december reflections | ten years ago

You were born together, and together you shall be forevermore.
You shall be together when the white wings of death scatter your days.
Ay, you shall be together even in the silent memory of God.
But let there be spaces in your togetherness,
And let the winds of the heavens dance between you.

Love one another, but make not a bond of love:
Let it rather be a moving sea between the shores of your souls.
Fill each other’s cup but drink not from one cup.
Give one another of your bread but eat not from the same loaf
Sing and dance together and be joyous, but let each one of you be alone,
Even as the strings of a lute are alone though they quiver with the same music.

Give your hearts, but not into each other’s keeping.
For only the hand of Life can contain your hearts.
And stand together yet not too near together:
For the pillars of the temple stand apart,
And the oak tree and the cypress grow not in each other’s shadow.
— kahlil gibran

"Soooo," I said to him this morning, "My prompt for reflections today is ten years ago. Do you know what ten years ago was?"  He, thinking that it might be a trick question and maybe not wanting to recall or get the dates wrong, answered something correct but not the answer I was looking for. 

"It was the year of hell," I reminded him. 

That was the year when it all fell apart. 

It was the year that our disillusionment with religious systems and the people who bolstered the institution morphed into questions and doubts of our core faith and beliefs. There were work issues which led to financial issues. There were family worries.  It seemed that we were being slung from one crisis to another. Our marriage was being held together with spit and string.

I want to remember that it was January of 2007 that he told me it was probably best if he left. When I really think about it though, I think it was January 2008 . . . after that full year in 2007 of increasing stress and unhappiness. 

2007 was the year that I thought it would all be over, that we wouldn't survive. There was too much demanding our attention and we couldn't focus on each other and us. Each day we drifted further apart and ultimately ended up looking across this huge divide at each other wondering how would ever become whole again. 

Many people have asked how we did it ... how we survived. I don't know how to answer them. We didn't do what we should have done ... sought counseling ... because there weren't resources enough ... not enough money, not enough time, not enough energy. We just held on. We honored the commitment to stay together. We helped ourselves ... somehow. 

When we finally arrived to a better place, we were both able to look back and say that we figured out that we had married each other for the wrong reasons. Both looking to find completeness in the other. We weren't whole in our individual selves. 

We needed space in our togetherness. The space came uninvited and nearly broke us until we learned to welcome it, celebrate it, grow into that space individually and as another separate creation. I say that we learned there is him ... and there is me ... and there is this entity that is us. All three of those things need love and respect and time and energy. 

ten years ago.jpg

So from the the year of hell ten years ago to this day at the end of March 2017. Here we are, stronger than ever.