If you’ve been reading this blog for even a little while, you know that family is pretty much the center of my world. You know that, most days, I may want to strangle my children, but I’d also die for them without a single thought. Most moms feel that way. It’s that whole maternal instinct thing–even animals turn ferocious when they feel their offspring are threatened. Hell, even Sarah Palin, who (at least publicly) appears to have the mothering skills of a drugged condor born in captivity, calls herself a “Mama Grizzly.”
What women don’t talk about nearly as often is the similarly violent impulse to protect a good mate, if you’re lucky enough to have one. This isn’t instinct, I don’t think; it doesn’t feel quite the same. It’s not an irresistible reflex, like hiccuping or dropping your brand new iPhone as you lunge to keep your kid from falling off his bike (admire my fancy screen crack!). This is more thoughtful, and as a result, more terrifying to witness.
Recent events have occurred in which someone made the unbelievably poor calculation to attack my Darling Husband publicly in a blog post–no, I’m not going to link it here and give it one more breath of air time–which sought to discredit the incredibly hard work he does to keep the company he works for moving forward in creative and positive ways. The first piece of miscalculation came from underestimating the vast reserves of good will the D.H. has built up in our community of friends, fans, and interested parties. The D.H. is a Good Man ™. He’s loyal to his friends, generous to fans of his work, and unfailingly polite to his critics. The most conservative of reactors to the effort to smear his work demanded names and proof; others returned the favor, retracting support and badmouthing the accuser. Needless to say, this was heartening to see.
The second miscalculation was this: He doesn’t know me. You see, if you threaten my beloved, I will end you.
It won’t be quick. It won’t happen immediately. No, I’m going to let you look over your shoulder for a while, wondering when the blade will drop. You’ll sleep with the lights on. You’ll ask others to pop corners for you, like soldiers in urban combat. You’ll question the wisdom of your actions. You may even try to walk it back, make amends. Probably cry a little, maybe publicly.
It won’t matter.
And when it does come–when I start on you–it won’t be impulsive or frantic or wild, like it would be if my children were threatened. It will be planned. It will be cold. And it will be slow. I won’t be the Mama Grizzly with you. I will be the invisible, steel-tipped ninja assassin you didn’t even know to have nightmares about.
At first, it will be utterly bloodless, just a creeping chill that prickles your hair and makes you think of ghosts. Lights will slowly extinguish around the perimeter. Birds and insects will fall to silence. Shadows will bulge and become more solid, like the meniscus atop an overfull glass. Pieces will start sliding off before you even know you’ve been cut.
When I finally let you see me, I will be smiling.
I won’t “go medieval” on you. You see, I’m actually a medievalist. I know what medieval people did to each other. Usually, it was short, brutal, and efficient. Normally, that would appeal to me–I like to be efficient. But you have filled me with wrath, and wrath isn’t interested in efficiency. Wrath is all about artistry.
You know who really did wrath? The Old Testament. No, I won’t “go medieval” on your ass–I’ll go Old Testament. The Hebrew God tells his own chosen people what he will do to them if they don’t follow the strict laws he has laid out for them in Leviticus 26:29-33:
“But if you will not listen to me and carry out all these commands, and if you reject my decrees and abhor my laws and fail to carry out all my commands and so violate my covenant, then I will do this to you: I will bring upon you sudden terror, wasting diseases and fever that will destroy your sight and drain away your life. You will plant seed in vain, because your enemies will eat it.
I will send wild animals against you, and they will rob you of your children, destroy your cattle and make you so few in number that your roads will be deserted.
And I will bring the sword upon you to avenge the breaking of the covenant. When you withdraw into your cities, I will send a plague among you, and you will be given into enemy hands.
You will eat the flesh of your sons and the flesh of your daughters. I will destroy your high places, cut down your incense altars and pile your dead bodies on the lifeless forms of your idols, and I will abhor you. I will turn your cities into ruins and lay waste your sanctuaries, and I will take no delight in the pleasing aroma of your offerings. I will lay waste the land, so that your enemies who live there will be appalled. I will scatter you among the nations and will draw out my sword and pursue you. Your land will be laid waste, and your cities will lie in ruins.”
Remember: God’s chosen people get this kind of treatment. You? I didn’t choose you. You don’t deserve that consideration. You chose my Darling Husband.
Now start running.