Anniversary Ode

Five years ago tonight, we said "yes" to each other. 
At the time, neither of us believed we were each other's soul mate...we still do not think there is such a thing. We weren't sure it was the right thing to get married when not everyone could marry who they love. We did not think marriage is the highest ideal of a committed relationship, rather a way of life some of us wish to choose. And though we understood that this chosen path would challenge and disturb us more than we could imagine, we had no real idea of the difficulty ahead.
What we DID trust and believe on that November night in is our ability to recommit to one another each day, to turn toward one another in humility and mercy, and to strive to learn the deepest lessons of love beyond preference, convenience, even emotion, by loving each other. What we have trusted - and continue to trust - is that we hold the capacity to ask for forgiveness, to find joy in one another, and, when things are dark, instead of "Why would you? How could you?", to ask, "What will we do together to take the next step?"
The depth of pain when trust is betrayed takes much time and effort to heal. Who I am now could not explain that fully to the young couple, bright-eyed and hopeful, on their wedding night. Yet, we chose the processional song, "'Tis a gift to be simple, 'tis a gift to be free, 'tis a gift to come down where we ought to be...And when we find ourselves in the place just right, 'twill be in the valley of love and delight. When true simplicity is gained, to bow and to bend we shan't be ashamed - to turn, turn will be our delight, 'til by turning, turning, we come 'round right." Somehow, in a deep place, I think we knew we would learn.
I could not have conveyed how hard it would be to walk the journey of becoming parents together, the anger and jealousy and physical exhaustion...and the alchemy of self-sacrifice that leads to miraculous beauty. I did not know that, through 43 hours of labor, Robby would hold me up, that we would birth Oak together, and that it would be the most incredible experience of my life. Yet, we chose the poem, "The ruby and the sunrise are one. Be courageous and discipline yourself...Work. Keep digging your well. Don't think about getting off from work. Water is there somewhere. Submit to a daily practice. Your loyalty to that is a ring on the door. Keep knocking, and the joy inside will eventually open a window and look out to see who's there." Somehow, I think we knew we would be taught the way.
Allowing one another to grow and flourish on our own paths while living and learning together is a challenge beyond articulation. How could that be told to any pair of people yet to spend years together? Yet, the ring with which Robby proposed reads in Sanskrit, "Ahimsa" - "Do no harm" by respecting the deepest nature of every being, including the one closest. And the words, "Blessed are the poor in spirit...Blessed are they who mourn...Blessed are the meek...Blessed are they who hunger and thirst for righteousness...Blessed are the merciful...Blessed are the pure of heart...Blessed are the peacemakers..." reverberated on the walls of the building in which we were married. Somehow, I think we understood the journey to come.
"Wherever you go, I will go..." That is our promise. Robby, I still love you with all my heart, perhaps more because I understand what we both have given, and realize I have no idea what we have yet to give, to make it true. Walking this life with you has reoriented my heart, expanded my mind, and given me a new directive. You help me to see "La Vie en Rose." You have nurtured me, tended me, and loved me beyond any capacity I could earn or deserve.
Today, I choose you, my love, to be my partner and fellow seeker, to hold me accountable and inspire me, to work with me to make the world, and our life, anew.
"Not in the dark of buildings confining,
not in some heaven, light years away—
here in this place the new light is shining,
now is fulfillment, and now is the day.
Gather us in and hold us forever,
gather us in and make us your own;
gather us in, all peoples together,
fire of love in our flesh and our bone."