“Two and two is four, four and four are eight, eight and eight is sixteen, sixteen and sixteen is thirty-two. Inchworm, inchworm, measuring the marigolds, seems to me you’d stop and see how beautiful they aaaaaaarrrrrrreeeeee”
I don’t know if you’ve ever heard that song. It’s been stuck in my head since primary school. It is STILL the song I still sing in my head when trying to work out any multiple of four and it is the song that runs on repeat whenever my husband and I have almost any kind of conversation. He is a measurer. No matter what I say to him he will ask for some kind of measurement before proceeding - for instance :
Me (with sappy adoration) “oh look at that puppy!”
Him (casting a geodetic eye) “how old is it?”
Me (with deliberately irritating vagueness) “Something TERRIBLE has happened!”
Him (with appraising shrewdness) “When?”
Me (just to see what he’d say) “I’ve decided I want to shave off my eyebrows and get them tattooed back on to look like General Zod”
Him (with granite imperviousness) “How long will that take?”
When I’m bored I bring up things like the eyebrow issue just to see if I can get any reaction other than a request for further definition. I haven’t managed it yet.
I understand the desire for detail, and the need to be in full possession of the facts but sometimes I feel he misses the point for instance on hearing the news of my pregnancies his response was always “Since when?!” in the slightly outraged tone of one who has been hoodwinked somehow. For me, that kind of need for detail is extremely irritating. It makes me feel like I’m trying to run through a field of treacle. I don’t need to know when, how much, or at what co-ordinates a thing took place to have a response and it’s maddening to be stopped while in the middle of a dramatic rendering of “What such-and-such said to me today and why it was stupid” to be asked the shoe size of such-and-such or their height. I JUST WANT TO TELL MY STORY!
And it seems a shame. I think a desire to fully grasp the minutiae before accepting a gift is a mistake. Some things simply don’t make sense – but they still exist. One recurring argument we had for years was “if me and the kids were hanging off a cliff who would you rescue first?” I would always go for the kids because … well obviously! But Chris felt he should rescue me – because I could make more kids but if I was gone that was the end of that. Oh logic – how utterly it fails us on occasion.
Predictably I’m slowly getting to the point that this Sunday is Passion Sunday. And what happened at the crucifixion cannot be measured. The grace we experience had no starting point and thankfully has no end, and the love poured out on us could never be contained in any vessel but keeps on pouring forth like silk scarves from the sleeve of a magician and for me at least, I would rather lose myself in the wonder of a painting than examine the brushstrokes.