Today I practice brave vulnerability and share my story with you all.
I’ve learned that plants can help us heal from emotional injury, help us come back from personal trauma, and help us recover from addictions. I’ve wept and rejoiced reading others’ stories! They’ve helped me and encouraged me to be brave enough to share a bit of my story.
Which happens to be analogous to this begonia’s:
I got two leaf cuttings from a family member several months ago, kept them in water for the trip home and then put them into soil. After a couple months indoors seemingly doing nothing, I moved them outside for the summer. They got beaten down and tattered by weather, and chomped and trampled by chipmunks, and one even disappeared. Although I continued to care for it like it was a growing plant, it seemed I was going to lose the second leaf cutting as well.
But so much growth must’ve been happening under the surface! I’m happy to say that even when completely severed and looking, for all intents and purposes, like it was dead; with a little love, growth and life took place! Look at the beautiful little sprouts coming from this homely, damaged leaf! LOOK AT THEM! ??
This got me thinking a lot about my marriage. My husband and I will be “celebrating 23 years of wedded bliss” soon.
I mean acknowledging and truly being eternally grateful for all our time together in this life.
And by “23 years of wedded bliss,”
I mean a 23 year duet of a complex, intricate, and ever-evolving song, full of heart-wrenching discord and heavenly harmony.
I know we’re not unique in experiencing marital difficulties. And I have zero judgement of people that find peace and closure in divorce. Please don’t take this as a “what you should do” piece. It’s actually and simply a “what we’re doing” piece. My hope is that this peek into our story will rally, inspire, encourage, and strengthen the bonds of my tribe.
So....the storms we’ve weathered, or some of the things that have severed and tattered our “leaves,” in no particular order with regard to timing or magnitude, include:
Miscommunication & poor start with in-laws
Long distance engagement
Breaking off of engagement
Living with parents
Starting a business
Buying a home
Selling a home
Buying a second home
Growth in different ways at different times
10 years of infertility
Several years of fertility treatments including
surgeries, drugs, procedures, & failures
Death of embryos
2 emergency C-sections
Damaging communication cycles
Occasional ? misinterpretation of words,
tone, facial expressions, and actions
Differing parenting philosophies
Different love languages
Personal and professional successes
Personal and professional failures
Disagreement about how 99 of 100 things
should be done
This list could go on, but don’t get me wrong. I could write an equally colorful list of divine highlights!!! Our marriage has produced two miracle (sprouts?) sons who exist and are who they are because we fell in love and are who we are. And our marriage has been filled with some of the most exciting thrills, fulfilling intimacy, and greatest joys I’ve ever known.
In my desire to be real, I felt the need to commemorate and communicate what this anniversary represents for us: repeatedly DECIDING to love and continuing to shower our tattered leaf with love and illuminate it with the light of truth.
We decided to choose to forgive each other; and decided to cling together through the scariest, most uncomfortable, and loneliest of times. We looked inward and worked together, not listening to the whisperings that intended to divide us. I honestly can’t say we made this decision every single day. It was shaky through some critical and pivotal moments. But ultimately, we made the decision to love each other. And we’re making that decision, over and over again. We draw strength from this decision. Because there is no strength to be drawn from feelings. They are shifting sand. Feelings alone couldn’t be trusted; because they come and go, rise and fall, ebb and flow, wax and wane. And all the facts, although they did not change; our responses to them, our acceptance of them, and our ability to own and overcome them are heavy with choice.
Dear, sweet JB:
I decide to love you.
I do love you.
I’m in love with you.
I choose you.
I choose to practice love with you.
I love you.
I love our sprouts.
Happy Anniversary Honey