Twenty-eight years ago today, Tom and I dismissed superstition by getting married on a Friday the 13th. We were so sure of our decision, so confident of our love and our future together, that we challenged those centuries-old superstitions to a duel.
Well, of course they just turned tail and ran, because they could see for themselves what we already knew - Tom and I were meant to be together. Love trumps superstition any day.
But being meant for each other doesn't mean you can just join hands and skip into the future through a field of daisies. It's more like joining hands and jumping off a ledge together into the unknown. You have no idea what's ahead of you but you decide to take that leap together, trusting the other one to be there with you whatever happens.
It doesn't mean you're always going to like each other, much less see eye-to-eye on everything. All it means is you have someone to share your joys and your sorrows, someone that is going to love you at your worst, physically and mentally, someone that believes in you and wants the best for you, and who, with one look, can ignite a warm tingly feeling inside of you that sets your heart to beating fast and makes you smile for no apparent reason. And you can see without being told that you have the same affect on them.
But how did we know this was IT? Now that our own kids are reaching the age we were when we got married, how do we explain it to them when they ask us how they'll know when they've found "the One"?
I've scrambled around for the words, but I realize I can't tell them how they'll know. That's something between them, God and their hearts. All I can do is pray that they'll know.
And I can repeat the Story of Us, how after just a week of seeing Tom I got a feeling inside that this relationship was more than just the two of us having fun.
For me, it was a scary feeling, not a warm bubbly one. What was going on? I knew Tom was going to ask me to marry him, and I knew I would say yes, and that scared the hell out of me. But once I said yes, I shooed all those tiny doubts out of my mind. They served no purpose except to block the giving and receiving going on between us. And that's why I was so sure of us that I was able to turn Friday the 13th into a day to look forward to, rather than fear. From that point forward, it has been our lucky day.
You can have many loves in your life, but there are some loves that lift you up above yourself, that make you believe in yourself and want to be a better person. The best person possible. For a marriage to work, both of you have to feel that way. It could happen when you're a teenager, but it might not happen until you're in your fifties.
But whenever it happens, both of you have to treasure that feeling, not take it for granted. Don't just show the best part of yourself to the world, and the worst to this person because you know they love you anyway. They deserve the best of you, not the worst, because they love you. I admit that hasn't always happened with me and Tom; I'm glad we're both stubborn enough to have held on to each other over the years despite ourselves.
So I think what I would tell my kids is this: Concentrate on living your life, on being the best possible "you" you can be, on searching for and following the path that has been laid before you. But keep your eyes and heart open, because when you least expect it, you'll realize someone else's path has connected with your own, blending with it. If they make you better than you were before, or maybe just more "you" than you were before, chances are that's the One.
At least, that's how it happened to me. But then, I got lucky.
Happy 28th Anniversary, Tom!
I'm so glad that when you crossed my path, I had my eyes and my heart open.
I love you!
From Kahlil Gibran on Love and Marriage
When love beckons to you, follow him,
Though his ways are hard and steep.
And when his wings enfold you yield to him,
Though the sword hidden among his pinions may wound you.
And when he speaks to you believe in him,
Though his voice may shatter your dreams
as the north wind lays waste the garden.
But if in your fear you would seek only love's peace and love's pleasure,
Then it is better for you that you cover your nakedness and pass out of love's threshing-floor,
Into the seasonless world where you shall laugh, but not all of your laughter, and weep, but not all of your tears.
Love gives naught but itself and takes naught but from itself.
Love possesses not nor would it be possessed;
For love is sufficient unto love.
Love has no other desire but to fulfill itself.
But if you love and must needs have desires, let these be your desires:
To melt and be like a running brook that sings its melody to the night.
To know the pain of too much tenderness.
To be wounded by your own understanding of love;
And to bleed willingly and joyfully.
To wake at dawn with a winged heart and give thanks for another day of loving;
To rest at the noon hour and meditate love's ecstasy;
To return home at eventide with gratitude;
And then to sleep with a prayer for the beloved in your heart and a song of praise upon your lips.
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.