The Dear One and I are celebrating today. Eleven years together.
I am not easy. Ask anyone who knows me. I am intense, serious, a major introvert, more than a little selfish. By all rights I should probably have stayed single. But sometimes you find someone, and you are just plain bowled over by them, by where they came from, what they’ve been through and who they became despite (or because) of it, and you just lose your heart, and that’s all there is to that. So for eleven years we have been going forward together. It has been a ride.
In year one the kid moved in upstairs with the four year old. Bad plan. The kid moved out in a huff and left for California.
In year two we grieved together the loss of my mother and coped with the internship from h*ll, during which I thought I was going to lose my mind, and likely would have if not for Dear One's calm and sensible presence steering my ship.
In years three and four we got me through the completion of my thesis, my licensure exams and the launch of my career as a therapist, at the same time we dealt with the premature end of Dear One’s academic career due to the effects of a brain injury.
In year five, Dear One’s long lost mom was found and came to live with us for nine months.
In year six, we came to the decision that the only way I could deal with my horrifying student loan debt was to join the National Health Service which meant that we would probably be living apart for at least the next five years.
In year seven, the year I lived alone, I began the process for local ordination. This call came as a kind of surprise to us both and meant that we needed a serious rethink about the future as it no longer appeared that my relocation was temporary.
In year eight we put the house on the market in the city and relocated the whole kit and caboodle of our lives to this small prairie town where I had built a life and community, and Dear One was a stranger. Two months after the move we grieved the loss of Dear One’s mother, known such a short time after a childhood apart.
Years nine and ten have flown by as we have built this little life we never really planned in this place we never thought we’d live. My Dear One, non-liturgical Norwegian Lutheran by birth, Southern Baptist by detour, now yoked up to this liberal, mystical, liturgy-geek Episcopal priest, not quite sure what to think about it a good percentage of the time. Easygoing to my hyper, flexible to my not-so-much, we seem to work. There have been some rough patches. Times we have both wondered about the wisdom of this undertaking. Of the two of us, I have come closer to giving up. That fits. I am the less hopeful, the less tenacious of us. But I have learned to be faithful, to hold on. I have learned from Dear One, that it does matter that we wait, and waiting together is better.
And so it goes for us. And on this eleventh anniversary I say, thanks Dear One, you’re teaching me a lot. It’s a good ride, let’s go again.