Welcome to a new series on the book Flourish from Christian Light Publishers. Sources tell me that the initial title was Help, I'm Married to a Goat!, but it didn't play well with the focus groups.
I spent a lot of time thinking about writing this series, and considering the pros and cons. So let's talk about the cons first. First, I realize this is a real person's story and it's significantly more complicated than it's possible to cover in a book. I realize that there are real people involved, and some of the things I have to say may not feel good. That isn't lost on me. But, that's also part of the price to putting your story out in public. People have opinions about what you say. Second, I don't want to take CLP to task too much for this book. I've been vocally critical of them on the FB page in the past, especially in light of their publication of Howard Bean's materials in the face of his recent arrest from child abuse. CLP seems to be doing their best to act in good faith at this point, and I've recently heard that there's a disclaimer in future editions of Flourish.
With that said, there are several pros to covering the book on this blog. 1) It's on a very important topic. 2) This book has some really, really wild stuff in there.
So, after lots of thinking, I decided I'm gonna do it. So buckle up and let's check out Flourish.
The Fairy Tale
The book opens with a fairy tale about a dashing prince and his maiden princess. The fairy tale begins where most fairy tales end, with the prince and the princess having just been married and on the cusp of living "happily ever after."
Unfortunately, there is trouble in their little paradise, which comes in the form of pregnancy. Yes, the prince and the princess are very excited about the prospect of a new little baby, but unfortunately, the princess, who (and I hope I'm not spoiling anything for those of you who are waiting for the theatrical release) turns out to be the author of the book, gets extremely sick during the pregnancy.
As a result of her sickness, she is no longer able to keep up her usual Snow White routine and clean and do laundry while singing jaunty little tunes, mostly because cute forest animals aren't available to assist her.
But that's not the worst of it. Oh dear friends, it is not the worst.
This princess makes matters worse by crying. Yes. You read that right! She sheds tears, and when she does it makes the prince Big Mad. And so, as the story tells, the prince begins to build himself a suit of armor to protect himself and his heart from her tears and associated scary emotions.
The fairy tale doesn't come right out and say that it's the princess's fault, but it's heavily implied. And so, dear readers, it would behoove us amid the relationships in which we find ourselves, to hold back our tears, lest we harden the hearts of those who love us best.
And then, when the baby was just a few weeks old, the husband (I can't do this fairy tale thing anymore, OK?) tells his wife that they are going to move, and that she has to go through everything that they have, because what doesn't fit in a trailer has got to go, because they are going to move from Ohio to Oregon. And so, in about eight weeks, if I understand the chronology correctly, they did.
Now I have moved a lot, including with fairly short notice, and I can tell you that it is not a fun time. And, far be it from me to be too critical, but what's up with that? His wife had just come out of a difficult pregnancy, and now he's going to make her pack up the house and move? This vignette gives us an example of the kind of thoughtful decision-making that this princely man uses as he leads out in the home.
While they are on the way to Oregon, the job falls through (as they are wont to do), and so the husband "took charge" (the book tells us), and decides that they will live in Idaho at his sister's empty house, while he figures out what to do next. It just SO HAPPENS that this is the area he grew up in, so it's all cool, and they settle in.
I do not wish to put too fine of a point on this thing, but I cannot help but find this whole tale just a tad convenient. The sudden move, the disappearing job, and the conveniently available house?
I am not going to come right out and call him a narcissist, but I am going to point out that I have noticed similar behavior patterns in people who were and leave it at that.
Anyhow, the new house apparently didn't have Internet, because surprise! they soon discovered that there was another baby on the way. And again, our heroine was sick, but this time she was isolated and alone, far from family and friends, with no one close at hand, but her princely husband and his family, and she often found herself, in her sick and weak state, lying on the couch and weeping.
And you know what happened then. Her prince of a man got Big Mad and started putting more layers of metal on his armor. Also, he pointed out that a) she had joined him on the journey out there, and b) it wasn't his fault the job fell through.
I am sure that this is something all of us are aware of, but for those who may not be, I want to use this as a teachable moment. If something happens that makes you sad, and it is not someone else's fault, then you should not cry. This is why there are no tears at most funerals.
Yes, he loved her! Of course he did! But "those tears did things to him that he did not like." (That is what the book says.)
And then the book says, (and here, I would like to recommend that you pull over and put the car in park before you continue reading) "Maiden became so wrapped up in the sadness of missing her friends and her mother and the effort of taking care of Baby. She was so wrapped up in herself that she didn't realize that her tears were making trouble in Paradise. In fact, that was the reason Prince started spending longer days and more evenings with his two brothers."
Yes. Maiden Princess Author Lady was definitely wrapped up in herself, in stark contrast to her sacrificial husband, and if only she had made a more sincere effort to be a complete doormat, their happy days of marriage may have continued. This is basically the overall message of this entire book, as we will continue to see again and again.
Then, that princely hunk of a man she was married to decided that it was time to move again, after four months in Idaho, which is really messing with my mind, because they moved to Idaho when the baby was ten weeks old, and shortly after they arrived in Idaho, they discover she's pregnant and then they move four months after arriving. Is anyone noticing some things about this timeline?
If I didn't have the book to tell me what a great guy this husband was, I'd be forced to conclude that he was kind of a jerk.
Our author lady is too sick to pack, so her sister-in-law and her brother-in-law's girlfriend come pack up the house for them. The reason for this move is so that they can find "a church, friends, and a doctor for Maiden," which strikes me as weird, unless her husband's family didn't go to church. I realize people's lives are complicated, but I'm just blown away by the amount of stress this marriage was under from the very beginning.
FORTUNATELY, the book puts out in the very next paragraph that they were still very much in love, which was honestly a relief, because she really had me worried there.
Sadly, there were dark clouds looming on the horizon in the form of (dun dun DUN!) WARRING MAIDEN. The book describes her as "another younger maiden with evil intentions trying to enchant Prince with her charms."
And unfortunately, it is here that I must leave you. Hopefully, the suspense of waiting for the next edition of this series isn't too much for you! Let me leave you with assurances that the Prince totally definitely really loved his wife, so you probably don't need to worry. Right?
Until next time!