation of my attempts to make the best of this relationship, even though I've made mistakes. No one is more aware of my mistakes than I. No one has tried harder to overcome them. 

And so, my heart is broken. 

Does anyone know a baker? I have a large bag of flour that I want to let go.


*I called the Courthouse. The answer my husband gave to my request for the 90-day waiver will not be part of public record. I'm breathing easier.

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