04 December, 2006

Reaction to Prompt: Page 345 #2

Visitors to my web presence at http://www.myspace.com/marks_expository_writing are used to seeing pictures of the family. And the text prompt is asking us to consider how often the pictures we have are "consistent with. . .actual, lived reality." This question poses two very different reactions from me: on one hand, of course the pictures I have--and that most of us have--are note representations of the "acutal, lived reality." Yet, the more I think about the nature of the question, I have to say that, indeed, there is "actual, lived reality" in most of the pictures that I have.

Now, consider the first position: You can see the pictures I am exampling below:

Of course, the pictures you see are not part of a "lived reality" that my wife and I share. We are not "goth" by any stretch of the imagination; however, visitors who look at these pictures may think as much. We do enjoy Halloween, like a growing number of adults. We've discovered the fun of dress up and the social opportunities with friends and acquaintances. However, other than the week of Halloween, what these pictures depict are not "lived reality."

However, I have to add, in truth, these pictures DO present "representations consistent with [my] actual, lived reality." In fact, I believe that the pictures depict a more compelling reality about the nature of my relationship with my wife. In these pictures, if viewers look past the effects of costuming and staging, they will see the reality of our relationship. Careful viewers will be peering into the reality of our relationship: a reality that is far more important than the surface. Let me tease this reality out for you.

First, these pictures depict the joy we have with each other. Too often, adult relationships reduce to habit. There is little of habit between my wife and myself. And these pictures capture, I believe, the sheer joy we have within each other's company. Whether we are hamming it up in Halloween regalia in our front yard graveyard or whether we are sharing ice cream out of a carton at K-Mart shopping center and admiring the full moon or whether we are simply cuddled on the couch watching Christmas movies like Jack Frost, we have fun with each other and in each other's company.

Second, I believe these pictures show the trust we have in one another. Both of use came from previous marriages where there was not the level of trust that we feel with each other now. In my case, there were expectations that I had to be something I could not: a middle class husband in the "Adams Farm" lifestyle of yuppie suburbia. I could not play that role and face myself each morning. For my wife, there was a gap in the trust that she was loved and wanted in her previous marriage. So within these images, I believe you are seeing trust which is an "actual, lived reality."

Lastly, these pictures capture the passion we feel for each other. For fun, several years ago, I wrote an essay about the "myth" of romantic love. However, since I've been married to Thelma, I am convinced that romantic love is a reality--an "actual, lived reality" that these pictures capture. Viewers may see silliness. Some viewers who are a little uptight may see something sinful. I can tell you that what these pictures show is a deep and abiding love. A love, for example, that John Donne describes in his poem "A Valediction: Forbidding Mourning." Consider this image from his poem :

But we by a love so much refined,
That ourselves know not what it is,
Inter-assurèd of the mind,
Care less, eyes, lips and hands to miss

Tho' we relish our time with one another, Donne has captured an important part about the depth of the love my wife and I feel for one another: a love that transcends the need to always be in the physical presence of the other. I've learned and observed that true love can, as Donne described--endure an expansion--such as "gold to airy thinness beat." And I am also sure that those who only know love in the phsyical presence of one another simply do not know love.
So, to answer the prompt, do these pictures I've posted here reveal a "discrepency between the lived reality and the image"? I would say the answer is "no"; these images do reflect the truth, the reality of our relationship. I will add, however, that any viewing these pictures needs to look carefully. Let the scales of cynicism fall from your eyes and see what we see: joy, trust, and love.

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