Sunday, July 25, 2010

The sacrifices of a modern woman with an old-fashioned heart

Marriage is sacrifice. Full stop. Comma, comma, dash-dash.

I gave up my job and a link in my career chain to get married. That made me not so popular with quite a few feminists on both sides of the law. I was giving up too much, and giving away the power I had earned - independence via salary. This wasn't a popular notion in this day and age, especially since I wasn't marrying a wealthy heir to fortunes too great to lose in one generation. But was it worth it?

This is a question I have often asked myself when things are hard; when there are kinks in the marriage that seem like permanent roadblocks without detours. It usually takes a while, but in the middle of the impasse, if I get quiet enough, I ususally find my answer. The thing is that it is in those very moments that threaten to break us that hold the solutions that we seek. I feel the love between ESC and myself strongest in those intances where we struggle, knowing that even though we walk in the shadow of the valley of death, we walk in faith and commitment to see it through.

It is because I have given up so much that I have made space in my life for so much more.

It is akin to cleaning out your closet and giving things to others. You simply make space for additional blessings to flow to you. So it is with love.

My grandmother always told me that you should never give away that which is not good enough for you to wear. I sacrificed things that were very important to me, in the faith that I would find greater gifts down the road. I was making space. I am glad I did.

Sometimes we ask for too much. We want it all and all at the same time. But how is it possible for a cup to hold three times it's volume at once? Sometimes you just have to pour out some into another cup to make space for more.

I hail the work of the feminists who burned bras so that I would be free to make my decisions. I decided that I would allow my man to be a man and that I would find strength in being his woman and that there would be perfect balance in that.

Looking back, we have had to work through lots of change and the repercussions. I moved hemispheres. We got married. We have over 60 years of single life combined that we traded for the uncertainty of plurality. People do not give enough focus to new marriages and how much the first year sets the foundation. It is hard, dueling, back-breaking work and if both parties are over-worked and over-stressed from intense career pursuits, many things get lost in the confusion. It is the very fact that I have not been working full-time that has helped me and us to wade through all this.

I have also been able to find my centre like never before in my life. I am at peace. And if I get anxious, it is fleeting because now I know exactly how to tap into my source. I have learned to listen to myself and trust my wisdom. I have learned to be happy with little stimulation. When my husband gets stressed and uptight about a significant work challenge, I am aware enough to pick up on it and nip it in the bud. I can sense it in his sleep, in his eyes, and in his spirit because I have had the energy and focus to be so in-tuned. My management experience and even some of my own mistakes are useful in helping to guide him in leading his team. I am part wife, part friend, part professional mentor, spiritual and life coach. We are my job. I am my job.

I have worked my way through the depression of seclusion and the loss of my identity as a professional. It's amazing how much we overcompensate with our careers when other areas of our lives (personal) do not measure up. Once I was stripped of that, I struggled to find other things about me worth being proud of. I struggled to find who I was without a power suit and perfect TV makeup. The power dynamics changed. I was suddenly powerless. I was no longer boss of anything. I no longer had the bigger salary to be secretly puffed up about. But I found my way. One day at a time. One step at a time. I left the darkness of our studio and stepped out into the sunshine and I fed my mind, body and spirit with goodness and love. I was worth loving even if I didn't earn my own salary as a testament to my worth on this earth. Then, I found my fulcrum.

There will be days when I am going to have much on my plate and I will have to be able to meditate in the middle of the clutter. There are days when work and children and hubby will demand more of me than I think I can muster but having had this adult gap year to tap into me, I know I have found the tools to navigate the roughest seas and maintain my inner peace.

I take nothing for granted. I see each day as a miracle and I am grateful to bear witness. Nothing is certain, but we live in the hope and faith and awareness that "All things [indeed do] work for good."


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