Saturday, November 5, 2011

Easy Silence

My husband keeps the world at bay for me.  When I heard this song this morning, "Easy Silence," I wanted somehow to dedicate it to my husband.  It's not because our house or much of anything in our lives is silent.  The song made me think of him because his constant presence and support in my life brings me home to ease and silence, even in the midst of the whirlwind of life. 

When you meet him, you may not think of him as a quiet man.  His voice can be heard across a noisy restaurant or a bustling field of 4 year old soccer players.  When I met him 8 years ago, one of the things that attracted me was watching him sit outside of the main dining room at Club Med in a lounge chair, extending high fives to each person as he or she entered.  He likes to make his presence known.  I am just so thankful that he is present for me. 

Anyone dedicated to a spiritual path knows that family life, while fertile ground for growth, is also a minefield of disruptions and distractions.  Those of us with families, spouses, and otherwise busy earthly lives are what the yogis call "householders."  We have a particular role at this point in our lives that necessarily confines us to a certain type of spiritual practice.  We are not monastics.  We are not young seekers, able to travel light and devote all of our time to growth and study.  We are not retired adults in the winter of our lives, serenely dispensing wisdom to our communities.  We are in the thick of life, right now. 

My husband and I are very different from one another.  When we were deciding whether or not to commit long-term to our relationship, he said to me: "I just don't know if we are looking for the same things.  You are in a different place than I am."  That is still a true assessment of the two of us.  However, he supports me on my life journey more than any other person ever has.  He does not consider himself spiritual.  I still can't understand football rules well enough to intelligently discuss a Steelers game.  But he is the person who makes it possible for me to go to yoga classes at night or on the weekend.  He is the one who puts the spreadsheets together for our church's finances.  He is the one who encourages me to meditate at night before bed while he watches football and folds laundry.  He encourages me to read the Bible or the Yoga Sutras while he reads crime novels or historical fiction.  We can't always discuss what we read.  Our interests do not often meet.  But we make enough room in our relationship and our lives for the interests and goals of the other person.

My husband never gives me the third degree.  In turn, I do not question him or challenge him regarding his preferences.  I don't care about the way he dresses.  We don't fight over which television shows to watch.  If our TV is on, it's either Nick Jr., ESPN or Mythbusters.  I don't even like TV.  But I don't mind that my husband likes it.  I respect him and his choices.  He respects me and values what I value.  There is an unspoken mutual support between us that allows us to confidently engage in life.

We talk.  But there is no expectation in our discussions.  I don't try to make him feel better and I don't expect him to give me pep talks.  What's important is that we know what's going on with the other person; he knows what I am thinking about, what I am going through, what my hopes are.  I know when he is suffering, when he is enjoying something and when he needs space to simply be.  We don't fill our time together with a lot of chatter.  It works for us.

Every marriage is different.  Personally, I wouldn't want to be in a marriage where we had to do everything together, in step.  The nature of life is change.  None of us stay the same as we were on our wedding day.  We keep evolving, and the gift of marriage is to have someone there for you to support your evolution.

My husband keeps the world at bay for me.  He lightens every load.  He is the most steadfast person I have ever known...ever.  I am forever grateful for the easy silence he makes for me. 

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