Thursday, February 14, 2008

I Know How The River Feels




This week for our youth group activity, we took the young women and visited some of the widows in our ward. We brought them some flowers and some homemade bread and valentine's day cards. And then we sang them a few kooky Valentine's Day songs, and ended with a pretty song about love.

We chatted with the ladies for a few minutes and even though it was fun, it made me a little bit sad. They just miss their husbands so much.

Over the last 24 years, my marriage has had it's ups and downs - like every marriage does. It continues to amaze me that any two people can really be compatible for that long a time. And you know what? Sometimes we aren't . When things aren't going all that well, what has kept us together is pure stubbornness on one or both of our parts. We just refuse to give up on it, or on the covenant we made with God when we got married, that through Him, we would stay married forever.

I have to learn and relearn, that when things aren't going the way I want them too, and I start thinking it's The Brain's fault, that's usually about the time for me to take a look at my own contribution. How long has it been since I made his favorite dinner? Or put on some lipstick because I knew he was on the way home? Or actually had clean socks in his drawer?

And once I start doing my part again, magically, like theater curtains opening up, I start to see that everything is still there, and when I actually, you know, make a contribution to the relationship, I get 100 times more out of it than I put in.

I've always known that I will be a widow someday. (Which is a pretty safe prediction to make, because I'll either be right or, well, dead...) And when the young women come to my house on Valentines day, I'm sure I'll be missing The Brain more than anything. But I have the comfort of knowing that what we had wasn't perfect, but it was incredible, and it will continue through eternity.

And when we see each other again, his eyes will light up like they do every time he sees me, and once again, I'll remember how the river feels.

22 comments:

Kris Akarti said...

Aw, I love this post. You totally made me cry. In a good way, of course!

Tonya said...

That is the sweetest, most real post about love and marriage I think I have ever read.

My hubby and I are coming up on 15 years and when times get tough we just don't give up. It sounds simple but it's not (as you know) The trouble will come when one of stops caring and I don't forsee that every happening. Stubborness comes in handy sometimes :o)

Tori :) said...

Such a sweet post. I always tell Sei that I want to croak first. I don't want to be alone. :`(

Yvonne said...

So wise you are!!! It is hard work--each and every day!!! Thanks for the reminder.

I have a dear friend who lost a husband in a plane crash--that's part of why I think my marriage is so important to me. I'm so blessed.

Happy Valentine's Day.

Paul said...

Well said, Ms. Randi. I always struggle to articulate how I feel about marriage. The first thing that always comes to mind is, "It's lots of work!" But that sounds more negative than I like.

But it IS a lot of work, just like anything else that's worthwhile. And you feel so much pride with every year that passes. You just know that staying married doesn't just happen by chance - both people have really thrown themselves into it. And there's a quiet confidence that comes with that.

Heidi said...

Lovely post! Isn't marriage an adventure?

NG said...

That's lovely.

Heather said...

Wow, funny and profound.... you are quite the catch.

Thanks for the real glimpse into your "perfect" marriage.

Lauren said...

Aww, you know how to pull my heartstrings! That was lovely :)

Gee, I need to stop reading everyone's Valentine posts today...I'm at work, and crying...not a good combo!

The MomBabe said...

Ahhh, the real truth to a lasting relationship ;)

kristen said...

What a sweet post. The brain is lucky to have you.

Carrot Jello said...

I loved that.
happy Valentines day!

Kimberly said...

That's just so, so lovely. Thank you for sharing that!

Anonymous said...

I do not mean to take away from this beautiful post. But lonely is not only for widows. There are many many divorced women out there who are dieing from loneliness. They are never considered by ward members as being 'there' or being alone. The theme throughout the church is that divorced women chose their path. At Christmas time the YW/YM always do good things and visits for the widows in my ward. Divorced sisters are never visited nor are they ever thought of. Widows are always thought of for any help they might need in repairs, etc. Divorce does not have that advantage. Those women are a 'threat' to wives. We usually do not have help..repairs, etc. A LOT of times we do not have have home teachers because wives do not want their husbands visiting divorced sisters. I had a HT that always put in 100%...but he never showed up on my doorstep. There is a big line between widowed and divorced. And divorce comes in way, way down on the totem pole in the Church.

I don't mean to put a downer on your post. But so many people do not realize how it feels to be divorced and still try to still be a good member of the church.

Melissa said...

What a wonderful post! I have to echo Tonya... that was such a real and sweet way to describe marriage! Thank you for sharing your thoughts :)

Paul said...

Anonymous,

Have you ever expressed those sentiments to your Bishop or Stake President? I could see how what you are saying could be true. But honestly, you're probably the only person that'll be able to change it.

Don't forget - the squeaky wheel gets the grease, and all of that. I would never treat a divorced woman in our ward that way - consciously. But I might do it subconsciously. As soon as I was made aware of my insensitivity, I would go out of my way to correct it. And at least in my ward, I think most of the men would do the same.

Anonymous said...

Paul...They know about it. And it's been expressed not only by me but by others also. One ward in my Stake has taken some action to see what can be done about it. But the church has an obligation to teach families. And the word 'divorce' gets in the way of that. So while I understand, it just hurts alot. It is something that will never be fixed. It collides with the Church's teachings.

Paul said...

Well, that's shameful. I would keep going higher in the food chain until someone started doing something about it. It reflects poorly on your Bishop, because the buck should stop with him on this type of thing.

Also, if you haven't already done so, you might also try talking with the Elders Quorum president and the High Priest's Group leader in your ward - at least as it pertains to home teachers. I do think it would be inappropriate for a home teacher (singular) to visit a single woman in her home - regardless of whether she's divorced or widowed. But it's not inappropriate for a home teaching companionship to do so. And honestly, a divorced or widowed woman is the person that needs home teachers the most.

As you said, it collides with the Church's philosophy. And that's why I believe it can and should be fixed. The human aspect of the Church keeps it imperfect. But I really believe the Church, as an organization, really tries to address "cracks" in the process when they are discovered. I hope you won't give up on it.

Sorry, Randi, to hijack your thread.

Nancy Face said...

I loved this...it was so sweet and heartfelt. Thank you for including the beautiful song! I really enjoy Diamond Rio, but I've never heard this one! :)

I loved how you talked about doing your part, and the theater curtains magically opening up...that was wonderful and amazing! :)

I'm so glad you gave the young women such a sweet opportunity to look outside themselves and give service. As you know, it blesses the girls just as much as it does the recipients!

kristen said...

Throwing in my two cents....

The church is perfect, the saints are not. Not every ward is created equal. As a single sister (never been married and live alone) my ward does a pretty good job of taking care of me. I got assigned fantastic hometeachers (which trust me, I've not always had that), and the youth with their leaders came and caroled to me at Christmas.

It's the High Priests that have the task of taking care of home teaching for single sisters. And yes, it should be a couple--not two men. I don't know your ward at all, but perhaps you have many members who don't step up; it's so hard to do what needs to be done when there's not enough 'faithful' to go around.

I know what it's like to feel lonely and forgotten. I really hope things change for you.

L.T. Elliot said...

I totally would rather be dead than a widow, simply because I can't live without my guy.

Beautiful post (I'm here from Heather's blog) and I loved that line about doing my part and watching the curtain open. I'll remember to do that more often.

Heather of the EO said...

Thank you for sharing this with me, Randi. I love it.

Marriage really does ebb and flow, and it's so true that when I'm starting to get frustrated, I do need to look at myself.

Thank you.