How many people look over life’s arc, seeing all the big & little moments fitting together like a glorious jig saw puzzle, the outer edges incomplete because those moments haven’t yet been lived? Am I the rarity or the norm? I know for certain sure that I am blessed by the retrospect & a firm belief in the wonder of what is ahead – if all that came before, however shitty it seemed at the moment, turned into a WOW piece of the puzzle, why fear even the most ferocious present?
Last year – 2018 – was the most ferocious of my life. From the week after Christmas 2017 to early January 2019, my personal life lay in the grip of powerful forces that seemed to spotlight every sharp point & challenging pinnacle in my relationship with John.
What was clear to me from the start of 2018 was that, by the end, we would be together or apart – if not physically, then emotionally.
It was a rough year, a roller coaster of argh as I was ripped up by disappointment over how little true connection there seemed between the two of us, over how much I’d evolved over thirty years of marriage & how little he had.
Christiane Northrup warns that the personal work we do to gain a greater sense of our true self can move us away from longtime others in our lives – would this be true with my husband? Would 2018 be a year of healing paired with terminal disharmony?
It turned out to be a year of clarity & gratitude, not in spite of all the torture & turmoil, but because of it.
I will always remember the moment it hit me that we might not be destined to be love partners, but that John is forever my best, dearest friend. That realization changed how it felt being churned with unhappiness, let me take a modest step back & appreciate who he IS in my life & will always be. While it didn’t diminish, dismiss the very real cause of my despair, that sliver of unshakeable reality was, is, a stabilizing anchor in the midst of angst.
In 2004, three years after Mom’s death, John & I celebrated our 15th wedding anniversary with a renewal of our vows. Writing mine brought my first full realization of the reality that while I’d expected to open up my beloved’s spiritual life through mine, the opposite had happened – – his untutored, terminology-free, just-there spirituality informed expanded enriched mine.
It turns out to be true in our inner growth life, too. I was not the impetus for deep change in John’s life that he has been for mine & that was part of what riled me up in 2018. His inability to have the sort of aha moments that shifted my life back into its original whole felt grossly unfair. What a slamming injustice to be paired with a man who shuts down his processing mechanisms, who hears every third word I say!
What I also came to realize last year, thanks to regularly attending a spiritual discussion group, was that my experience of John changed. It is clear he does not attend, as I do, for deeper understanding & fresh perspectives- – he goes to experience the people who are there, their energies as well as their ideas. When we went around the circle, each sharing what we feel is our core, I had no problem coming up with relationship, but John could not do it had no idea what was meant by “core,” let alone what his is. Len Rose, the discussion leader & deep soul, sent my world reeling when he offered, “John, I think I know what’s at your core – it’s love.”
So utterly true. John is all about love. And the just-right bloke to weather the storm of being married to a person constantly working to set herself right, to get back on the life track she was created for, who sought healing from years of being emotionally bumped bruised battered. I wanted to be some form of the savior to John that he has been to me. And I am not. Can hear Cherry Hoffman saying, “Get over it!”
Turns out that 2018 was about accepting John as my key person for restoration & growth, just leaving it at that. Not seeking more, not seeing that as less.
From our earliest days, it was clear that John is, in his gentleness & interest in others, very like my brother, Ian, who died when he was eleven – I, his baby sister, was seven. Am reminded, writing this, that the minister who delivered Ian’s memorial service commented on not being shocked that B-Boy died young – he was so very innocent, tender-hearted, emotionally open. That could describe my John. And how deliciously RIGHT that the very minister who knew Ian so well would be, with his wife, one of our most treasured friends, his widow among our very nearest & dearest – full circle, from Ian’s religion teacher to our personal friend.
Life is all about coming full circle. Sometimes that includes storm & mighty winds, upset & upheaval. Last year’s argh was necessary to get to here, where it’s possible to see the wonders.
John has not changed. He still mangles processing information, still hears every third word I say, still zones out instead of zooming in. But a his core, my beloved Keet is LOVE. And that is everything.
It is not easy to be married to me nor is it a walk in the park being married to him, but how wondrous beyond imagining that from our union, the dross & the gold, I’ve gleaned the clarity to see all that we are & the good sense to be forever grateful.