just one year later . . .

two weeks ago, as i was reorganizing my art cabinet,
i stumbled across a lone black spiral notebook.
a perfect square,
6 x 6 inches;
a cozy, comforting pocket to tuck away
small thoughts and hopes and dreams.
i opened it up to discover but one journal entry,
written exactly one year and a day previous.

it made me sad to read the words:
"hoping like mad that the impossible is not"

i remembered back to that lifetime of impossibility,
picturing myself slumped over my desk
on a hot afternoon,
trying to make art,
trying to make sense of my life.

i remembered back to those torturous weeks
in which i first allowed myself to speak my sad reality:
"i do not want to be married to my husband.
i am only staying because i made a commitment."

i knew he felt the same way about the whole ordeal.

eventually, i began to accept
that i was in a marriage
i didn't want to be in.
the only question was:
"how do you accept that for the rest of your life?
how do you live that way?
without love?
and with so much anger?"

i remembered not knowing the answer to that question,
but believing that there had to be
a way out
that did not include
a divorce,
a loveless marriage,
or an untimely accident
on a curvy mountain road
with a truckload of lammas
and sad '80s music playing on the iPod,
in which one of us died
and the other was left alone,
free to start over and try again.

i remembered not caring
if i was the one
who was left to start over.

but also, i believed there had to be
another tunnel out of this dark, terrifying cavern
we found ourselves in.
i was sick and tired of the options our culture was offering.
i was determined to see us find a new way.

i remembered watching another marriage
fall apart from a distance.
a marriage that i knew so little about,
but given the blog culture we live in,
i thought i knew so much.
and i was plagued with the thought:
"if SHE, the nicest girl in the WORLD,
can't make a marriage work,
where is there hope for me,
a cranky,
sometimes crazy,
often angry
and embarrassingly mean

it was a horrible time
for both of us.
the only thing we had
to buoy ourselves to
was the determination of two stubborn people
to make it work.

the same determination,
that was often misused,
unkind in its deeds
and dark in its nature,
an accomplice in the deterioration of our newborn union,
was now showing its lighter side.
the side that God created.
the side that knew even a little bit
about truth and love and hope.

we hung on.
determined to be faithful to our commitment.
not to each other,
but to our commitment.
and looking at it that way helped.

time became our friend.
we waited.
and stayed.
and waited some more.
we cried
and we yelled
and we let friends make us breakfast
and listen to our stories
and tell us that we were okay.
that we were loved.
that we were normal.

we read books
and sat in grocery store parking lots,
telling friends we didn't want to go home.
and then we went home.
we took a few short breaks apart,
always with the intent of reuniting.
we went to counseling
and played card games
and made love.

we endured a breast cancer scare
and realized how short life is.
and then we continued to fight
and make up some more.

what we did was, we lived life
when it did not feel livable.
we faced the shit
and asked for help.
and gave it time.

and it worked.

so there i sat there,
a year and one day later,
on the floor of my art room
in the home i share with my friend,
my lover,
my husband,
my companion,
and my sounding board.
and i gave a heart's worth of thanks.

what a different place we are in now.
just a few weeks ago,
shortly before i found the journal page,
i sat on a beach in oregon with herb
on my 31st birthday
and recalled the highs and lows of the past year.
with bellies full of good pizza and beer and wine,
we celebrated this:
time and honor and hope and prayer
actually have a place in this world,
in our lives,
in our story.

and we danced.
with the waves crashing behind us
and the harsh wind threatening us,
we danced.
it was a slow, close,
leggy dance of gratitude
to the wobbly and often misguided,
but ultimately faithful,
stubborn determination
that had brought us to today.



Blogger emily said...

thanks for writing this...you give hope cara...thanks for that.


3:13 PM, August 16, 2008  
Blogger Rhi said...

this made me happy, and tearful,
and hopeful, and grateful.
that we some how met, that we have somehow lived such similar stories, and that you are able to express it so beautifully.

4:46 PM, August 16, 2008  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you for being so refreshingly honest, brave, real, and beautiful! I am sitting in a place of shame, remorse, regret, and pain at the moment and your post made me realize that we are all just human beings doing the best we can...thank you, thank you, thank you!

12:03 PM, August 17, 2008  
Blogger allison said...

thank you for sharing this.
i'm getting married in a year.
and although i'm on top of the world, feeling like our lives will forever be a honeymoon,
it is so reassuring to know that even when times look so horrid, so miserable, so not even worth it,
two people can still honor that commitment and with time, and patience, and determination, can come to a happy place again.
thank you for giving me hope.

12:53 PM, August 17, 2008  
Blogger Melanie said...

i am so glad to read this.

love you guys!

11:33 PM, August 17, 2008  
Blogger Jennifer of Dog.Yarn.Knit. said...

i have tears in my eyes.

thank you for being so genuine. i am a firm believer that there is healing in the sharing of our stories.

1:10 PM, August 20, 2008  
Blogger Deanna said...

all of my love to you two...
what you've done should be commended.
remember the good.
learn from the rest.

11:55 AM, August 22, 2008  

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