I Love You. I’m Not Scared.

I think I caught every available virus in the Czech Republic over the course of the the months of October and November. People warned me that the first two winters are rough while the immune system adjusts, but man, that was brutal. Consequently, I missed my annual post exclaiming to the world what an amazing decision I made by choosing to marry Andy Ten. Whole. Years. Ago. Coincidentally, it is Thanksgiving, so it’s a great time to revisit my gratitude for my favorite human on the planet.

As a teenager I sat through so many sermons teaching me how marriage is HARD, how you will grow to hate each other and have to find your way back from there, how you must be ever vigilant to stoke the fire or your man will wander. I remember distinctly a story in one of the marriage books we were given after our engagement about a pastor’s wife who never let her husband see her without makeup. She would wake in the early morning to apply it before he woke up and have him turn the lights off before she would come out of the bathroom to bed. And let me be clear, she thought this was a good thing. She was keepin’ fresh. I was appalled. Who wants spend their entire life hiding? At the very same time, marriage was almost worshipped as the pinnacle of one’s existence. I was confused and I felt like I would never be good enough, strong enough, perfect enough for somebody to love. By the ripe old age of fourteen I had decided I just wouldn’t do it. Ask anyone who knew me then, and they will confirm this.

After four or so months of dating, I filled Andy in on my plans to remain single. Forever. I gave him a list of reasons to not get too attached. I didn’t think I wanted babies. My anxiety issues make a vibrating chihuahua look calm. I wanted to live abroad…That list went on for a while. When I was done talking, lump in my throat, tears fighting their way out of the corners of my eyes, ready for him to walk away; he looked at me and said, “I love you. I’m not scared.” Every single day for the last ten years he has made good on those words. I am not afraid to let him see any part of my heart or tell him about any of my stupid actions. I am also not afraid to look at myself with love anymore. His acceptance, unconditional love, and capacity for forgiveness is more than I could have ever imagined from a partner. Sitting here, a decade on, writing this, I can tell you, he is the best decision I have ever made.

One of my favorite movies is Before Sunrise with Ethan Hawk and Julie Delpy. There are three movies in the series and they are unique in that it’s continual dialogue in what feels like real time. No changing of scenes, just lovely and brilliant conversion through gorgeous Europen city streets. So basically, my favorite things. One of my favorite quotes comes from their late night chat in Vienna.

“You know, I believe if there is any kind of god it wouldn’t be in any of us. Not you or me…but just this little space in between. If there is any kind of magic in the world, it must be in the attempt of understanding someone. Sharing something. I know it’s almost impossible to succeed, but who cares, really? The answer must be in the attempt.”

I love the thought of the real magic of the universe residing between us as we learn to love and understand each other. Thank you, sweet boy, for the attempt. Loving you is pure magic.