Matt W Cook

writer.former fundamentalist.christianly fellow

Tag: birthday

Unaltering Love–Happy Birthday Ruth

Sonnet 116 William Shakespeare
Let me not to the marriage of true minds
admit impediments.

They say that you tend to be with someone similar to yourself. I suppose it’s true most of the time. We’re pretty narcissistic people, so we seek ourselves in the people we love.

                     Love is not love
which alters when it alteration finds,
or bends with the remover to remove:

They say unless two agree, they cannot walk together. And that if they start to disagree, they probably are going to have to go off in different directions. Alteration, they imply, alters love.

O, no! It is an ever-fixed mark,
that looks on tempests and is never shaken;

Ruth and I have changed. A lot. I’m not the person she married. I have different goals, different convictions, a different sense of morality. Different ways to love.

It is the star to every wandering bark,
who's worth's unknown, although his height be taken.

We change each other and change by each other’s changes. Our love isn’t based on our personality traits. The thing that holds us together is not ourselves. It’s a kind of transcendent love.

Love's not Time's fool, though rosy lips and cheeks
within his bending sickle's compass come;

For about 123 days of the summer, Ruth and I are the same age. Tomorrow she’s older than me again. We’re in the midst of so much change, but we still love.

Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks,
But bears it out even to the edge of doom.

It does not matter how much we grow. It doesn’t matter how much we change. It doesn’t matter that we aren’t the people we married. Love that alters with alteration is not our kind of love.

If this be error, and upon me prov'd
I never writ, nor no man ever loved.

Happy birthday Ruth. I love you forever.

Thoughts on Thirty

     It happened.

     I’ve been dreading it for five years. I never thought it would come, but it did. I’m thirty.

     I think about death a lot. Most spiritual people seem to be fine with the idea of dying. Not me. Hate it. Rage against it. Thirty feels like a hefty victory for the Dark Stranger.

     And while the icy talons of my own mortality are certainly gripping tighter now, I was surprised to find that thirty greeted me with some very positive realizations.

     The first was the final end to a worldview that had been dying for a while. Since leaving high school, I’ve had reoccurring dreams where I find myself wandering the halls of Centennial Secondary School, lost and late for class. When I finally get to my class (always some kind of History with Mr. Oliver), I discover that I didn’t do any homework. And the rest of the dream is filled with shame and embarrassment as Oliver stares me down.

     On the night before my thirtieth birthday, I had the dream again. But it was different. I was still kinda lost and I still hadn’t done my homework. But I didn’t care. It was my homework to do, after all. It was my learning to get. I was not under the authority of the teachers in this new dream. The school was my place.

     So as I stand in the world, an excitable thirty-year-old, I realize I am not a child. I am no one’s ward. I am a man. An adult. And I do not think that man needs men to govern him. I am free. Under no one’s authority except for those who I chose to look up to. It seems simple enough, and the concept has been coming to me for a while, but it finally hit me hard on April first.

     The second wonderful gift of being thirty was the newly-discovered fact that I am now legally able to be ridiculous. You see, like alcohol and smoking, being ridiculous requires a certain amount of wisdom to enjoy responsibly. I did not realize this, but it turns out thirty is the age at which you may indulge in ridiculousness as will. Excellent. Thanks to the local seller of Prem for pointing this out.

     So, as a responsible ridiculous person, I have decided to sit down and plan out my ridiculousity for the coming year. Here are the ridiculous things I hope to complete before I turn thirty-one:

  • Write another novel. It will be my third. Stories are the best, most accessible and primal way of viewing and explaining the universe and the human condition. Every good story is true, even the ones that never happened.
  • Learn Calculus. Mathematics are the other way of viewing and explaining the universe. It’s less earthy and accessible, but I’ve been told it’s higher and more spiritual. And I’ve wanted to learn math for a long time. It’s nice that I’m finally allowed, legally.
  • Fix my body. Not that it’s broken, of course. But it could work better. And now that it’s getting older, I need it to function as best as it can.
  • Fix my soul. That one is a bit broken, though not as much as it used to be. And there is nothing–NOTHING–that does the soul better than throwing love around in every direction.

     What are you going to do when you get old enough to be ridiculous?