Isn’t that a cool picture? Those sweet faced folks are my in-laws. We celebrated their 40th wedding anniversary yesterday, and it was such a great day of honoring an amazing partnership. Brandon and I sang the song “Old Love” by the great folk duo Neal and Leandra (http://www.nealandleandra.com/). We went on a double date last year to a Neal and Leandra concert, and it will always be a dear memory to me. Here’s a sweet video of the song you can check out at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZEllSVSl36c.
So there’s no candy coating it. My parents are divorced. It was, and continues to be a beautiful tragedy. Beautiful because I can remember my parents being in love, laughing, playing, working well together. And tragic for the same reason, and because of all the factors that caused it to fall apart. I have spent a good part of my adulthood trying to reconcile my feelings about love, about marriage, about life-long commitments, about failure, about forgiveness. There’s no way to prevent the fall out that happens when a love ends, or maybe not the love, because how can love stop, or die, really, but when the practical day to day partnership dissolves; it’s inevitable that the kids will pay a price. No matter how hard you try to protect them. It will happen. It will hopefully make them stronger, and wiser, and more forgiving, and more aware… it did me. And I’m so thankful for that, no matter how hard it was, and still is.
The longevity of my mother and father-in-laws marriage is such a gift to me, because it gives me hope that Brandon and I could last that long. Their lives are not charmed; they’ve faced their share of struggles. And their lives are not innately tough; they have been showered with blessings. But they continue to sweetly flow, and figure out the next steps, to both blessings and challenges together, hand in hand. It’s nice to know that a life long love can be like that, isn’t it?
So if you have a beloved, be patient and kind. Be honest and true. Speak your desires, and listen to theirs. Know that the partnership of love does not require constant agreement. Learn to disagree. Learn to compromise. If you don’t have a beloved yet, or are in between beloveds, trust your heart to tell you where to look, and when you will know his or her face. (Speaking of which, there is a song for the beloved you haven’t met yet: “To Whom it May Concern,” by the Civil Wars: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OKygDoeIJBc)
And in just 32 years, Brandon and I will be 67 and 68 years old, celebrating our own 40th wedding anniversary. It’s gonna happen. Maybe I’ll still be here writing about it!
Om. Amen. Hallelujah.