Quiet Truth.

Quiet Truth.

Someone told me a story Friday morning and it left a big impression. In it, a rare bird tells a haughty prince 3 great secrets that wind up changing his perspective for the rest of his life. Saving the story for another time, it was one of the bird’s pieces of wisdom that sparked a great need to speak from my heart.

A few weeks ago, I was working outside on the patio at my favorite café. At a table close by, there was a marriage official meeting with a couple discussing their upcoming marriage. He mentioned a novelist and poet by the name of Rilke, who wrote about marriage in a unique way. I heard the word “space,” and it sparked my interest, so I looked “her” up. It was then I learned about René Karl Wilhelm Johann Josef Maria Rilke (4 December 1875 – 29 December 1926) (a him, not her)—better known as Rainer Maria Rilke, who is most known for his contributions to German literature. I finally found the piece the marriage official was discussing. When I read his words, they spoke to me in an important way.. Rilke so eloquently described the meaning behind a successful, loving marriage. Reading his words against a backdrop of a co-dependent culture, felt refreshing, and I couldn’t wait to share them with my fiancée, who I knew would value them as I do. Here they are:

“The point of marriage is not to create a quick commonality by tearing down all boundaries; on the contrary, a good marriage is one in which each partner appoints the other to be guardian of his solitude, and thus they show each other the greatest possible trust. A merging of two people is an impossibility, and where it seems to exist, it is a hemming-in, a mutual consent that robs one party or both parties of their fullest freedom and development. But once the realization is accepted that even between the closest people infinite distances exist, a marvelous living side-by-side can grow up for them, if they succeed in loving the expanse between them, which gives them the possibility of always seeing each other as a whole and before an immense sky.”

The above quote is an uncommon understanding of a great truth, for it is the space between two individuals who love each other so, that is sacred and must be guarded.

Just as Rilke spoke his truth, and so did the rare bird in the make-believe story I heard that morning, I need to speak my truth, quietly, clearly, and without expectation.

Life is never really as we expect it to be. We imagine that tomorrow will be just like today. But sometimes tomorrow changes our life forever. That’s what happened a year ago in July, when I saw her standing on the corner and she smiled at me with her eyes.

There is a common saying from mothers and grandmothers alike, that no one and nothing can prepare you for what motherhood will bring. In a sense, that saying is better said about meeting a human being that touches your soul, one that didn’t come from your womb. One that appeared in front of you, seemingly random, but with such precision you know it had to have been manifested in some way, by something bigger.

I loved her then as I stumbled toward her, pulled her close, and tasted her breath as she entered my heart. I loved her even before then, in the instant that I saw she would learn and grow with me. I won’t forget that moment.

She changed my tomorrow, and all my tomorrows thereafter. But an interesting phenomenon happens after our tomorrow changes. We start it over again, and we start to believe once again that tomorrow will be just like today. And so it goes. And it’s scary that life will never remain the same. Change is the only constant in this crazy life we live.

And yes, change is scary. Knowing that tomorrow will be different is scary. And on a grander level, consciously deciding to make big changes in our lives can be debilitating, if we allow it to. Yet, fear in itself is okay. If we didn’t have it, we wouldn’t be rational beings making responsible decisions. And so we challenge ourselves, and we make it through, because if we let fear stop us from allowing the right changes, we are likely to live with regrets.

In all the todays that she and I have touched souls, held each other (never close enough), inhaled the beauty we have as individuals, and the magic we share together, in combination with all the tomorrows, as we sifted through each other’s strengths and weaknesses, and worked our way through challenges, big and small, we grew in love. And I am ready and willing to accept all the change and the compromises that will come with merging our lives, forming a partnership, guarding the space between us, remaining individuals, keeping sacred the differences we have, while growing together, being there for each other, and loving stronger with each new day.

I read a few articles the last two nights before falling asleep, written by various teachers from the Kabbalah Center. The last one I read felt comforting. It was written by Karen Berg, one of the founders of the Center. She was reminiscing on something the Rav said. “When you are in a position where you don’t know what to do, don’t do anything. Allow the situation to evolve around you.”

This is undoubtedly one of the hardest things for me to do. It goes against my nature. It’s like exhaling in and inhaling out. I am hurting and yearning for her love, and despite her outward anger, I have an enormous feeling inside that she is hurting as well. And our pain may come from different places and for different reasons, but nonetheless, I want to reach out and hold her close to me, show her my love.

But, as this negative cycle continues, I’m learning that maybe doing what feels right isn’t working, that maybe breaking cycles that are negative means we have to go against our nature, to do what is most difficult. For me this means being still even when I desperately want to go to her. Maybe for her, this means reaching out and letting me in even when she feels the most closed off. I so humbly write these words, because I don’t have the answers.

I came back from dinner with friends last night that she would have enjoyed, pulled out a pint of custard, shoved in a handful of animal crackers, and secretly hoped she would show up at my door. And as I sit here under the changing sky, the warm wind rippling through my eye lashes, each time I hear a car door close, more hope that it’s her enters my heart.


Ps. Just now, as I was about to stand up, I noticed a small ant, fighting with all its might to pull a larger one to safety. It is a miraculous phenomenon to watch, a creature fighting with everything it has for something so important. The blades of grass are at least 100 times taller than its tiny body; yet, it pulls, grips, and re-grips, turns to move in different directions, and all the while it seems to be learning different ways to succeed. I know that it will. And I know in my heart that we can too.