I remember very clearly the first time that I met my now husband. I was a struggling actor waiting tables to make ends meet and he was the new sous chef at the restaurant that I was currently working in. My first impression of him was that he was an excellent chef. Beyond that, I did not give him any thought whatsoever. He was simply not the picture of a man that I thought I would ever be in a relationship with; much less marry. I was in my 20’s and I knew everything and most of all, I knew that he was not good enough for me. As a woman in my 40’s, I am embarrassed by the knowledge that I ever had such a thought. But more than being embarrassed, I sometimes look back to that moment and realize just how close I came to missing out on one of the most significant relationships my life. Cut to 21 years later and I can unequivocally tell you that my husband is altogether too good for me.
Sometimes, our most significant relationships take time.
The lessons about love that I thought I had conquered in my 20’s have recently come back to the forefront of my life. My husband and I have recently become legal guardians for my estranged brother-in-law who suffered a catastrophic stoke. Somehow, even though he has lost the ability to speak, we are, after all these years apart, growing in relationship with him. My mother and I have recently opened old wounds that have festered between us for years despite our extremely close relationship. Somehow, by saying the things that you are not supposed to say, we have found ourselves at the precipice of an even deeper understanding. I am beginning to understand that some relationships just won’t be rushed. I have visited with a friend who recently suffered a serious health scare and despite issues that were present before the scare, we greeted each other with open arms and tears of joy. The old adage remains true; don’t leave unfinished business with people that you care about.
As I said, the lessons have been coming at an accelerated pace these days. Ready or not, I have walked away from the shallows and am now swimming in the deep end of love. It is a vast abyss; it is varied and I can not always clearly see where I am going. It is a place where you never touch the bottom but rather discover that the experiences simply continue to deepen in a myriad of unexpected ways. It is a place of unknowns that the girl in my 20’s may have avoided but it is a place that the woman in my 40’s feels compelled to explore.
As if the analogy above was not quite trite enough, allow me to dive even deeper into it. Sometimes, it takes time to unearth the treasure buried in our closest relationships. These relationships require us to take the time to know ourselves better and to deepen our understanding of love itself in all its forms. They require our attention, our willingness, our patience, our commitment. They require us to speak our truth and to hear another’s truth in return. They require us to continually work with an open heart. They require nothing less than for us to put aside our fears about diving in as they implore us to embrace more meaningful adventures.
In the past several months, many of you have shared with me your own stories from the depths. In comparing notes about our adventures, we have enlightened each other with the wisdom that we have unearthed. We have become trusted diving buddies; encouraging each other to take a deep breath, jump in and explore even the most difficult depths with a sense of awe.
Here’s to never touching the bottom…