Friday, February 14, 2014

Still, I Fall

Black is the color
of my true love’s hair
His face is like
A rose so fair
He’s got the sweetest face
And the strongest hands
I love the ground
Whereon he stands…

~ Black is the Color
Irish Folk Song (modified for “him”)

Ah, Amore!  The agony.  The joy!  The blush of new love, the rush of romance; thinking of your beloved each moment of the day, imagining his hands touching every part of your body; anxiously awaiting the next conversation, the next kiss.  Falling in love is the easy part—any fool can do it—but staying in love, I think, calls us to fall in love again and again over the lifetime of our togetherness.   

I want to remember it all—each moment of awareness, each insight into his depth, each time my heart breaks open, just a bit wider, softened by the light of what’s real and true and vulnerable between us.  Like these five moments that pulled me in a little deeper, reminding me why I fell for my sweetheart; f-a-l-l-i-n-g in love all over again.

1. It’s both.  When he met my Grandmother I wasn’t quite sure what to expect.  But there he sat, knee-to-knee with the matriarch of our family, as she fired off question after question in her gentle, southern way.  “What do you do for a living?” “How long have you two been courting?” “Who are your people and will we like them?”  He answered each question with patience and care, and when she asked, “Is this a real thing or a play thing?”  He responded, “It’s both!”  Yes, he was serious about our relationship, he told her, but we also played and had a lot of fun together too.  Hearing this, my 80-something Grandmother took his hands in hers and just laughed and laughed. I. Fell. Madly. Deeply.

2.  Bald for a cause.  A participant with St. Baldrick’s Foundation, my sweetheart has been shaving his head to raise money for child cancer research for more than seven years.  This year he will be anointed a Knight of the Bald Table for his many years of service.  I love his philanthropic nature. I’ve known this about him since we first met while volunteering at Children’s Hospital.  But last spring as I watched him on stage getting his head shaved before a cheering crowd of friends and supporters, he glowed.  In that moment I understood what my friend Jenna meant when she described another as being made of “wind and light.”  He was.  It made me love him more.

3.  Minding the mundane.  We had big snow that day so I worked from home.  But under pressure of a big deadline at work, he ventured down the canyon in the dark of morning where he stayed all day.  Yet, after a tiring day at work, traveling in hazardous conditions, he stopped at the market for groceries and picked up dinner before heading back home.  As he helped me unpack the shopping bags, stocking our fridge with fresh organic produce, my heart melted in adoration for the Man who takes such good care of me. They say, in love, we each feel like we're the lucky one. I knew that I was. He minds the mundane with a patient and glad heart. I will never take that for granted. 

4.  Spooning the Furry.  I heard him in the bedroom one Saturday morning, speaking in low tones.  I thought he might be on the phone.  I had been in the kitchen cleaning up after breakfast and as I started towards the bedroom I saw them together, lying on the floor spooning.  “You’re such a good doggie,” he said, stroking the Furry’s head; “We love you so much.”  The dog was in bliss! I stood there watching them, bathed in sunlight from the open window, just hanging out together, until he saw me in the doorway and gave me a smile. I thought my heart would break.

5.  The brightest light.  For our first married Christmas together, I found a fabulous tree.  I had been busy that day decorating and making the house more festive when he took off for town.  He returned a while later with excitement.  “Look what I found,” he said, unpacking his shopping bags and lining the counter with two-dozen soft white LED candles.  Then he carefully placed one in each window of the house, even the super high windows close to the top of the cathedral ceiling in the living room that required a ladder to reach.  As I watched him move about with enthusiasm, to me, he was the brightest light of all.  I could not have loved him more.  Or could I?

Day by day, in a thousand ways, still, I fall…