Saturday, September 20

The Essential Answer

Watching two people in love make a commitment to each other, I got the answer wrong again, as I had for months.

He had asked me over and over, "Will you be with me for the rest of my life?" We were getting married, no question. I had the ring, the dress, the happy glow.

Ever the old maverick, the crusty old bachelor-girl, I had loved him in my heart and said: "I don't even know what that means, "For the rest of life." Here's what I DO know: You are like the treasure in a field that the man sold all he had to possess. I sell everything, all I know to be with you, because YOU are the treasure."

It was a good answer, a response born out of the sweet pang that love and longing bring. I meant it with every fiber of my being. He is my treasure. THE treasure of my life.

But it was still not the right one. 

As we watched the people in love struggle and stammer their way through saying their love, he leaned over and whispered to me: "I think you WILL be with me for my whole life."

Not even then did I realize. It was two hours later; then I knew. No ring-wearing, plan-making, field-buying will answer the question. Only one thing will.


Yes, I will be with you our whole lives. All of it.

And count myself lucky and blessed just to be by your side.

I am sorry that my mind is so slow to process what my heart already knows. The answer to your essential question?


Saturday, September 13

What We Signed Up For

It was tougher than I imagined it would be, you know.

My handsome Presbyterian man took his boys up to the Communion cup (juice, not wine *sigh*), and I watched, pew-bound. I am Orthodox Christian. We will share our lives in every way imaginable, but we will not commune together.

It's what we signed up for.

I was always the lone wolf, I never had to think of anyone but myself. In four months, I will marry, and that will all change. It is already changing. I've known myself very well, I know "who I am." I think that knowing who we are has allowed my Handsome and I to awake easily inside the smile that we fit together, that we are good.

I will be learning to live in a wolf den, not alone. It will be full of the soft coziness of other fur and the warmth of other breath. But there will be a sharp tooth once in awhile, an accidental claw scrape on the skin. I don't know who I am with others, with these SPECIFIC others, because families are unique as fingerprints.

It's what I'm signing up for.

And I think that "signing up for" seems simple. You do your frightened best to hold your heart out like a flower toward the other, to be honest about who you really are. If you're lucky, if you're lucky... they will take it with joy. They will ask to hold your heart forever.

But the years go long, and even through honest, brave means, sometimes even a clear-eyed "what I signed up for" can seem too heavy to be borne. I've seen it in other wolf packs. I've seen it in some of my favorites.

I've even started to see it in me. During Communion. During moments where my baggage springs out of its clasp, and everyone has to deal with the dirty old laundry. It seems that laundry THAT old should have vaporized by now, become inapplicable to every current situation. But no.

I don't know how to do this. I don't even know how to write, so elemental to me, because the writing no longer involves just me.

And I'm not sure that knowing how to do this is an appropriate prerequisite, anyway. I certainly muddled my way through single life; maybe it is the same in a wolf pack, muddling the way through. I think the prerequisites here are bravery, honesty, grace, and purposeful, tenacious love. The kind of love that figures its way through the muddling. The kind of love that really only God's grace can give us on loan to give to others.

So friends, be strong in what you signed up for, if you can. I will meet you on the plain of common experience, I and my wolf pack, you and yours. Under the harvest moon, we will run and romp, cavort and wrestle, nip and play.

We will howl the howl of lonely togetherness.

It's what we signed up for. 

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