Mom’s Day. Joy. Celebration. Ambivalence. A fine line, Ambivalence. I could drift into “my stuff”, my baggage, my blues. With age, my awareness of that fine line grows. Grappling continues, with ambivalence, even with my awareness. One explanation, for “ambivalence”, came through a lecture.
“Ambivalence is the existence of two mutually exclusive emotions, concepts, realities, truths.”
I worked in a residential program, guys struggling with their substance abuse addictions, many overwhelmed with ambivalence. Good example: a man who has been drinking whiskey and beer for the previous twenty years says this: “On one hand, I know I need to be here in this residential program, because I must quit drinking! On the other hand, I hate this place, and I want nothing more than to sit in my favorite bar over on Colfax and drink some beers.” Ambivalence: ‘something dichotomous happening. I appreciate dichotomy, for the most part. Proverbs has dichotomy going on. Example, from the 4th chapter, one amidst many (18-19):The ways of right-living people glow with light;
the longer they live, the brighter they shine.
But the road of wrongdoing gets darker and darker—
travelers can’t see a thing; they fall flat on their faces.
Proverbs has this rhythm-thing going on which comes across like this: Wisdom this, folly that. Righteous this, unrighteous that. Rhythm. There is rhythm in Proverbs. Back to ambivalence. Here it isSunday morning, at my desk, staring out the window at the white precipitation coming down hard, part of the 6-12 inches that Weatherman is calling for. My daughter with a sore throat, my wife under the weather, I know that our normal routine is a church we go to which connects with our souls. I am not legalistic and feel like I have to be at church. It’s about me and the fam wanting to be at church.
What’s my point? About Mom’s Day, joy, ambivalence? I am joyed, over the top, by my wise and elegant wife. I cooked breakfast for my bride, and brought it to her in bed. Ambivalence is sprinkled here and there as if sprinkled out of a spice-bottle. I have been a long-term depressive, continually contemptuous of my lack of excellence and achievement in this arcane world. This all connects with the reality that I sometimes look into my wife’s eyes and am sad. I am sad because I want to be a better man than I am. I wanted to give her the best things in life. This saint of a woman smiles at me, loves me, explains that “those things” are not important to her. I am also immeasurably thankful that she calls me out to be a better man, and her callings are seasoned with grace.
And that is a glimpse of my ambivalence.