Faith, Family, & Focaccia

A faith and culture Mommy blog, because real life gets all mixed together like that.


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What I have learned in 14 years

Today is the fourteenth anniversary of the day Tyler and I made the most important promises of our lives. We loved each other very much, AND we did not yet understand very much about love, or what all those promises really meant. That ignorance was OK, however. It has been part of the gift of our marriage – the chance to learn together about love, and all the work involved in love, in the context of a commitment to do that work together, however hard or unexpected it might be.

If I were to make those promises again today, I would understand them very differently…. and I would mean them more, especially  the promise to love. I would understand love in a way that was much less romantic, and much more about the daily texture of a shared life. I would understand love as a shifted center that creates not just a partnership but a family, which then proceeds to shift the balance yet again. I would understand love as a willingness to stay still instead of walking away, even when you don’t know what to say and know that saying the wrong thing could hurt both you and the one you love. Most of all, I would understand love as a joy that is so much more real than happiness.

So, for my shared reflection today, I offer this love poem to my husband and children about all the things that they have taught me about love and joy in daily moments.


 

What is this joy?

 

What is this joy?

that fills like helium,

one deep inhale and I am floating, tether-less…

What is this joy?

that sets my eyes to dance

in rhythm with the eyes I gaze and laugh into…

What is this joy?

in gentle fingers twined

through my long, tangled hair to make it beautiful…

What is this joy?

that fills the silent space

with promise that the words will come if I will wait…

What is this joy?

that rides the swells

and troughs and will not sink beneath the rolling waves….

What is this joy?

that forms a solid core

for this togetherness of constant, changing life…

What is this joy?

this joy is love,

the virtue that can only grow… when shared.

 

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Lucky Thirteen: Day 13 of the April Poetry Challenge

I am not usually a superstitious person, and I have never been very convinced by numerology. On this thirteenth day of April, however, I am inspired by another 13, probably the most important of my life. Last August my husband and I celebrated 13 years of marriage.

It wasn’t our easiest year, but it was very important, and I learned a lot about love. So, today’s poem is my effort to share (and celebrate) those lessons.


Lucky Thirteen

 

It’s supposed to be unlucky.

Number 13…

the thirteenth floor,

the thirteenth day,

the thirteenth year.

 And in marriage, at least, this makes

So.

Much.

Sense.

Thirteen years after the wedding, the honeymoon is nearly

forgotten.

Life is full of

responsibilities and restlessness,

disagreements and distractions,

frustrations and foibles

that aren’t so endearing anymore,

Thirteen years worth of everything that pulls two souls apart.

 

But… all those reasons

are what made our thirteenth year

so lucky.

Not because we avoided all these things,

the pains and petty grievances.

Not because we proved our love exempt

from burns in the crucible of marriage.

 

But rather, because we didn’t.

 

It is so easy to become complacent,

to take for granted the presence

of a life-mate,

a companion,

a lover,

a friend;

to forget to practice daily gratitude in acts of care.

Until things start to rub,

to chafe

to scrape raw the thin veneer of passive toleration.

Until minor irritations begin to spread,

like a rash,

spreading across the skin,

the surface of daily interactions.

It is then that you realize the need for

attention.

The rash is not infected, not acute,

but if allowed to spread

it can compromise the entire body.

It requires gentle care

a soft caress,

a soothing balm on irritations,

the medicine of daily acts of love.

And in the simple things,

the ointment of paying attention,

of thinking once again

how can I put him first? her first?

you find the luck of being married

thirteen years.

Marriage isn’t magic.

And it’s not really about luck.

But…

here’s to hoping.

No!

to knowing

that the next thirteen years

will be just as “lucky”.

And the next thirteen.

And the next.

And the next.