That perfect line
Where sea and sky meet
Is where you’ll find me
Waiting, an eternity,
I wrote this poem when I was in my early 30s, experiencing the first of what would be many challenges in my marriage to a man I had met when I was 21. I was convinced I had made a terrible mistake by marrying my husband, and I became obsessed with the idea that my true soul mate was out there somewhere. I imagined him as my warrior mate in a past life, who was now off in some distant horizon, and that one day, in another time and place, we would be together again. I knew this because I could feel his presence in my soul as a longing so deep and intense it ached.
Then a therapist told me that my longing was a coping mechanism to get through my current reality. I was crushed. There was no soul mate.
I told my best friend. She shook her head and looked sad. “You’ve always had more imagination than anyone I know,” she said. “Remember when you got a crush on the Polish guy that worked at the liquor store just because he smiled at you?”
In my first, short-lived marriage at age 17, when things got hard, when they weren’t fun anymore, I left. I did not want to deal with having to fix, heal, or help another person. I wanted someone to fix, heal, and help me. I got tired of laundering his dirty socks and underwear, and of hearing his words slur more as the night wore on and he drank beer after beer. I wanted nothing to do with any of it.
In my second marriage, I resolved to stick it out, to endure, to think of others beside myself. I didn’t want to be that person who kept bailing when things got tough.
So I stayed, and as we moved through the roller coaster that was our marriage, I learned some things. Soul mates don’t have to be husbands or lovers, they can be our best friends, and marriage is hard, hard work. Yet I could grow in this marriage, with this man, and learn to love him in the depths of my soul.
And I have. Each birth, death, joy, sorrow, blessing, and hardship we face together entwines us more. If I am destined to live another life, it may be him for whom I long.
Here is a powerful scene about the excruciating ordinariness of life, and the difficult realities of marriage, between the characters Big Daddy and his son in the Tennessee Williams’ play turned film, Cat On A Hot Tin Roof (you can stop watching after about 1:15 minutes to get to the grit of it).