This I believe…
I know that living does not allow me passive existence; I must finish myself through the choices I make and by whom and what I choose to affect me. I could have gone it alone and trekked upon a path uncompromised by another, or I could share myself with someone with whom I’d walk through life, doubling the interpretations and perceptions of my artful surroundings in a winding dialog through time.
I chose the winding dialog through time; the person’s life I added to mine meant that the experience of beauty around me was doubled and we both would react to the art of life—together. I wanted to create, but with someone next to me to create also, to see what I see and to be my critic; that is why I believe in marriage.
We married in our very early twenties, neither of us unaccomplished nor uncomplicated. What we were though, was idealistic, and like any art placed in the gallery, we wanted to be understood and taken seriously, not to mention loved for the sheer abstract quality of our forms.
After our eighth anniversary, we had a son and two careers, when, on the following Father’s Day, I had my fourth miscarriage. At no time did I question more the shared path I had chosen. Perhaps it was the repetition of the awful loss, but we weren’t able to move past this loss for a long time.
As if a fraudulent artist had re-painted us, we feared what we had become, and we proceeded to blame and hurt each other over unrealized expectations. We each felt we could have done better alone; I grieved over what I felt was lost time, lost opportunities, and lost personal growth. For a while, what we felt we lost as separate persons seemed greater than what we had gained as a couple. It took us a while to recognize the limited vision we had created for ourselves. Whether together or single, who never sees death? Who never really hurts, or loses, or cries? Who did we think we were?
On me, realism had hurt and yet the brushstrokes of our life’s joy, the son we did have, taught me, and us, to gain a deeper vision through the angles of our marriage. Now, after thirty-one anniversaries, and with another son, I have learned to accept the abstraction of God’s plan, even in the re-working of our shared face.
And this I believe, that even though the divorce rate is high, and though realism can, and probably will, wound us with the frailties of people and of nature’s storms, that my life is richer for the commitment to another’s life: the commitments he makes to me and I to him are not sacrifices of one’s self; they are a consummation of our human connection. We watch each other’s progress in living better, and we pick each other up, and up again, because we can and have promised to.
We grow together against the resistance of our imperfections, and I believe I love better because of those imperfections. Our talk continues to be alive with color and thick with heavy impasto of experiences, as a painter applies pigments with the weight of the loaded knife, sometimes straining the canvas. I still grow; as a couple we appreciate what we are becoming.
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