When someone goes into shock their body shuts down. It’s our body’s built-in, last-ditch effort, coping mechanism. In lots of ways I think that is what happened to me this past month. I just shut down. I stopped writing, I stopped running. I stopped believing…almost. I still held out hope. I sheepishly held onto that piece of fabric Harry and I have been weaving together and nursed the seam. I checked each stitch wondering if the thread was strong enough to hold us together.
And that’s about all I could do is sit and ponder and hope. I didn’t want to take my eyes off that seam because I was so afraid it would unravel. But I’m starting to come out of it. Not only are things going well between Harry and I but we are possibly growing closer.
Let me explain.
We bought tickets on the Love Boat to Fantasy Island and 5 miles into a 20 mile journey the engine quit and we had to either paddle the next 15 or head back to shore.
I don’t know why I thought this boat would be any different. As wonderful as it is (and it is) love is not for the faint of heart. Real love is never a cushy, easy ride.
But the island seemed so perfect. It had everything we could ever want or need for the rest of our lives. Safety, security, beauty, riches, pleasure.
It would have been easier to go back to shore. We could have parted friends and said, “Better luck next time.”
But this was love and the island was so enticing. We looked at each other and said, “You really want this?” As if on cue we both rolled up our sleeves, picked up our paddle and with only our wit, skill, and will, we tried to get that love boat back heading in the right direction.
Sometimes he paddles harder than me, we’ve gone around in a circle a couple of times. For a while we were heading in the wrong direction entirely…but we keep talking, and learning, and after the initial difficulty our bodies are adjusting and we are getting stronger.
No matter how you get there, if you get there, you ARE there.
So where is there? Well that’s the funny thing. In the midst of all of the effort I am realizing something about that island. Yes it does have everything I ever wanted or needed. It does and more of it than has ever been offered to me before. But that island has other things too. There are bugs, and scary animals that bite, and dirt, and rain. When we get there after all this hard work…it’s going to keep being hard work. BUT that’s NOT BAD.
Maybe it’s better if you have to work harder to get there. Maybe we’ll know how to work as a team better. Maybe we’ll be healthier. Maybe there will be more appreciation and pride when we arrive. And maybe neither one of us is stupid. We both know that thoughts and dreams about the island are always better than the reality. And maybe…just maybe…the extra effort we are making to get there in the first place will help us survive on that island. Maybe if that engine had held steady we would have been too soft and unprepared for the bugs and dirt and bites we’ll get while we’re there.
Yes it was a wake up call. But it’s also been on the job training. The journey is preparing us. And I know I’ve probably said this before and it really didn’t pan out for me that time. BUT DAMNIT I don’t want to stop believing. And Harry is not Slimeball.
There is a song that says, “Dreams are nothing more than wishes and a wish is just a dream you wish to come true.”
Are we crazy to think two people in their mid-forties can join their lives together and live happily? Only if our dream is perfection and only if you add “ever after” to happily. Only if we think when we climb out of that boat we’ll be greeted by Mr. Roarke and Tattoo. It’s not going to happen. If we ‘re lucky there won’t be hostile natives. If we’re lucky we will get a chance to gather wood to build a house and a fire. Because that’s life. And happy we can be but we will be happy at times not ever after. Life just doesn’t work that way. But it will be worth it. And it will be great.
I just pray to God he doesn’t bail over the side of the boat before we get there to take an easier more recognizable route. I pray that when the going gets tough and he feels weak he just rests a while and lets me paddle and we stick together. There is no way I’m looking back to shore now.