Sunday, January 01, 2006

Let's start the new year with a little bit of honesty...

Jon and I got engaged on New Years Eve at a Long Winters show two years ago. That night could very easily be described as one of the happiest moments of my life. For the first time in a long time everything seemed to have fallen into place and everything I wanted was starting to finally happen for me. I had a great kid, I cleaned my ‘house of friends’ of toxic people leaving me surrounded with nothing but positive influences and I was in a relationship with the only man that I’ve ever truly loved. My life was a dream.

Somewhere in the back of my mind I always knew/hoped we would be together someday. It was the only truth that made sense to me even if to the outside world it didn’t seem to make any sense at all. When he stood up in front of all of those people and asked me to be his wife, all of the doubts and questions melted away. He confirmed to the world what I knew in my heart and soul all along.

Over the last year Jon’s work has taken him away from me so much. Between being on completely different sides of the world and living completely separate lives for five months, it caused a strain on the both of us. When he came home, things were not at all what we had expected. In fact it was quite the opposite.

It was akin to going back to the small town you grew up in. When you go home, the people look so much the same, you expect everything to be the same and it is hard to adjust when you realize people do grow and change. We looked like the same people, it is the same house, the same routines, but something was undeniably different. Neither of us could put our finger on it and it led to these feelings of detachment and resentment. It was like having a stranger in the house who looked like my husband that went away in July but who wasn’t him at all.

For the last few weeks we have been sort of dancing around each other. Doing what we could to just stay out of each other’s hair and not pick any pointless fights over ridiculous things. I went out with my girls and he retreated to his movies.

From the outside it looked like everything was fine, but there was a tension/silence surrounding our place that nobody wanted to be around, especially not us. Suddenly I was looking at the person who I would have pretty much given my life for over the last ten years and there was a stranger looking back at me. I’ve never been more afraid of loosing in my life. I actually considered that I might be living the last chapter of our beautiful story. I was heartsick over it.

Then after a very bizarre string of random events over the last three days, there was a shift and everything came into very sharp focus. Life handed me a whole bunch of challeges and epiphanies in a very 'It’s a Wonderful Life' sort of way.

Through the eyes of other people and other situations I was given perspective and realized that we had only been protecting ourselves from the pain of having to be away from each other. We had our shields up for so long that by the time we were reunited, we forgot how to take them down and let each other back in. We almost forgot for a moment just how completely lucky and blessed we are to have one another. If we lost this battle the loss would have defined loves tragedy.

Last night we rang in the New Year with The Long Winters again, as we did two years ago. Something shifted during the evening and it was like a floodgate opening. We reconnected and it felt like the night he proposed to me all over again. We laughed and talked and really opened up to one another again. He finally returned home and I finally opened the door to welcome him back.

I would like to say I regret doubting us for even a second, but I won’t. The doubt is what led me to explore in my mind the possibility of my life without him in it. That exploration gave us both a refreshed outlook on how much I really do love my husband and how lucky we really are.

What I learned this year is being away from the person you love is one of the hardest things a relationship will ever go through. Without even knowing it, your mind and heart will go into a survival mode to counteract the pain of missing the person you love. The important thing to remember is that if you allow yourself to let go and don’t keep things in perspective, the result would be a future filled with regrets. That is not an option for me.

I know it seems like a really private thing to post in such a very public place, but I feel like it is such a moving, life altering event it would be selfish of me not to. So many of you have read about all of the good times and shared them with us through me. People have told me that they really idealize the story we share. It is a great story, but every story has its plot twist and low points. That doesn’t mean the love is not good or as perfect as human love can get, it means we are only human. In reality, being faced with and then overcoming obstacles makes it that much better.

Life is hard, love is harder. If it is real you will fight to the end for it and you will overcome all of the obstacles that life throws at you. I almost let myself forget that, I won't ever make that mistake again.


me, myself and I said...

What can I say. Thank you for sharing what is a very personal thing. I am constantly amazed by you two.

It took great courage to look at your relationship through that microscope and I'm so happy that you guys have found yourselves and each other again, that I can barely put it into words.

You made me cry - again.

Earl said...

Fear of getting hurt, of losing, of being alone makes us do things that we don't always consciously know we're doing. The walls we put up to protect ourselves can be so difficult to deal with, especially when we don't realize they are there.

It sounds like you two are on the right track, Michelle. Cheers to a Merry New Year -


God bless you both. It is uplifting to see. God bless you. I hope that your lives continue to grow together.

God bless

Shawn Anderson said...

Thanks for your insight and honesty.

It can be a hard a enough strain leaving to go to work for 10 hours at a time, let alone weeks/months at a time, so your courage (yes, courage) to recognize the 'wall around your heart' (ugh... did I just quote Sting?) and start tearing it down is an inspiration. I think we all have a bit of a wall that needs tearing down (I know I do.)

Happy new year!


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