“…No man is an island, entire of itself…” ~ John Donne
My husband is gone again. He was gone for his two-week summer training for the National Guard, home for two weeks and now he’s gone again. He went to California to take Samantha for a month-long visit to her grandma’s (more on that later).
Before he left I insisted that he give me one of his deep, enveloping hugs and then told him, “I don’t like it when you leave me.” He laughed just as he always does when I get all whiny like that.
His absence causes me to ponder…
I have a problem. Just one. If it wasn’t for this one thing, I would be perfect.
Okay so it’s a big problem because it effects every part of my life. It’s my nemesis. It’s my best friend. Yin and Yang? Or am I just conflicted?
Here it is. Forgive me if I’ve mentioned it before–my natural wo.man creedo: I can do it all by myself! I naturally am an island. I want to tackle my world, my responsibilities, my future, my salvation all by myself. I can feel these desires seething in my blood on a daily basis. It’s a challenge each to day to tame it. I probably had it before this earth life. It helps me be successful and it causes me to make the biggest mistakes.
“No, I can do it!”
Just ask my mom. She raised me. Or at least she did when I wasn’t saying, “No, I can do it all by myself!” I can just imagine her relief when I let her do something for me, like comb my hair or pick out my clothes.
Going back five to ten years ago, any challenge that came my way, I would figure it out. Because I felt I had little support (part reality, part my own alienation from others)–I learned to feel like I didn’t need anyone.
And then divorce came. The ultimate act of “Fine, I can do it by myself then!” Yes, some pride. Yes, some inspiration. Yes, the right decision. But I learned quickly that I couldn’t do it on my own. My sisters dropped everything and rushed to my side. They carried me through some horrific days. A good friend called me and would say, “Come on. We’re going for a walk.” I learned to rely on people and appreciate them even more for their service.
A year later I met My Al. Now whenever he leaves for more than a day, I get all anxiety-like inside.
My behavior baffles this man of mine. A man who also learned how to live on his own island after leaving home at 16 and getting married for the first time at age 41. After 3 and 1/2 years with him, despite the challenge we have of getting our islands on the same planet sometimes, I’m still truly, madly, deeply.
He asked me once to explain how I feel for him. In case he’s forgotten (and he probably has in detail, but not in essence), here’s my needs-to-be-documented-in-my-life-history explanation:
At 9 years into my previous marriage, while praying, I was presented with a gift. My Father in Heaven let me know that my then husband would be an addict the rest of his life AND that I did have the strength to love and support him for the rest of his life. He also let me know that during times of darkness, when I needed to know true love, I should turn to him in prayer and I would be reminded what it feels like. And that’s just what I did, for two more years–until even more detrimental choices were made.
Now, that moment in prayer means more to me than it did then because it taught me two HUGE things: 1) There was a hole in my soul that needed to be filled–meaning, as much as I wanted to do things all by myself, I couldn’t and shouldn’t be alone in life or in death. 2)…
True love existed.
When my relationship with Al was forged, I felt that hole in my soul begin to fill. Because of my prayer, I recognized True Love when it came. He emanated the kind of love that comes from someone’s soul first and foremost. It didn’t come from things he read, the chemistry we had together, and it definitely didn’t come from his following tradition or any of those mortal things. It is a form of charisma he was born with. He was being true to himself. I still feel like I found a hidden gem.
Because I need him, because of what he teaches me, I’m learning even better how to not do things all by myself. Yes, he’s human and has flaws; he has made and will continue to make mistakes. And I believe I’m teaching him as well–especially that he deserves to be loved despite his flaws. We’ve had some really hard times in our few short years. We have a lot yet to learn. I’m not romanticizing him or us. I just know what I know.
True love. It’s simply the way things are with me. It’s a gift of the spirit.
Islands in a stream. That is what we are.