I have been well and truly blessed by friends that I wouldn't recognize if I passed them on the street, but who's pennames are as familiar to me as my own daughter's name. I thank each of you who took time from your day to reach out with a well-wish, an email, a virtual gift for my birthday. They all brought a smile to my face and I have to admit that I felt more loved this birthday than in pretty much any of the ones previous to it.
I was able to go out to dinner with my group of book club girls and I think I actually pulled something laughing. Those of you who care to can find pics of that night on my facebook. 'Course, you have to know my real name... mwahh haa haaaa... What? It's in my bio? Oh. *shrug*
Anyway, things with the hubs have vastly improved. Mainly because we talked. We were so busy trying to protect each other from ourselves that we each pulled into this bubble and didn't think about how that retreat was affecting the other person. We didn't really solve anything, but we at least identified things that could be worked on. Together.
I thank you all for your care in commenting on my broken-hearted venting and offer me your thoughts and encouragement. It meant so much to me. Someone mentioned how great it was to have so many people to lean on, and they were right. In one of my lowest points last week, I was able to crowd surf across your strong, willing hands and not one of you let me fall. Thank you for that.
And now for the random.
Random #1 -- has anyone seen the previews for Joss Whedon's new show on Fox called Dollhouse with Eliza Dushku (Faith, Tru, etc.)? I love Joss, I do, but... that? Really? I'm kinda thinking of skipping even a curious look-see of the premiere. What say you?
I saw a vid rec'd by apieceofcake done by jessicarae</lj> to the song Permanent by David Cook (whew) about Dean and Sam, the deal, and the ramifications to both... it was visually stunning and heartbreakingly sad. Plus? It kick-started some latent thoughts that have been keeping my ever-churning mind in high-gear since Dean's revelation that he 'liked' torturing souls in Hell because it kept his pain away.
Okay, so as per usual, this is total outward processing of thought and may come across as the crazy ramblings of an insane mind, but bear with me...
I've been thinking about Hell.
Dante has nine circles in his Hell. I read up a teensy bit on that concept when sojourner84</lj> and I were writing Sunday Bloody Sunday. I always thought it interesting that there was a circle to coincide with every "major" sin. As if being among your "own kind" was as hideous a punishment as could be conceived. There may be something to that. I've heard that it's the things we dislike most in ourselves that we hate in others... who knows.
thatgirlsix</lj> posed some pretty interesting thoughts in a post awhile back about people justifying Dean torturing souls because those souls were in Hell and deserved to be tortured. Which didn't exactly make sense to me because, well, Dean was in Hell, and my honest reaction is that, deal or no deal, he doesn't deserve Hell. Even though he is a sinner to the nth degree: lying, stealing, cheating, lust, wrath, envy, gluttony... I mean, there's not one sin that we haven't witnessed.
I grew up in the buckle of the Bible belt. I was taught that Hell was defined as permanent separation from God. I was also taught that the only thing that could save you from Hell was confessing your sins and believing that Jesus was God's son. In that respect, a nun could be damned and a child molester on death row could go to paradise if in their final moments they made a choice one way or the other. I struggle with that to this day -- the idea that a good, decent person who spends their lives giving back to mankind and caring for those in need could go to Hell because he/she didn't believe troubles me daily. Especially now as a mother.
I've been thinking about Hell on Earth.
How each of us have our own definitions of what that would mean: losing a lover, partner, sibling, parent, or, God-forbid, a child. For some, perhaps it's losing possessions, sleeping on the street. For others, an addiction that can't be quenched and is destroying lives. Maybe it's fighting our own demons of depression and anxiety on a daily basis and not seeing an end in sight. Maybe the Hell was our past, maybe it's our present, maybe we fear it for our futures, but I know we have each at least thought about it. At least once in our lifetimes.
I've been thinking about Angels.
My daughter has books she likes for me to read to her at night (no less than five each night) and two of her favorites are about Angels. Guarding us, watching us, praying for us... it's the standard comfort story. "Baby, there's nothing to be afraid of. Your angels are watching over you while you sleep." Or, "She'll be okay out there in the world, away from me, in the care of strangers because her guardian angel is watching over her."
Sometimes I believe that, I really do. Other times... most times... I equate it to believing my bed covers were bullet proof when I was a child. Again, while growing up, I learned to believe both in the care and benevolence of Angels as well as the fact that they were God's warriors, guardians of his children, protectors of his world, and capable of mighty power. I would get confused if I was supposed to adore them or fear them.
I've been thinking of John.
He was in Hell for a year. A year. If 4 months is equal to 40 years, then one would surmise that 12 is equal to 120 years. In Hell. How long did it take for him to get off the rack? Did he? How did he maintain his strength (after 120 years of mental, emotional, and physical torture) to climb out when the Devil's Gate was opened? How did his spirit have enough strength to save his son? When he turned into light, were we right to assume he went to Heaven? We've all wondered if John knew of Dean's deal since, y'know, there's apparently a Demon Weekly Newsletter and every demon they've encountered has known about the Winchester Brothers. Did John talk about his son? His oldest? The one who has been his warrior, the one that he raised as a guardian and protector?
I've been thinking about Mary.
Her knowledge of all of the evil in the world: raised as a hunter(ress?), seeing her family die at the hands of a demon, making a deal herself to save the love of her life and sacrificing her father in the process. Yet, when she had her babies, she was able to believe in good. She was able to adore the angels and offer them as a comfort story to her boy. She didn't lose that in the intervening years.
I've been thinking about Sam.
Sam is the only one of the family that truly experienced the ultimate Hell on Earth. He lost everyone. Everyone. They each were whittled away through murder and sacrifice until he was the last man standing and he was utterly helpless to stop even one of them. And the worst part was that he was pivotal in each death. How do you live with that? How do you hold on to your innocence? How do you find your happy place and seek out hope and still let your face light up when you find out that Angels pulled your brother from Hell? How do you remember what is right and wrong and see that thin red line that you've walked for so long when you've been completely gutted and left bleeding and told to stand up and keep going even though there is no one to walk to and no one to walk away from?
I've been thinking about Dean.
About how he has lived the life of a sinner because he is a saint. I know, I know, Saint Dean isn't exactly a popular theory, but what I mean by that is simply this: he grabbed pleasure from life where he could find it easily... a one-night stand, drinking, fast cars, loud music, his father's coat, his brother's necklace. He took the easy road to feeling good because every step of his journey was hard: keeping himself together in the dark when monsters threatened his life and the lives of his family. Keeping Sam innocent and safe as long as possible. Keeping his Dad alive and close. Keeping them away from the authorities. Keeping them fed and warm and moving ever forward. His life wasn't a fairytale, but he never complained. Instead, he rebelled loudly so that people were distracted by the pretense and never bothered to look closer to see the truth of the matter.
Where has all this thinking taken me? Well, two things that I can't quite work out are 1) Sam's hidden agenda and as-yet-unseen power and 2) why Dean was pulled out of Hell.
Azazel bled demon blood into baby Sam for what we thought was the Special Children Army, but we now know that there was another end game that is still in progress and even the Angels don't know what it is. And somehow Sam's involved. And he's trusting a demon to help him help (at least in his mind) humanity. Dean lived a life of sacrifice overshadowed by sinful ways. His final year was filled with enlightenment, fear, fighting, and finally acceptance. He made the deal for his soul out of desperation, but went to Hell knowing it was the "right thing" to do.
And here's another thing... Sam tried everything to get Dean out. Up to and including asking to trade places. And they didn't want him. They didn't want Sam; they had Dean right where they wanted him. What does that mean? I'm working myself toward a conclusion that I think could be very cool and also very heartbreaking. We started with the story of two boys and their Dad, and have evolved into a story of epic proportions where Heaven and Hell have become tangible and Angels and Devils are doing more than perching on shoulders to whisper in ears.
If Sam was the chosen one for Azazel... was Dean chosen by another? I feel silly with all this because I know I'm not revealing anything that you all haven't thought yourselves, but I can't think of another reason that Dean would be pulled from Hell by Angel to do "God's work" if he were simply Dean Winchester, childhood lost, guardian, warrior, sinner.
I don't want our show to evolve into an epic Brother vs Brother showdown. I want them to overcome the outside forces, to survive mental, emotional, and physical torture, to maintain enough strength at the end to climb free and turn into light. Like their father did. Sacrifice is a family tradition, and I want them to sacrifice their destinies for the sake of each other. Because I think Dean's right: it's going to end bloody or sad.
And it would be sad if they followed the destinies I suspect each has: Sam with the demons, Dean with the Angels. But it would be bloody if they turned their back on that destiny to face the world together. I think I prefer bloody.