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Damn, girl.  It’s been a hell of a ride, in every sense of the term!  But we’re apparently an even more hellacious team.  As the rest of the world celebrates the pre-printed holidays on their store-bought calendars, you and I recognize a whole separate set of anniversaries of pain, pride, and process that only we know.

When the hurricane blows over and mine is the last ship floating, I look around perplexed, knowing I surely wasn’t skilled enough or strong enough to weather this storm. I clearly remember the times I was so upside-down, I was misguidedly bailing water into the ship and not out. I think, “It’s a miracle!” Then I look over and realize that you were bailing all the times when I couldn’t. You are my miracle. Of course you are.  We could only do this together, for better and for worse.

“Your spouse doesn’t deserve you,” is what we have each been told by the whores, the bigots, and the uninformed who loudly proclaim judgements on cases they know nothing of. I’m glad we were smart enough to know the truth: they were all right.  Our score is never even.  We don’t deserve each other.  We each have days, weeks, or months we fall apart and don’t earn the love that we share.  So we carry each other and burn the scorecards.  I like our game better than theirs.

Still, other people we have dearly loved have spoken devastating curses over us:

“You have nothing of value to add.”

“You are the worst of your kind.”

“Nobody cares what you think.”

“You shouldn’t be together.”

“You should kick your spouse to the curb.”

“Good luck with a loveless marriage.”

The odds have been against us several times, so a lot of people have told us they wouldn’t bet on us, but I wouldn’t bet against us. We kind of have a thing going, and I kind of like it. I think our scars are deeply beautiful, and our struggles only make me love you more.  You were the one I wanted for a million reasons, and you’re the one I still want, for a million more that I didn’t know about, and maybe didn’t even exist back then. 

But we were not soul mates by destiny, which is a relief since that’s not a thing anyway. We are soul mates by work, by dedication, by resolve, by love, by choice. My soul chooses yours. Let’s go.  We don’t have to depend on feelings, luck, or that special spark, though it would seem we are currently rich in all three.  Unfortunately, we’ve been fortunate enough to see the dark, harsh winters where none of those could be found. In some terrifying storms, our ship has dipped below the waterline and we lost sight of the horizon. Submerged and un-inevitable, we have fought with all our might – and then some – to remain buoyant. And somehow we keep finding the surface, forever scarred, matured, and emboldened for the experience.  I think you’re amazing.

So we sail on, hopefully through more peaceful waters for a season, knowing that what sets us apart can’t be seen by fellow travelers, except by those with the keen eye that is only awarded to those who boldly war with Poseidon. It’s the eye that recognizes the repaired mast and the mended sails on another vessel, letting you know: that crew is my people.  They’ve seen different storms than we have – some by their own foolish navigation, and some handed to them by fate. But we share an awe of the depths of chaos, and we both have a greater respect for perseverance, ingenuity, and personal triumph than we have for composure, procedure, and certainty.  I’m thankful I haven’t had their journey, and I’m sure they wouldn’t want mine; but they are our people. 

Others might accuse me of thinking we’re special, but I probably just come across that way because I think we’re special.  I think you’re special. I don’t see anyone like you out there, and I don’t think most people are pursuing what we are, the way we are.  But you have the eye of Poseidon.  Amidst a vast expanse of relational disappointments, you have led us toward our people.  You could because you are my people.

So I am peacefully, humbly grateful that we chose each other, held space for each other, made each other.  I couldn’t have known what this voyage was going to require, so I had no way to know you would hold the perfect compass for the places where my map ended. Some will claim it was God or luck or commitment.  And of course it was.  I’ll claim it all.  But I think it also requires at least a daunting and constant dose of vulnerability, compassion, and a more piercing love than is comfortable to believe in.

But whatever it is, let’s take it and keep exploring.  Let’s stay curious and dance with the fear. let’s fail in new ways and learn. Let’s go through, instead of around.  We’re still writing our story, so let’s do another 40 years. Of problems. Of pain. Of victories. Of change.  Of hills and valleys; unimaginable ecstasy and unexpected horrors.  They’re gonna come anyway.  Being alive isn’t easy or safe, but I’d rather be holding your hand through it…til death does us part.  I have one shot at life and you’re still the only one I want to share it with.

New and happy May to you.  I hope you enjoy my cheesy slideshow as much as I did while creating it.  I love you.