This is Pace, and I’ve got a confession to make.
Ever since Kyeli’s arms stopped working, I’ve been feeling resentful.
Sometimes, when I’m outside in the rain hooking up the RV because Kyeli can’t twist the hoses, I feel annoyed.
Sometimes, when Kyeli needs me to carry something heavier than two pounds, I roll my eyes.
Sometimes, when Kyeli can’t help out with our business as much as I’d like, I feel angry and frustrated.
I try my best to be compassionate, but sometimes I fail. I think about how inconvenient this is for me, how it’s hard on me, how I have to do all the work now.
Does that sound wholehearted to you?
Writing and talking about wholeheartedness lately has helped me realize that I wasn’t wholehearted in my marriage with Kyeli.
I was 90%-hearted, sure. I wasn’t going to skip town. (Actually, we make a habit of skipping town, but I mean that I wasn’t going to skip town without Kyeli coming along.) But that last 10% can sneak up on you.
So I decided to get 100% wholehearted. Here’s how.
- Accept the situation as it truly is. Deeply acknowledge the reality of Kyeli’s disability, and of my emotional reactions to it. (This involved lots of Remembrance.)
- Vividly imagine all the wholehearted alternatives. Reject any halfhearted options. In this case, the only two wholehearted alternatives were being 100% wholeheartedly married to Kyeli, or divorce.
- Choose one of them with all your heart.
In this case, it was a no-brainer. (Or would that be a no-hearter?)
What my heart really needed was to accept what truly is.
I was story-stuck. I was wishing that I could be married to a fully able Kyeli. I was attached to something that doesn’t exist, and that attachment was causing me suffering.
So I let go.
And I will cling again, and I will let go again and again, in the spiral of letting go.
Once I let go of my attachment to the imaginary Kyeli, my love for the actual Kyeli, Kyeli as she truly is, was able to flow freely.
I wrote her this poem and read it to her, in a magical garden near the lost colony of Roanoke, in a gazebo overlooking the Atlantic Ocean:
Your heart is the largest I know.
I admire your desire to grow,
Your passion for fun,
Your eyes in the sun,
The way you breathe deep and let go.
Your love makes my heart ring alarms,
I’m head over feet for your charms.
Your courage, your smile,
Your absence of guile,
Note I did not mention your arms.
I want you, though it may be scary.
Regardless of if you eat dairy,
No matter your health,
No matter your wealth,
No matter how much you can carry.
Of you I think very highly.
Your love makes me happy and smiley.
You brighten my days
In hundreds of ways,
So please, will you marry me, Kyeli?
And she said yes.
We decided that we wanted new rings to celebrate our recommitment, and by serendipity, I stumbled across a ring that had been on her wish list for almost exactly a year – an amethyst inside a lotus. She loved it. I kept my old ring; I like that our rings are different but are both amethyst.
This Tuesday, February 12th, 2013, Kyeli and I recommitted to each other, with our eyes wide open. No illusions, no attachments to wishing either of us could be different.
We had a short private ceremony in sacred space in the Zilker Botanical Gardens in Austin, Texas.
And we’ll get married again and again if need be. As we continue to change and grow, we’ll keep our relationship always fresh, never stagnant; we’ll continue falling in love with each other all over again.
With all of our hearts.
“A successful marriage requires falling in love many times, always with the same person.” -Mignon McLaughlin