“Isn’t it always love that makes you hang your head, isn’t it always love that makes you cry and isn’t it always love that takes the tears away and I wouldn’t have it any other way.” –Karla Bonoff
So, tomorrow marks 25 years of being married to the same phenomenal man, my husband, who prefers if I do not talk about him in this public arena. So, I won’t go into the intimate details, but I do have to share a little about what is true for me as I am in this very real moment of my life.
I have been exhausted and overly engaged with the suffering, broken nature, wounding and pain of so many folks and the planet in the last year. Overly engaged is of course a judgment call and a loaded statement, and it’s how I sometimes feel. This morning I woke up feeling so congested with everyone’s pain that I was basically just a large mass of leaky tears. I feel the suffering of others in my body, I always have. I feel their pleasure and delight as well, their anger and their fear. I remember when the Empath character was first introduced on Star Trek and I was so happy to see someone who I could actually feel kinship with, it helped me feel less like an alien. Of course she was an alien, and often I feel like one as well.
“Kirk has suffered a cut on his forehead and when he touches Gem to see if she is all right, she recoils in pain. Gem composes herself and then touches Kirk’s wound. With a flash, the wound is transferred to Gem’s forehead. A doubting Kirk touches her wound and notes the blood on his finger. Suddenly, the wound on Gem’s forehead heals as well. McCoy, observing, is clearly impressed by her ability to heal and surmises that Gem is an Empath. Her emotional system is so sensitive that it feels the pain of another and that pain becomes part of her, before she dissipates it.” – from The Empath Episode
There are days when I wish I didn’t feel so much, didn’t love so much, but mostly
“I wouldn’t have it any other way.”
So, this morning my husband had to hold me while I cried, something he is very used to and has gotten better at over the years. We had to rouse ourselves to get our youngest son, Ethan, ready for his first IB test (International Baccalaureate). My boy asked me last night if I would make him a hearty and special breakfast. He wanted a home-made mama pancake and some plain yogurt with strawberries, bananas and cashews. So, I moved myself to get out of bed and make his breakfast before his first big major test of the IB.
I asked my husband to put some good music on and Karla Bonoff is who he put on for me. This was a mixed blessing, since every song made me start crying anew. And, yet the excellence of an artist at the top of her game is also something I feel deeply and when I experience beauty and harmony it also moves through me and washes every cell in my body with delight. My husband knows music as medicine and as balm and as stimulus. He knows it in his core and he wields this like a master wields a sword or a paintbrush and colors all of our lives with exactly the right music at the right time.
While endeavoring to do what I needed to do for my son, I was also trying to keep my tears from this lovely seventeen year old boy, who doesn’t need to know about my sadness right now, or ever really. His job is to do well and be well and not to navigate the territory of my empathic nature. It is generally not the job of our children to take care of us, even though sometimes they have to when they are young. When we are old, it will be their duty, but not while they are young, it is not their job. Unfortunately, life doesn’t always allow for this and many of us take care of our parents or feel their pain in different ways. This is the “tears of love” that one sometimes wishes we didn’t have to feel. Parents should feel the pain of their children, when they know about it. It is NO FUN at all when they are suffering, and it’s what motivates you to keep them from that pain if you can. You don’t have to be an empathic being to feel the fear and hurt of children.
My parents rejoiced deep in their bones when this man came into our lives. They knew he was a good man and that they could worry less about me and my wild and crazy ways. I had found a home, a good home, with a safe and kind man.
So, I bow now, deep and low to my husband, who is not a religious man, who works hard everyday for our family, who loves to joke and who loves music and books and art and all of us. He found me lost with two small children over 25 years ago and something in him said she’s the one. He fell in love also with my first two children, who were four and one at that time, and he took them to raise and be his own. He truly rescued us, and even though most folks don’t believe in fairy tales, I always have and do, and my prince did show up and has consistently shown up for all of us.
My tears have abated now, since I am writing about something truly extraordinary, the beauty and love of my marriage and the long journey of being with one extraordinary person over many years. It feels like five minutes, really. I need another 2,000 years with this man, but I know every day I get with him is a gift. Maybe, if our souls are linked across time, I will have 2,000 more years with him and perhaps I’ve had millions of years with him, I cannot know that.
What I do know is that it takes work and a constant commitment to love and to keep loving through the arguments, disagreements, frustrations, stresses and all the messy territory of sharing your life with another human being who is different from you. But it also takes a very special magic ingredient of overwhelmingly deep love and rightness. I could never have made it through 25 years with one man if he and I weren’t so absolutely right for each other. He is my Beshert, my other half, my soul-mate, my heart-mate, my choice-mate. His presence in my life is purely a gift. I won’t share him with you, but I will wish for all of you, someone like him, someone who makes every day better for you, who comes back to you, who pushes through with you, who tries to improve for you and who commits to you 100%.