Thursday, October 27, 2011

To Return

My mother always taught me not to air my dirty laundry out in public. 

I never was very good at remembering. 

Anyway, the laundry I want to air now isn't that dirty anyway. 

Also, I believe strongly in the importance of transparency, that being honest - publicly honest, if necessary - with our struggles, doubts and issues not only helps us heal, but helps others to begin the road to healing and wholeness. It helps them to see that they're not alone. It helps them to know that there is hope, and that healing is, in fact, possible. 

Anyways, in 2009, my wife and I took this great trip to Tokyo.

We had a wonderful time, spent too much money, ate too much food and had too much fun (if that's even possible). However, when I look back on that trip, there is all this cool, neon awesomeness...and then this one 3-4 hour block of suck. One of the things that really intensifies the suck is that it ruined what could possibly have otherwise been our favorite part of the trip. 

It was our 4th day in Japan. I'm a meticulous researcher and planner and we had planned our daily schedule ahead of time. The only thing we didn't plan were our meals. We decided to make food the one variable on the trip. It had worked in Alaska, so why wouldn't it work in Japan. 

The only other thing we didn't plan for was fighting. 

Mind you, I love my wife like wild fire. She is my best friend, my favorite person and the wife of my life. However, we can readily admit that we don't always get along perfectly. It's not something we're exactly proud of, and we are trying harder, day by day, with the help of God to be more considerate, less selfish and more patient. We're growing. 

Tokyo, day 4 however, was not a particularly growed up day for us, though. 

I don't remember what we were fighting about. It may, in fact have been the food. You see, that day we had planned to go tour the grounds of the imperial palace. We had hoped to see at least the botanical gardens and tour the perimeter of the ancient palace walls.  By the time we arrived at our destination on the subway, we discovered to our disgruntlingness, that the actual stop on the subway was about a mile and a half from the exit nearest the palace. So, we walked through the foreign underground tunnels, getting more and more frustrated with every 100 meters more we had to trek. For a while, we thought we'd stumbled into some kind of maze. "Surely we must be going in circles" we thought, after about 10  minutes.

By the time we finally emerged from the Gollum's cave, we realized that it was after two, and we were quite hungry. So, we tried to find a restaurant. Unfortunately, there really wasn't much in the area. The palace was in the middle of a financial / business district, or so it seemed. Someone is probably occupying it, right now... anyway, the only restaurant we could find was this faux-French bistro. It was priced higher than we wanted to pay, crowded and the service was confusing. Somewhere in the midst of all of this we started fighting... and the fight kept up the whole time we were at the palace. 

What could have been a leisurely stroll, hand in hand, meandering about the grounds turned into a stressful, frustrating afternoon. The beauty of the grounds and the perfection of the cool spring weather threw into stark contrast the foul darkness of our moods. 

Later that day we made up, of course. We had a great evening, together. Dusk found us at the top floor of a Shinjuku sky-scraper, embracing before a beautiful Japanese sunset. It was a wonderful ending to a woeful day. 

Still, though, I wish we could go back. Not just go back to Japan, but to return to that moment, to realize what went wrong, to fix the fight (or prevent it), to be able to enjoy that day together, realizing the pettiness of the argument, the glory of the day, the rarity of the experience the joy of being together...

...and that you can't ever go back. 


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