This is Why

There is a scene in Game of Thrones, Season 5, during which a young queen climbs onto the back of her dragon. It’s complicated, and I am sure that sounds insane if you don’t watch the show or indulge in fantasy, but keep reading. I think you can relate.

So. there she is, the Mother of Dragons, Daenerys, a heroic and inspiring leader whose kingdom is infested with a strong anarchist movement; she is climbing onto the scaly back of one of her dragons to escape a band of attacking rebels. The two take flight into the air, rising higher and higher above a crowd of slack-jawed, wide-eyed onlookers, including you, the one sitting on your couch stuck to your screen. It’s one of those moments you have waited for throughout four and a half seasons of relentless bloodshed, unspeakable cruelty, demonic ice creatures, and severed hearts. But you made it here, just to watch Daenerys take flight, with those on the ground below humbled beyond belief, falling to their knees inside at the sheer beauty and wonder, at the moment of reckoning they didn’t know would come. They are filled with as much hope and belief as you are. The Mother of Dragons reigns supreme.

Life. We all live for these moments, don’t we? We wade through so much shit, trek across so many dead-end trails, climb a thousand feet just to be knocked back fifteen-hundred. And then, something clears, and it feels something like seeing the sunrise for the first time – or a brave, young woman climb up onto a dragon and leave the destructive, treasonous world beneath her.

I have had a couple of days like that this week, the day before and immediately after I watched the episode described above. Life is cool like that. Bringing us parallels and connections. My story is much less fantastical, though, obvi.

In fact, my moments were in the classroom, an ordinary room with two windows, a clock, a white board, desks, computers, and a room full of students. These students are bright, eager, and hungry to learn, not like all students I meet at my local community college. They are reaching out to engage with each other, to throw around ideas about the American Dream, poverty, and inequality like a ball of yarn between us, forming a colorful, connecting web. And they stay focused for the entire two and a half hours, too. My God Almighty.

Life is full of endless dullness and difficulty, and yes, there is beauty and wonder in the ordinary moments and in the dirty ones. Ordinary moments can contain plenty of life-affirming richness. Tough times help us reach farther into the light still burning inside.

But the shiny, bright times of our lives make the dull and difficult times completely worth it. We drop to our knees in praise and thanks that our dragon queen lives. We find ourselves thinking this is why. Why we haven’t quit our jobs despite strong temptations, why we’ve stayed committed to our spouse through relationship turmoil, why we have kept chipping away at our dreams in the face of setbacks and rejections.

Because our dragon will come, and he will save us. And in that moment, we understand why we are here, doing what we do in our small but glorious lives. We’ve been plodding along for this. This is why.

 

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It took me a long while to consider the title for this blog. I wanted something that defined me both as a person and a writer. A name that would also perhaps speak to a particular audience. Why “The Astronaut Wife?” Since my early days of blogging, I have leaned toward more of a confessional style of writing, to some degree. I write as much truth as I can muster at each phase of life. In addition, I also come from a conservative Southern family, and I have grown very far from those roots. You could say I have rocketed to the moon in terms of my upbringing. I have rocketed away from debilitating family dynamics, from worldviews that held me beneath a rock. In my thirties, and now my early to mid-forties, I have learned to live more comfortably with both sides of the moon and write just as much about the raw, dark places as the light ones. Don’t quote me on that, though. It’s quite likely I will lean more heavily toward one or the other depending on which way the wind is blowing. Then, we get to the wife part, and quite frankly, this is where the feminist in me bucked and brayed. Identifying myself as “wife” has felt simply stymieing, particularly since becoming a mother six and a half years ago. But if the truth is going to be told, being a wife to my particular husband has altered my entire shape and has given voice to much of the inner deep. So in fact, becoming a wife was the singular most life-changing moment for me in my journey to the moon and back. Fellow travelers, you can feel safe and comfortable here. What matters more than what you might “get” about me is what you might take for yourself.

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