12-years married

Photo 62

Yesterday, was our 12th wedding anniversary. It’s hard to believe how fast it’s gone. I posted this little tribute on Facebook that I would like to share here:

In summer 2005, we were homeless, jobless, and in the midst of a transatlantic move. All our possessions, consisting of a few favorite CDs, books, photos, and some old clothes, were contained in a couple of backpacks and a duffel bag. The US had what we thought was THE WORST PRESIDENT EVER and the world seemed to be going down the tubes with terrorist attacks in London and Egypt and hurricane Katrina all happening in quick succession. Yet we decided to give it a try and build a life together. Founded not on material things and financial security, but on love, trust, joy of little things and a whole lot of hope. Fast-forward 12 years, the world continues to be batshit crazy, we have THE WORST-ER PRESIDENT EVER, but all I feel is gratitude. For our family. For not being jobless and homeless anymore. But mostly, for all that love and trust and joy that we have shared together. I hope they will continue to sustain us for years to come.

I often think about how insane this world is and how we consciously decided to bring two new lives right into this insanity.

It makes me anxious at times, for sure.

But it also brings hope.

Our children’s love, joy, spontaneity, ingenuity, and openness give me faith in humanity.

And again, it brought back the words of David Steindl-Rast (there is so much wisdom in this conversation, be sure to check it out!) that hit the nail on the head in expressing my feelings, which are a mixture of trust, anxiety, and hope:

[…] when we look at things like global warming, or the destruction of the environment, or this uncontrollable violence that’s breaking out here and there […] I think that justifies us to say we are at the brink of self-annihilation.

However, we must acknowledge our anxiety about it. […]

But we must not fear. […]

Anxiety is not optional in life. It’s part of life. We come into life through anxiety. And we look at it, and remember it, and say to ourselves: we made it. We got through it. We made it!

In fact, the worst anxieties and the worst tight spots in our life, often, years later, when you look back at them, reveal themselves as the beginning of something completely new, a completely new life.

And that can teach us, and that can give us courage.

[…] Now that we think about it, in looking forward and saying, yes, this is a tight spot. It’s about as tight spot as the world has ever been in, or at least humankind.
But, if we go with it — and that will be grateful living — […] it will be a new birth.

And that is trust in life.

And this “going with it” means you look what is the opportunity […] and avail yourself of the opportunity.

And that is very difficult because anxiety has a way of paralyzing us. […]

But what really paralyzes us is fear.

It’s not the anxiety, it’s the fear, because it resists.

[…] Give up this resistance

[…] Everything hinges on this trust in life.

Trust.

And with this trust, with this faith, we can go into that anxiety and say, it’s terrible, it feels awful.

But it may — I trust that it is just another birth into a greater fullness.

 

“Start with what you have, not with what you want”

This morning, Humans of New York shared a picture of this spectacular lady in Moscow. Dressed in all white, with a snazzy hat and bright red lipstick.

This is what she said:

I’m ninety but I feel like I’m fifty.

I don’t take any medicine.

I never complain.

I’m just happy to be alive.

I tell people: “Start with what you have, not with what you want.”

Every day I dance for two hours.

And I’m still really interesting too.

I love politics and literature.

I love the sciences.

And I’ve got a boyfriend named Alexander.

We exchange books.

I don’t even know how old he is.

I want to be that lady when I am ninety. And it’s a process, but I am learning to notice and appreciate what I have.

***

There is this conversation that Krista Tippett (who is just the BEST) had with David Steindl-Rast last year. I like to go back to it every now and again to be reminded that even though we cannot be grateful for everything that happens to us, we can be grateful for something every second.

Steindl-Rast so wisely describes gratitude as a vessel, quietly filling up until it overflows.

He says:

It’s like the bowl of a fountain when it fills up, and it’s very quiet, and still.

And then, when it overflows, it starts to make noise, and it sparkles, and it ripples down.

And that is really when the joy comes to itself, so to say, when it is articulate.

And for us, for many people in our culture, the heart fills up with joy, with gratefulness, and just at the moment when it wants to overflow and really the joy comes to itself, at that moment…

advertisement comes in and says “no, no, there’s a better model, and there’s a newer model, and your neighbor has a bigger one.”

And so, instead of overflowing, we make the bowl bigger, and bigger, and bigger.

And it never overflows.

It never gives us this joy. Its’ affluent, this affluence side.

That means it always flows in, it doesn’t overflow.

It flows in, and in, and in, and in, and chokes us eventually.

And we don’t have to deprive ourselves of anything, but we can learn that the real joys come with quality, not with quantity.

Beautiful metaphor, isn’t it?

This ninety-year old in Moscow, she’s got it figured out.