I’m so lucky I married someone who shares my faith. Let me assure you, we have our challenges, like any married couple (see my post “Floss Picks,” for example), but spiritual incompatibility isn’t one of them. I’m not talking about the doctrinaire kind of faith, as in adherence to a particular set of beliefs or a strict set of teachings. I mean the quality of faithfulness, the desire to connect to a power or value greater than ourselves in the full expectation that whoever or whatever it is matters and cares, loves us all, and will respond. In spite of all the evidence to the contrary – corrupt, mean people, bad days, undeserved illnesses of our friends and families, great injustices all around, loss and heartache, car accidents and malware and all the other shit that happens to us, Love is our source. Fred Rogers (aka “Mr. Rogers”) says it so well (if you haven’t seen the documentary Won’t You Be My Neighbor, then I recommend you do so, STAT): “Love is at the root of everything. Love, or the lack of it.”
For me and John, we share an upbringing in the Episcopal church that has given us a shared vocabulary through the years, but I’m not talking about that. What I really appreciate about John, and our relationship, is that we can talk frankly about our spiritual lives, which often means about our doubts: Have we done right by the kids? Are we living up to our own expectations that we do some good in the world? Should we be spending so much money on landscaping every year? (There’s a one-percenter’s problem, if ever there was one…) It also means that when we have tough decisions or disagreements before us, we hold our fears and struggles up to God-as-we-each-understand-him/her/it in the expectation that this exercise will be illuminating – a new job, a difficult conversation, a worry about a family member, these are the sorts of concerns we meditate on together. And you know, it always helps, every time. Although not always in the way we expect, which I suppose is the point. He’s an unusually soulful man, my husband, and I love him for it. It’s made things easier, especially in the dry years, the periods of inattention or languor that are inevitable in a long marriage, that we “get” each other in something as squishy and otherworldly as a thirst for divinity and meaning. It’s not a quality the world prizes much, although I have yet to meet a person whose life hasn’t come up against the need for faithfulness. And y’know, not to get too personal here, but it’s sexy.
On Sundays, we’ll often meditate together, using a reading as a jumping off point to ground us. And then we talk or walk the dogs, and the layers of insight unfold naturally, like a flower in the sun. Little blockages and thorns that we may be feeling around a certain issue ease up. They don’t disappear, this isn’t magic, nor does it substitute for taking action. But a little daylight trickles in that helps us see something in a new light, and that’s all we needed.