Tuesday, June 2, 2015

When Love Ages

A friend and former co-worker recently posted on Facebook an old photo of me and and my husband. It was taken less than three months prior to my giving birth to Noah in 2007, when some of my coworkers decided to throw me a baby shower. It was to be my first baby, and it was my first job here in this country so I thought the gesture was really sweet and I'll always be grateful for it. 


I've been staring at this picture for days now and I can't help but feel like it came from a lifetime ago. And it's not just because I weighed less then and looked much younger. No, I won't go there lest my friend (and the photographer herself!) Anne ends up lecturing me on loving myself more and to stop body shaming myself! 

It's really because when I look at these two people in the photo, I'm reminded of the simple times. He had an office job and so did I. We would see each other at the beginning and end of each work day, eat dinner together, watch shows at night before falling asleep and on and on it went. With the sensitive pregnancy and the hard work we put in just to conceive, I felt that my husband took such good care of me, like I was fragile and needed to be spoiled. I couldn't be stressed out, shouldn't be angered, or made to feel sad and depressed. I felt especially adored.

And then I gave birth and nothing was ever the same. I decided to quit my office job to take care of our son full time. The amount of stress became unquantifiable, the depression undeniable. Love and adoration were no longer just shared between the two of us. It had to be spread out to include our wonderful son. Worries and paranoia became permanent residents in my brain as I became consumed with my role as mama bear. And he, as papa bear, found new priorities, greater responsibilities and demands on his time. New stresses came as we faced the economic recession, threats of job loss, and then a new job and a new home in a different state, 500 miles away from what he's known most of his life. Far from his family and friends, it was the first time in our marriage when both of us found ourselves with a new sense of isolation and the need to reconstruct our reality as a couple and family. 

The joys are there for sure, though perpetually balanced by some heaviness, doubts, anger, insecurities. More than ever, we found ourselves as two beings with quite disparate axes, yet willing ourselves to stay on orbit as we are pulled and grounded repeatedly by an undeniable force.

Love. This must be lovethis force that is built by us and yet also bigger, more powerful than just our consciousness combined. It creates us and yet demands our nurturance. We know of its endurance, and yet also cannot deny its fragility. 

Love is when you surrender to what will make your beloved truly whole and happy, knowing that this act of death on your part only breathes more life into what truly matters and what is lasting. It is to feel a vulnerability so deep that fear takes over every inch of your essence. And this is why you can't fully love unless you have faithnot that your beloved will make you happy or give you what you desire, but faith that your mere experience of true love, without expectation, ALWAYS brings gifts to those it touches. When you learn how to truly love, your deeper understanding of it makes you recognize more of it around you as it fills you. When you learn how to truly love, you automatically feel the Divine's presence in your being. 

The younger version of us in that photo may represent a simpler, more romantic version of our bond. But I won't trade the complexity we have now for that past life. We have fought more since. Cried more. Screamed more. Hurt more. But we've also talked more. Opened up more. Experienced a greater level of authentic intimacy. We remain imperfect, as is our marriage. But Love
with all its gifts of devotion, courage, compassionremains our bright and persistent star that keeps us in orbit. It is that force that always reminds me that there are no other arms I'd rather have draped on my shoulders, holding me close, than his, my AJ's.

11 comments:

  1. What a terrific post Joy! I went through that same move with my husband back in 2011 when we packed up everything we owned and moved from KY to SC. I learned so much about us as a couple from my illness and move. It's a feeling of contentment and security that makes that love seem so unbelievably huge! I'm glad you have that too!

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    1. Aww, thanks my friend! You're right about mentioning security. That sense is important, at least to me. The less anxious I am, the more sane, the more open I become. And we all need that openness in order to both give and receive, don't we? Cheers, Rena! Hope you're having a great week!

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  2. This is beautiful and profound, Joy. Thanks for sharing.
    b

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    1. Thank you so much for your kind words, Barbara. Love is never easy. Relationships are hard work. But the growth we go through is priceless.

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  3. "And then I gave birth and nothing was ever the same."

    Can I relate to that! Having children totally changes a relationship. What a whirlwind time of life!

    I loved this post Joy. Absolutely resonated with me.

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    1. Thank ylou so much, Cathy! I'm really happy and touched it resonated with you. And thanks too for sharing so many life lessons through your posts. I hope you are well! xoxo

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  4. " I'm reminded of the simple times"
    I needed this entire post today.

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    1. You just made my day, Carla. Thank you and I'm glad the post resonated with you. :-)

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  5. 'Love is when you surrender to what will make your beloved truly whole and happy, knowing that this act of death on your part only breathes more life into what truly matters and what is lasting.' Love this. It's something that's been on my mind lately, as we prepare to take our next steps together.

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    1. It's an exciting and anxiety-inducing time for you and D, Janine, but I've 'seen' / read about your dedication to your relationship. As long as you are both committed to Love, I believe that helps keep us all on track. Hugs to you my friend! xoxo

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