The truck hurtled toward me skidding on the gravel shoulder, stones spitting off the tires as the driver slammed on the brakes. The door swung open and Tom sprinted around the truck. He scooped me into a bear hug and kissed me hard right on the side of Kings Ranch Road.
“I told myself if I saw you walking I’d stop to give you a hug and a kiss!”
The smile on my face agreed with my words: “I love it!”
The great thing about love at this age, you don’t worry whether anyone cares that you enjoy a little PDA (public display of affection) and you certainly don’t care about appearances or acting your age. All you care about is that you have finally found someone who accepts you as you are and you revel in it.
Post-divorce when anyone asked whether I would marry again I answered no way! I meant it, too for at that time I defined marriage and love as responsibility. How many times has marriage been laughingly referred to as an “anchor” or the spouse as the “old ball and chain.” Those definitions are true for some, unfortunately, and witnessing the interaction between two people in a restrictive marriage makes one wince with their pain. As I considered marriage I created a list of pros and cons in my mind. Companionship dominated the pro side of the list, a big factor to be sure, but the cons weighted down the scale. It meant checking in with someone and letting that person know what I was up to at all times of the day. It meant they would check in with me whether I wanted to know their whereabouts or not. In a subsequent relationship post-divorce I was astounded when my weekend companion thought I should seek his approval before going out on my own during the week. It stunned me when he disapproved of my decision to go back to school. I wanted to do what I wanted to do when I wanted to do it. For I discovered post-divorce that singlehood was freedom. FREEDOM! Yes! In big, fat capital letters! Freedom to explore life, freedom to expand, freedom to feel young, and most importantly, freedom to be authentic; I couldn’t trade those things for anything or anyone.
Then I met Tom, a man who experienced those same feelings after his divorce. A man who accepts me, flawed as I am. A man I accept without reservation.
As I sit and write these words the small Navajo rug on the floor catches my attention. I found this rug at the thrift store for six dollars; it fits perfectly in front of the French doors leading to the patio. Blue, green, several shades of red, tan, brown and yellow are woven together in a central pattern bordered by star-like shapes. Simple yet pleasing to the eye, the pattern is a lovely balance of contrast and complement that softens and warms the room. It occurs to me that each, the contrast and the complement, are equally important. Tom and I share many values. We love the Earth and hold similar Spiritual values. Yet we are different: he is fiery red and I am cool blue. Some days we work together, some days we work next to each other and other days we separate but each evening we come together eagerly to share. As we do we are weaving a life together that puts each at ease. Our times together are soft and comforting even when we don’t agree, for we know that it is our differences that light the fire between us and our sameness that keeps the fire smoldering. Unconditional acceptance gives us the freedom to be authentic. Authenticity fuels unconditional love.
We don’t need marriage to live our life together yet both feel it important to celebrate our commitment and joy that we have found each other. And so we embrace the ritual fully knowing that it will not be a rite of restriction but a rite of expansion that will allow us each to continue to grow into ourselves and into our shared life.
I feel so blessed.