When you like a flower, you just pluck it.
But when you love a flower, you water it daily.
This week I’ve begun reading Awakening the Buddha Within. The above quote is often attributed to Buddha, but a quick Google search showed the author is unknown.
I know my marriage to Rick was strong and good. Sure, we had disagreements and sometimes had to flex to meet the other’s strong preferences, but overall we loved one another and were close. Many of those who sent condolence cards specifically mentioned how unusually bonded we were to one another. I agree.
Some time ago I heard marriage (or any loving, committed relationship) includes cycles of falling in and out of love with one another. This rings true for me – not that I think either one of us was ever “out of love” but there certainly were times that our affection ebbed a bit. Commitment does require effort (i.e., daily watering of the flowers), and for us, confronting challenges together often brought us closer again. We had to talk through difficult subjects – illness, money, residence – all subjects fraught with the possibility of misunderstandings and hurt feelings.
Rick faced serious medical issues for a long time. At first we thought it would just be a couple of knee replacements and rotator cuff surgery, but soon the big “C” (as my mother called it) entered our lives. With the initial surgeries, I probably hovered a bit too much – a clue might be that when Rick got the all-clear from the orthopedic surgeon to drive he was gone for hours, lingering at motorcycle and bicycle shops! As we entered the realm of cancer treatments, procedures, surgeries, and chemotherapy with the associated appointments and hospitalizations, we found our roles and rhythm. Rick was a spirited fighter who impressed his medical teams with his resiliency. He stayed focused on the big picture and I took care of the details. We leaned into one another for comfort on this difficult journey.
Our marriage became stronger because of the challenges we faced together. We had:
- Passion for one another,
- Respect for each other’s abilities, and
- Trust that we had each other’s back.
Laughter, new experiences, friends and family also contributed to the well-being of our marriage. So did the occasional bouquet of roses . . . .
Now it’s time to post this on my blog, go outside and address my infrequently watered flowers!