Friday, March 6, 2009


"Faith is taking the first step even when you don't see the whole staircase."
-Martin Luther King, Jr.

I'm trying to understand something. In my life, there has been a confluence of messages lately, and I want to know what they mean. I am praying for clarity.

It has something to do with being willing to take a risk, but it's a risk that doesn't sound so risky when I explain it to myself. Our marriage counselor keeps describing it as a risk...remaining in this marriage. Working things through. Trying.

And there is clearly a risk, as I've seen how bad things can get for both of us. My husband has been very sick in his addictions, and I've followed him right to the bottom. But that's not the risk that I keep finding, facing me, everywhere.

The risk is to be willing to be loving to the person I love most in the world.

It should be easy. It should be natural. It used to be, but it isn't anymore, or it wasn't. It's getting easier again, and it's getting easy quickly.

I bother myself when I can't be clear. I am chasing my tail with this stuff.

For weeks and weeks, my husband and I could not get along. We couldn't stop criticizing each other long enough to remember that we love each other very much. We became enemies, guarded and fearful and defensive, and we really were trapped in our mess. It's better now, suddenly, without much reason. I changed some things, and he changed some things. For a while, I thought it didn't matter that I'd changed some things, but I realize now that it just took him a little while to notice. It took me a while to notice his changes, too.

One of the lessons I keep learning is that it's not possible always to understand. I always want to understand. I want to know what's happening because I believe so much in the power of my mind. If I can figure stuff out, I can fix it. I can change the variables and rearrange the outcome.

But none of my machinations work. They never have. They take my energy, and that's all.

What has worked to make me happier, to make my relationship with my husband richer, and to make everything more peaceful in my life is loving kindness. When I come home, I talk to my husband. I smile at him. I give him a kiss and talk to him about my day. He tells me about his. I don't offer any opinions or suggestions about what he's done or what he should be doing. Things are the way they are. It's not my way. I love my husband anyway, and today, I want to be with him.

So maybe there's not a risk. Maybe I've finally found a fool-proof plan. Letting go and letting myself love the man I love...