Butterballs and Snowflies

One of the toughest things to do in college is maintain a perfect GPA through four years.  It’s one of those things that takes just one blemish to undo all the time and effort that is put forth in pursuit of perfection.  I wouldn’t know.  I never even came close to getting a 4.0 in any semester at Tulane.  I do, however, remember a couple of classmates that devoted their college lives to graduating with an immaculate academic record.

But as with all things perfect, the pursuit of such a tall order comes with its share of risk.  Sometimes, all it takes is a fraction of a moment to set into motion a domino effect that sends perfection tail spinning into oblivion.  (Wow! That was a pretty dramatic sentence even for me.)  What I am referring to is the snowball that becomes the avalanche.  The flutter of a butterfly’s wings that concludes as a tidal wave crashing onto the shore.  It is the chaos that springs forth unexpectedly by a lapse of concentration or a deliberate lack of effort.

From a physical standpoint, we can see it happen in real life.  Like the aforementioned avalanche and tidal wave, we can map out the cause-and-effect results of what should be benign events that happen in the natural world.  But what about the emotional world?  What about the unpredictability that comes with the mixing of testosterone and estrogen?  The sometimes combustible nature of two X chromosomes interacting with an XY?

With regards to relationships, the cause-and-effect is not so much visually seen as it is emotionally felt.  It is often a question that begins with, “What do you think about ……?” and concludes 45 minutes later with, “What the F are you talking about?”  I am still amazed at how much trouble we – and by we, I mean men – can get into without even trying.  It’s not like we need the help.  Lord knows we do a pretty good job of messing up all on our own.  But sometimes we don’t even mean to and we F up royally.

The sad part is this will always continue to happen.  No matter how much we try to prepare and avoid those situations, we guys will inevitably make a mistake.  Not only will we mess up, we will do so unintentionally and without any knowledge to ourselves.

The important thing is to recognize that we do mess up.  Not just recognize, but also make up for.  I think this is more important than trying not to mess up in the first place.  Because unlike a GPA, in a relationship you can still get back to perfection after a slip and fall.  You can still recover, rekindle and reset.  You can always find your way back to what works, what is real, and what is right.  If anything is worth devoting your life to, it’s that.

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