I wrote this piece several years ago, and it pops up as a reminder every year on our anniversary. We are going through a growth season right now, and so I share this here as a way to remind myself of what really matters……
Let It Go
He came home empty handed.
2 empty hands.
His shoulders slumped. Eyes downcast. The tone of both his body and his voice said he’d had a hard day. His words were few and tired.
“Are you okay?” I asked.
“No. I’m not.”
“What can I do to help?”
“Nothing, Angela. Nothing…” and he shared the pain of knowing how helpless he is to change the lives of some children. The frustration of throwing his passion into all only to be met by equal amounts of persistent ignorance and purposeful defiance. Brokenness. The sadness of understanding that some people are content to stay broken because broken is all they know.
Give him space. Read to the children to quiet the noise of the house. Let the man breathe.
“Poppa! Poppa!! Momma got flowers because today is your wedding day!!” shouted an excited 6 year old.
His shoulders slumped. Defeated. Another failure?
He rose. Got dressed. Left the house.
I had made one request for our anniversary: a box of chocolates.
He’d come home with two empty hands.
He returned with a bag of chocolats and apologies. “This,” he said as he offered his gift, “this is not the best of my anniversary gift to you. The best is a glass of wine and snuggling up on the sofa to hang out.”
Don’t you dare crucify him.
About ten days ago, I saw a necklace in a store. It spoke to me, but I didn’t buy it. I thought again about buying it last Friday, when I was out Christmas shopping for others. But I didn’t. I thought about the necklace again yesterday afternoon and the feeling was SO STRONG that I wanted to buy this gift for myself for my anniversary. I had a funny reason why in my head, but I sensed that there was a deeper reason I should have/wanted to have this necklace. So, in between the post office errand and taking the Littles to play at the park, we stopped at the store and I bought the necklace.
It’s a simple silver circle with three words on it.
Let. It. Go.
I know I’ve not got this marriage thing all figured out. Over the years, I have had many doubts, many fears, many tears. I wish I had known at 2 years, 4 years, 6 years, 10 years…what I know now.
This is marriage, My Friends: Holding your tongue and holding space for grace when expectations are missed. Let. It. Go.
This is Lover’s Lane
A little over 15 years ago, I met a passionate young man on Lover’s Lane at Hope International University. He leaned in to smell the perfume on my neck, and I knew in that moment that he was the man I would marry. I know, in the quiet parts of my heart, the ones that can’t hear the outside noise in my head, that I made the right choice.
We don’t have our own cute hashtags.
….official date nights twice a week.
….exotic vacation photos to share.
….a ton of money and a beautiful house.
So, what makes it work? Why stick around?
Because he never comes home empty handed. His hands are full of the hopes and dreams he has of the difference he wants to make so that—ultimately—he can make my dreams and the dreams of the three little people who call him “Poppa” come true.
Because I’m learning to empty my own hands of the expectations I have of what marriage is “supposed” to look like. I’m learning to love the one I bought, instead of pining for the one I once sought.
Because, together, we are more than we are apart. He speaks, and I write out his brilliance. I think, and he helps me speak power. He connects everything, and I try to help him focus on the pieces in front of him. I line everything up alpha-chrono-chromatically, and he tries to help me see the bigger picture.
Because today I wear a new necklace that is a reminder of what 14 years has taught me. Let it go. Have a look. Acknowledge it. Feel it. And Let it Go. It’s a mantra that is starting to influence every relationship in my life, including my relationship with Life itself.