I was driving in the dark late last week thinking of my upcoming anniversary and was quite suddenly taken with Orion in the night sky. This is an appropriate correlation, for it was the saint who introduced me to the stars. When we attended college in Redding (for all its faults, it has a fabulous night sky because of no city lights nearby), Joel and I used to stand in the parking lot of my apartment complex trying to tear ourselves away from each others' embrace to say goodnight, and he would teach me about the universe.
A while back, I asked my family to answer a question. I asked them to say one thing they would not have otherwise been interested in or knowledgeable about had they married someone else. At the time I said beer and science, but I think more specifically, I would never have thought to look up without my dearest friend lifting my sad chin towards the hope of vast possibility, of all that has been and could be, of the universal perspective.
I have been loved by good men in my life. I always chose wisely with men (save a small year of lapsed judgment in college where I worried the holy jesus out of my best friend, jackie), and have been thinking of them lately. I had one first love, he loved me from 6th grade to 11th grade, and was my first kiss and first intimate connection. He taught me to see myself as worthy of love. I can see his dark almond eyes wet with admiration for me, and I realize that I've had an amazing and enviable romantic journey.
I think of the few others and find love and admiration for them inside of me still. "Love does not with the remover remove," after all. Although they were all with their desperation and heartache at some point, and I do not pretend that I would have done several things differently, but I realized driving home under the stars with an eagerness to get home and show Joel how brightly Orion was beaming, that I am the only person in existence to travel this specific path...a path either destined or chosen, or both. Either way, I realized that I am unique, lovable, and incredibly happily married.
My first love...I believe he would be proud of me if he knew me now. I believe joel has picked up a mantel of great honor, to love a woman better than she's ever been loved AND to be loved in return.
Which is, after all, "the greatest thing you'll ever learn."
Happy Anniversary, Saint.
~your weeping willow