A Look In The Mirror

by Bill Brenner on February 19, 2011

Written in early 2011, after one of my more spectacular failures as a husband and human being.

I’ve been dealing with a pretty sour mood in recent days. This post is my attempt to explain it all.

The other day, I wrote a post called “When the Truth is a Lie” and a lot of you commented that I’m too hard on myself. I appreciate that, but I don’t think I was being as open as I needed to be at the time.

I’ve realized a few things in recent days. One is that I’m not the bucket of honesty everyone thinks I am. Sure, I reveal a lot about my struggles. But I hold back a lot, too. Some of that is for the best. We all need to keep some things to ourselves, don’t we?

But this week, in a moment where I was feeling stupid about the things I forgot to do in my hurry to catch a plane, I lied to my wife and everyone on Facebook who was following the thread.

I found a Valentine’s Day card from her in my suitcase when I got to San Francisco. Then I remembered that I left her card at home, unsigned. I meant to do it right before I left, but forgot. She would have understood.

I lied about it, anyway. I told her I forgot to take it out of my laptop bag.

Why did I do that? I guess it was one of the stupid things you do in a moment of guilt. She found the card in a drawer while I was away. Naturally, she wasn’t happy about it.

Who could blame her?

I’ve always had a hang-up about Valentine’s Day, and I always seem to find a way to screw it up when I should be doing what everyone else does: Using the holiday to remind those around you that you love them. Especially the spouse and the kids. When I hurt my wife, I lose the ability to function.

If you look at the posts I wrote while I was in San Francisco, you can see this stuff slowly eating away at my soul.

Why am I telly you this? Marital disagreements are a private thing, after all.

I’m doing it because I didn’t just lie to Erin. I lied to everyone who was following that Facebook post.

I’ve realized something else recently: I’ve gotten a little too full of myself. I’ve had success in my professional life, and with it I’ve gotten praise. That praise has been addictive, so I push myself harder. In this case, I did more travel than I was mentally or physically prepared for. The result was my coming home violently ill. Thursday and Friday, I couldn’t move from the couch or the bed. Those who know me will tell you it takes a lot to render me motionless like that.

I was definitely down with sickness. But maybe some of it was me feeling heart sick about not living up to who I should be.

My life has gotten very busy. I’m involved with things at church and in the security community. I have a busy family life.

My skills at going through all that and prioritizing need work.

Family comes first, of course.

I also realize that I can’t just drop out of sight and stop doing what I do here.

I need to find the balance.

I also have to remember how small I am in the grand scheme of the universe.

I don’t have all the answers right now.

But I know I have to find them.

Meanwhile, to those I’ve lied to or been pompous and cranky to this past week, I’m very sorry.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Nick February 19, 2011 at 1:34 pm

Thanks for the post Bill, I totally understand what you’re talking about!

Mary February 20, 2011 at 5:18 am

Hi Bill,
You are right: A lie is never a good thing. I think that holding back a little, is ok.

I ALWAY (now just generally) pick a fight with Vinny when I’ve been traveling alot…Now he’s just says: “Oh, that right, you’re leaving Tuesday” and INGORES me!

I try to push him away, and he just won’t let me. That does not make MY behavior right, and I work on that all the time.

Keep working!

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