"That's a strike against me."
Well, it's true: he should have done something. We both knew it. He didn't do it.
He felt bad. I did, too.
But a strike against him? No way.
It's just life. It's just people.
People do things and they say things and later on they rethink them and realize they could have done better. But a strike? Relationships just aren't baseball games.
I actually like the game of baseball.
Maybe because it's something I understand.
I understand strikes are good for the game of baseball. They keep the game from lasting into the wee hours of the morning when everyone just wants to be home, fighting for space in the bed they share with their dogs. Strikes are a way of enabling a finish. They're a way of keeping the game from being the NeverEndingStory.
Strikes don't make sense to me in relationships.
"I know, three strikes I'm out..." he said to me.
And then I realized, somewhere along the way, he'd been pulled into a game.
Somewhere along the way someone drew a diamond on the ground and explained the rules of the relationship: You step up to bat, you get three chances to make it right. Swing if you dare, man. But remember: Three strikes and baby, you're out.
Three strikes, huh?
Well hell, yes. Of course.
Then you're out.
As if a relationship of any substance can be scratched into the dirt with a stick and defined by a set of maybe-you'll-get-it and maybe-you-won't rules. But know this, buddy: three strikes and you're out.
Well. Not in my world.
In my world relationships aren't games to be played and people are not players to be moved around on the field according to skill or luck or just the freakin' damn bad weather. In my world you can swing and hit, you can swing and miss. You get gratitude and hugs and a big smile when it's awesome. You get consideration, care, forgiveness and....(eventually, sometimes a little longer eventually than others)...another big smile....when it's not. More hugs, too.
That's how people in good relationships handle stuff.
Not like a baseball game.
Not with a scoreboard.
Not with a batter worried he's gonna strike out.
In my world there is no outlined mechanism for enabling a finish; no threat of tripping and bringing a wrap to the end of what should be a NeverEndingStory.
There is no plate. There is no field.
It's just life. Together.
When things are good we say stuff like: This is awesome. You make me feel so cared-for. I love when you do that. And "I love you." When things aren't so good we say stuff like: That hurt. That disappointed me. I think you made a mistake. Help me understand and get past it. And by the way, "I love you".
I hasten to mention, I was married for a long, long time. I'm divorced now. I know the stuff over which relationships struggle. I know what it feels like for something to unravel in such a way it can't be woven together again.
But it's not a game.
It's not about strikes.
Nobody is ever out for one too many bad swings on my playground.