That's Okay, Keep Going
We sat staring out the window of the ship. He was in his tux and I was in my wedding dress with feet propped up on the table. I glanced down the corridor as the cruisers took the mandatory safety class. They didn’t say anything to us and I wasn’t volunteering to squeeze the orange life jacket over my dress.
We had made it. It already seemed like a blur. There were so many stories to tell as it was quite the spectacle – far from perfect.
But I had walked down the aisle. There were tears, vows, and rings exchanged – all made official with signatures on a certificate. We were in it for the long haul. And the very words we spoke would be put to the test.
When I spoke the vows, I meant them, but for me I never thought about the things in this life that will put them to the test. I know how ridiculous that sounds, but it was just my positive outlook at the time. When you daydream, you don’t think about hard things -- you dream in a conscience state. So it’s all rainbows, smiles, and laughter.
We had been blessed with health, so I certainly didn’t think about cancer, car accidents, addictions, or mental illness when sliding on the rings. As I’ve grown older and witnessed the sickness and hardships all around me, I realize how narrow my perspective was in young adulthood.
A decade into our marriage, we brought our first son into the world. A couple of months later, we went through a life altering experience when I went through postpartum psychosis. We muddled through the many months following.
We certainly put the “for worse, for poorer, and in sickness” vows to work during that time. Holding on “to love and to cherish” brought us through the worst. Faith sustained us.
It was a season of tear soaked pillows. And he wiped the wet hair from my face each time.
Stuck living in the past, and never dreaming of the future – he grounded me in the present.
He filled in the gaps while living and breathing with someone who was a shell of her original self.
Dusting off his old guitar, he played my favorites and I would sing, transporting us to better times.
I sat broken, viewing myself as defective – he glued the pieces back together.
Am I worthy of love? I often questioned. He answered by always loving me even when I felt undeserving.
He held my hand all forty-five minutes home from the hospital the last time. I tried to sing some of our favorites – usually forgetting the lyrics. I would laugh or say, “I’m sorry.” And each time, he squeezed my hand tighter and said, “That’s okay, keep going.”
The more I messed up, the more he would say it… “That’s okay, keep going.”
And each time I felt less defective.
Each time, I knew I was not alone in the hard stuff.
He made me feel worthy.
Each time I experienced his love more and more.
And we kept going.