Never underestimate the power of two lovers;
their hearts beating in time
with the One who fashioned hearts.
– dona sofia
Ours, like any long journey of love, is a difficult love: tested, tried, twined, tangled, and yet somehow true. Life together has been good…and hard, two words proving to be synonymous when it comes to the marriage of James E. and Donna K. Wallace. Whether it was God, fate, or a trick of nature, we chose one another. The challenge has always been to choose again…and again, to love/ honor/ cherish (!)/ in illness/ health, poverty/wealth, til death do us part. We are asked to choose the chosen each new day and the next, and the next.
The choosing got harder before it got easier. Maybe we still haven’t arrived at easier. “Easy” is a default setting on personal ambition, boredom, work-aholism, our own agendas, nurturing new friendships at the expense of fighting for this one sitting across the dinner table repeating stories we’ve already heard, copping negative attitude, complaints about the day while eating meat, potatoes, and a vegetable.
I think of words whispered to me while flying from Raleigh Durham to Minneapolis/St. Paul. My seat mate, a friendly old southern gent leaned toward my ear and declared, “My wife said that she vowed to stay with me through better or worse, sicker or poorer, but not every day for lunch!”
Still, I didn’t want this union of ours, this marriage, this covenant, to go by unnoticed or to roll out merely by chance. I didn’t want to leave my kids with only the “yucky parts” –the bitter without sharing the full-bodied sweet. Isn’t this what archivists, scribes, and romantics do…excavate the pages of past history to find what is meaningful, or for meaning-making, and even with hopes of keeping it alive? Can we make sense of the ever-present polarity of both the ecstasy and the pain simply by writing about it? Might we find the joy inherent in the whole of it? I would soon find out. Here I set out to reminisce the old, grieve the losses, attend the now, create the new. And, even hope for a re-do, when and wherever necessary.
Call me a hopeless romantic, I want to celebrate “us” without erasing (rubbing out) or glossing over. And yes, unlike marriage, this account is written from primarily one point of view–mine. One should keep that in mind while reading.