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A Promise Made



I met her in 1976.

It was at a drama club meeting at Schaumburg High School, and I was sitting under a desk. When she spoke, I popped my head out and we saw each other for the first time. And since then, we haven't stopped looking. I see in her, the hope and the wisdom and the pride of everything I never thought I could be. When I didn't think I could do something, she told me I could. When I didn't think I should say something, she told me to speak. And when I didn't want to feel it, any of it, the love and the pain and the joy and the rage, she held me and whispered that it was about the journey, and not about getting it right. I didn't have to get it right.

When we first got married, I was a terrible wife. I was still staying out with my pals until 3am, doing what I wanted whenever I wanted, and rarely asking her opinion on anything. My life was my life and she was simply along for the ride. I was an inconsiderate spouse.

When we first got married, Chrisanne was demanding and emotional. She asked things of me that sometimes weren't fair and her emotions switched on a dime. Things would be great at breakfast, and by lunch, the rage would appear. She was a difficult spouse.

When we first got married, it was illegal in the State of Illinois. We were breaking the law.

And through all this, through the pain and the beauty of what we inflicted on each other, and the myriad of times we thought we'd never make it, there was always something that held us together. We've tried for years to figure it out, to pin point it, to analyze what exactly this thing was, but we came up blank. That's been a useless conversation. So we finally stopped. And then as the years went by, we learned from each other what marriage really was. And more importantly, what OUR marriage really was. We tried for the longest time to have other people's relationships. We wanted to have this thing we saw on TV, or heard about from our folks, and what we didn't believe to be true, was that, we already knew what we were doing. It was already in us. We didn't have to do it like anyone else. This was ours. We could do this.

And we have.

We re-grouped, and compromised, and said Yes, and opened up, and calmed down, and most importantly, we stopped Thinking. We stopped trying to be other people. We figured out who we were and what we wanted and where we needed to go, and what our individual gifts were and what we could do with them to better the place we inhabited. We cleaned up our own house, and it took time and it took patience, but it's never about the end result. It was about the journey towards it.

And then my wife had brain surgery three weeks ago and I slept in a cot right next to her bed for three days and I was never asked to leave or move or keep quiet. I am her wife and I was not only allowed, I was welcomed. I was treated by every nurse and doctor on that floor with respect and dignity.

The world is changing and it's cracking us all wide open. This is a frightening place to be and frightening place to live in. And it's not going to stop. This is the journey, for us all to hold hands as this giant monster hits the earth from a great height. Ignorance falls hard. And it's up to all of us to prepare and help it along. We have to do what we have to do, and sometimes that means speaking mildly, and sometimes it means the opposite. But we have to get in the middle of the fight by living in our truth.

I am the luckiest person I know because I married the grandest woman I saw.

And the world at large needs to not only hear that, they need to receive it, because this is who I am and this is where I'm headed. I have no idea what's next for us both, but I do know that whatever it is, and wherever we're going, we're going to do it together. And this time, even though it always seems like we're making it up, like we're trying to Un-Think, like we're flying blindly into the Universe without a parachute, we're holding on and we're praying hard.

And we're married.

And that's the greatest promise we ever made.

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