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So Much Love

By Sheryl Paul
April 22, 2013

Sometimes you have to work through the walls of fear before you can experience the joys of love.


IMG_2203If I had said no instead of yes…

If I hadn’t given him a chance…

If I had listened to the lines of “We’re just good friends” and “He’ll be a great boyfriend… for someone else,” denying the undeniable draw I felt toward him…

If I had walked away from the first man who sounded home into every crevice of my soul…

…I wouldn’t be sitting here sandwiched between the two most precious boys I could ever imagine, a silver kitten making bread on the Berkshire blanket that warms us against the icy April wind, my solid husband painting down below as he keeps watch, his heart my home, the words so much love echoing through my mind.

I feel so blessed: this beautiful life sprouting like magic daffodils in the grass beneath each step; the gift of loving each other and all that has been birthed by our good, honest loving: our marriage, our kids, our home, our passions, our work in the world. If I had walked away I never would have learned how to address the fear so I could say yes to love, and then touch hearts around the world as I hold the lantern and show them the way.

Perhaps I’m making it sound easy, all kittens and daffodils. But there was nothing easy about this walk from there to here. We had a rocky start, then progressed to a deeply connected friendship, then chose the romance and sailed into a two month float on a calm, September sea. It was easy at first, nice and connected and romantic in all the right ways. And then in November our boat hit an iceberg: my wall of fear. By January we were hanging on by a thread. With the help of a master therapist and our devotion to growth and learning, after reams of dialogues and hours of crying as I shed the old ways and the false beliefs, we found our way back.

Here we are, in this blessing of a life that would never be had we not slogged through the swamp of fear and remained devoted to ourselves and each other. We’re still devoted. Marriage isn’t a one-time choice but an ongoing commitment to soften into our hard edges and let go of the myriad ways the fear and control attempt to keep us separate. It’s a commitment to take loving action even when you’re not feeling loving, to show up even when you’d rather hide in a hole. Marriage is at once a known entity and completely mysterious as you forge a shared life with your best friend and realize that there are places that you will never know or touch in one another. It is union and separateness, closeness and distance, connection and disconnection. The sweetness lies in breathing into the ebb and flow of marriage without holding on too tightly to the open places. The spaciousness lies in remembering that we will always be learning about love, and that there will be elements that we may never learn.

I could talk about the challenges, for there are plenty. I could talk about the qualities in my husband that I don’t like, and he could just as readily tell you about mine. But right now, in this moment, all I see is the love that grew from our love. I see my husband’s best qualities passed down to my sons: his goodness shining through their eyes, his passionate creativity exploding through their play, his science mind, his love of words, his kindness, his thoughtfulness. When the gratitude floods me, I run with it. I write about it and express it and share it with everyone around me. It’s the water that helps the garden of our marriage grow.


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