I was talking to a friend about the Victim Circle, about how we allow ourselves to be ruled by victim mentality. The basic principle is that we become slaves to our circumstances; we become defined by what happens to us. The opposite is the ability to influence our situations. Circumstance either cripples us or empowers us. There really is no middle road.
Most of the time, I think about the Victim Circle in terms of negative situations. It is the painful circumstances that grip me the most.
But, maybe that isn’t true. Maybe enslavement to ‘positive’ situations is just as dangerous. Can I be enthralled with a good situation without setting a precedent in which the inevitable bad situation ruins me?
A few weeks ago, my wife and I were looking at the calendar and discussing our Third Wedding Anniversary, which was quickly approaching. We decided we would take a quick trip out of the city to celebrate. Things in New York are fast and we are involved in a lot of different things. We wanted to get away for a few days, just us. But we didn’t want to go to another big city. We wanted something quiet and peaceful.
After a lazy search, we decided to go to Newport, Rhode Island, a favorite Gilded Age getaway for families like The Vanderbilts in the roaring Twenties. We didn’t really know much about Newport. It came up in a Google search of “best quiet getaways from NYC” and the idea of going to tiny Rhode Island felt about as peaceful as it can get.
Last week was our anniversary and we packed up for a couple of days on the coast. What we hadn’t foreseen was this gnarly hurricane season. Jose was a few miles off the coast of RI, but its outskirts were hovering over Newport.
As Kylie and I toured the incredible mansions and the stunning CliffWalk, the beautiful seaside town was slightly disrupted by the distant orbit of Hurricane Jose. Always up for an adventure, we had decided not to cancel our trip but to stick it out and hope the weather didn’t ruin Newport for us.
In a strange way, it made it a little more fun.
One of us, I’m not sure which, made the comment: “This is a perfect metaphor for marriage. Paradise in a hurricane.”
This is the great thing about love, that it is not always so great. But even in its mess, even in the storms, it is beautiful. The wind and the rain could not ruin Newport. Not only so, they made it strangely better. The small turmoil added to the charm.
In life, the small turmoil adds to the intimacy of life. Life is not better in spite of it; it is better because of it. Overcoming obstacles is as important to purpose as achieving dreams. To be in the dark and to be in the light are quite close to the same thing. The only difference is how much we can see.
We had a great time celebrating our marriage. Celebrating the storms and the mansions. The sound of the ocean and the drumming of rain. The magical whistle of the wind even as it threatens to blow us off course.
Love is a paradise. Not of sunshine or rain, but of sunshine AND rain. Because love IS a paradise, no matter where it lives and what it lives in.