Updated: May 14, 2020
On our second date, he walked towards me dressed in a suit, with a rose in hand. It was a winter night, the 13th of February, and the rose would not survive the cold. So, I dashed back inside to make sure it had what it needed. He is now my husband and our lives look very different than the suit clad man with a rose in hand.
Love is a lot like that, ever changing, with the shape of life.
Back then, my heart skipped a beat when he walked towards me that way, that night. Now, my heart skips a beat when he gives the kids their baths. That’s not to say I don’t get all little-girl-giddy and my heart doesn’t still flutter when he brings me flowers, because I do, and it does. But the day-to-day ways of telling each other “we’re in this together”, and “I love you”, have taken on a new shape. Like water, love adapts to its environment.
Sometimes though, that change doesn’t always feel like the love you want it to feel like. Sometimes, that change feels like water flowing from a calm river into intense rapids where it becomes hard to focus on anything other than the coarseness. The just-trying-to-get-through-this, rocky bottom, quick, rough current drowns out all other thoughts but survival. In times like that, and this is easier said than done to remember, it is the fact that we’re riding in the same canoe towards smoother waters. We are getting through it together, and that in itself, is an act of love.
I don’t always remember that. More than I care to admit, my anxiety starts acting up, and I worry that he might abandon canoe. I forget that I need to use my paddle a different way. It scares him when I do this, for obvious reasons. When he gets scared, he forgets what way he is supposed to paddle too. And then we’re just sort of trying to stay afloat. Until eventually, one of us says “Hey! Let’s start over”. After a few attempts at getting back in the right direction, we can see the tumultuous part of the path has an end in sight. Sooner than we know, we’ll be gliding on that smooth glass, sun rise, perfect-reflection-on-the-lake’s-surface once again.
The point is that love doesn’t always feel the way we want it to. Sometimes it zigs when I was hoping it would zag, and I need to manage my disappointment, when it would have been easier to manage my expectations.
Sometimes, I’m totally blown away by the acts of kindness, and gentleness.
Most of the time it means we’re paddling together, in the same canoe, just being content to be along for the ride.