For Whom I Long

That perfect line
Where sea and sky meet
Is where you’ll find me
Waiting, an eternity,
My sweet.

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).

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15 thoughts on “For Whom I Long

  1. Your post is touching, Kim! We too often fail to recognize and appreciate what is standing in front of us and already in our lives. And look for a soul mate or a better job that might even not exist. Though, in my opinion, only with time, failure and life experience I find that to whom I long too: was just the real me.

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    • Svet, I appreciate your non-judgmental comment, and also how sweet your last statement is. The real you :). Isn’t that really what it’s all about? We love ourselves unconditionally, we can love others unconditionally. We accept ourselves, our real selves, and we can accept others. Thanks!

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  2. Marriage is love and is based upon our ability to work at developing a relationship that will last over the years. We do grow to love each other as we cultivate and blend our beliefs for the good. I have found that through the trials we have grown much closer due to commitment, faith, and a family support system that encouraged us. I enjoyed your share and thoughts on love.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Dee. I love what you say about marriage is our ability to develop a relationship that will last. That is so true, and that’s where the hard work comes in. For me, I feel like our love has evolved over the years, from that crazy in love (or lust) at the beginning, to romantic love, to affection, to co-loving our children, to that deep, residing love that emanates from the soul. I expect it will keep evolving. You are blessed to have a family support system. Thank you for reading and for your comment. Have a great night!

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  3. Thanks for sharing Kim. It all rings so true to me. There was a man before my husband whom I thought was my soul mate. I left him heartbroken because he was abusive. My husband and I didn’t have the best start in our relationship. I fell pregnant ‘out of a hat’ as they say. We are both stubborn and both from broken homes so we were determined to make it work. That’s nearly thirty years ago. We both had times we wanted to run away but we stuck it out, had two more children and kept fighting for our little unit. My man became the love of my life and our marriage keeps getting better and better.

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    • Charlotte, this is so inspiring! Thank you for sharing your story. I love that you say you are both stubborn, it made me smile. This is what TV and novels don’t tell us, the truth of all the hard work that is marriage. I’m sure if we interviewed 100 couples who have been married many years, we would find that at least half went through hard times or had not-so-great starts, but chose to stick it out. It’s really about the committment. Abuse, of course, is never acceptable and it’s good you got out.

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  4. I like this Kim, mainly because it’s made me think a bit. I’ll have to ponder this for a minute. Until then, I think folks out to really watch the whole thing. Also, thanks for a new word, “mendacity.” I’ll be thinking about what you wrote and this word, together to see what it means for me personally.

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  5. I think so many of us grew up thinking there was a perfect soul mate for us out there. Someone who knew exactly what we felt at all times and who fitted perfectly into our lives. And then we married a real person, and realized that everyone has rough edges that can cut and wound us when we rub up against them. But if we truly loved that person, then it is worth the effort and hard work that it takes to make a real marriage work. And, as you so eloquently stated, the reward is the “perfect” love that we wanted all along, just in a messy, human form.

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    • Yes, Ann, reality can be tough. I think the world is doing many people a disservice sometimes by making us all believe we have to marry our best friend and soul mate, find our perfect dream job, live a life of passion and adventure every day. It would be nice if we could, but most of us can’t, and that’s where disappointment can come in. My grandmother was a great model for enjoying life’s little moments and it wasn’t until recently that I was able to really understand what that meant. It’s a practice that requires being present. I’m working toward that. Thanks for your thoughtful comments!

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  6. I’ve had 3 marriages and didn’t stick any of them out. I have always wondered what would have happened if I had? I’m learning now that because of traumatic events in my life that maybe I didn’t have much choice in my ‘mistakes’, but still… I feel badly for the folks I hurt in the end. And maybe if I could have pushed my way through stuff, it might have turned out OK.

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    • Thank you for sharing this. It’s hard to see and think straight when unconscious traumas from past events may be driving our choices without us fully realizing it. Marriage can certainly be a huge challenge for some of us. My father is on his third marriage, my mother is twice divorced and her most recent ex-husband is on his third marriage. I think we do what we think is best at the time we are in the midst of experiencing it. There may be regrets down the road, but what’s done is done. As I mentioned in another blog I commented on (The Off Key Of Life), I love the quote from Oprah, when we know better, we do better. Life is a journey of growth and learning.

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