Our hearts and hands

Our hearts and hands

Nine years ago (this week), I stood at the entrance of a small, glass chapel in southern Brazil.  Inside sat a crowd of beautifully dressed strangers.  The women, painted like porcelain dolls, looked at me, then through me, as my layers of tulle were fluffed and my father tenderly took my hand in his.

“You ready?”, he asked.

I smiled that smile, looked down the aisle to my future husband,  and nodded my head.  Then I started down the satin runner.

I was not ready to get married.

I was ready to pick out a sparkling diamond, make seating charts and choose a delicious assortment of truffles.  I was ready to take engagement pictures, stamp and seal invites, and send for our set of ‘His’ and ‘Hers’ towels.  I was ready to select bridesmaids, a tiara and a gorgeous gown.

I was ready for a wedding


a marriage.

I thought I knew a lot.  And, looking back, I did about select things…a few things…teeny, tiny things.  But when it came to the big things, turns out, I was quite naive.

I didn’t know much about myself.

I hadn’t put in the time.

I hadn’t done the work.

I hadn’t removed my mask (you know the one) and peered into my ugly places; the ones we try to convince ourselves, and others, we don’t have.

In short, I hadn’t been real.  Not as real as marriage deserves.  Not as real as my future husband deserved.

My husband and I both come from what others have defined as “broken” homes.  My parents fell out of love, out of like and out of respect with each other.  In the end, they could barely breathe the same air without being covered by a thick, gauzy haze of dislike and disgust. My in-laws’ end was similar, but more amicable, which led their children to believe reconciliation was possible, if not probable.

During our courtship, we spent hours identifying their mistakes and planning how to avoid making the same.

“We’re going to do things differently.”

“We’re going to be happy.”

“We’re going to love til it hurts…”

And we have…

And. We. Do.

After 11 years together (nine of those married), I’ve learned a lot.

I’d like to think I’m more kind and less cruel.  More accepting and less judgmental.  More loving and less vindictive.  More appreciative and less envious.  More transparent and less dishonest.  More for us and less for myself.

I’d like to think that I know more than that 24-year-old who looked down the aisle and neglected to see her future standing there with moist green eyes and a smile laced with hope and possibility.  Who neglected to understand the gravity of such a choice


that she’d made the right one.

Maybe you don’t fall in love just once, but over and over again, with the same person.  The one who has seen you and your heart at their ugliest and chooses you through it and despite it.

Maybe that’s the lesson.

Maybe that’s all we need to know.

  One thought on “Us

  1. Sherry Beren
    September 9, 2013 at 9:26 pm

    Happy Anniversary! You certainly wrote the truth, it is my truth as well and your words are beautiful. Unfortunately, I did not find the kind of love you have until I was 40. I am sad that it took so long for both Rick and I to find each other, but we did and 5 years ago we started a new life. Better than ever before!

    • September 11, 2013 at 1:45 am

      I’m so glad you finally did, Sherry.

      And thank you for reading my truth and for finding slivers of yourself in it.

  2. Christina Barnett
    September 10, 2013 at 12:02 am

    The cool thing is that I don’t think you can find all those “ugly corners” alone. I think it truly takes giving yourself to another, loving with your whole heart, and deep abiding intimacy to even discover all the corners. Then true love, both from yourself and another, to accept those corners. Only after the acceptance, can a purposeful choice be made for change and progression. Love is a wonderfully amazingly hard road with the sweetest and most terrifying stops along the way. Who cares about the destination … the journey holds all the learning. Thank you for this post!

    • September 11, 2013 at 1:50 am

      I’m not sure…

      For me, I needed to find them alone. It was a sacred process and, honestly, still is. I love my husband more than anything and that love gives me the courage to delve deep inside to find MY truth. A truth that, yes, IS informed and shaped by others and my experiences with them. But the peering part…that’s all me. All. Mine.

      You are welcome for the post, love.

      I’m glad it made you think about your own journey.

  3. Lori
    September 10, 2013 at 4:16 pm

    Absolutely beautiful portrayal of honesty that almost all of us had experienced in life; but despise to admit with such transparency. Congratulations on getting through that 10/11 year time portion of time that seems to throw so many marriages off. Thank you for sharing.

  4. September 11, 2013 at 1:59 am

    Thank you, Lori. I think one of the saddest parts of being a woman is that sense of I-must-look/act-like-I-have-it-all-together. I think so much beauty is found in the truth of our ugliness and that transparency bonds us to one another. I have hidden in my ugliness for far too long. THIS is my opportunity to confront it and what I’ve learned/am learning form it.

    I’m glad you took the time…

  5. September 11, 2013 at 9:40 pm

    Happy Anniversary to both of you. “Maybe you don’t fall in love just once, but over and over again, with the same person. The one who has seen you and your heart at their ugliest and chooses you through it and despite it.” is definitely my favorite part. You really got what marriage is all about. Keep digging deep, dear heart.

  6. September 12, 2013 at 12:36 am

    Thanks, Sandy. I’ve got my shovel in tow… ❤

  7. bsanf0rd
    September 17, 2013 at 10:35 pm

    Um….i keep choking up reading this. I felt this way. Both parts, about the hurting & about the healing. Didn’t know you did. I guess not in this way. Thanks, Sister. ❤ xoxoxo

    • September 18, 2013 at 4:26 pm

      It took a while to process and to have the confidence to stand in my truth. Such a great process though, B.


Heart connections happen through comments. Please leave yours here.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: