It’s you and me, baby. You and me against it all.
Except: We’re not alone. We’re in that triangle of a marriage the preacher-man told us about: God at the top, us at the bottom; balance. That sounds good to me, a blessed union. Come on in and make us whole.
This feels right.
Hold up. Someone else just crawled into this bed, and this one is bossy, bossy as all get out. It’s the Navy, baby. We invited him. More truthfully, we begged him to join us, excited to meet him; never knowing he’d take the head seat at the table. He can be charming, no doubt, and we love him on the days he’s not being ruthless, but there’s a lot of those. I’m not so sure about this guy, baby. I’m not so sure he belongs here. I don’t know that I like how we act when he’s in charge.
But wait, who is this? This feisty bundle, all velvet forehead and tiny furious fists? Half me, half you; oh this one, this one is for keeps. This one breaks my heart open and makes me see love can be terrifying when your heart is outside your chest wearing a onesie. And then: another one. He’s chubby-thighed and smile-dimpled; we’re done in. Absolutely enamored and drowned in love and exhaustion.
Baby, I know we chose this. I know we wanted it all, but there’s not a lot of oxygen left in this little home. It’s becoming hard to breathe.
We grasp at our lives, trying to verbalize some form of hope that will make us stop feeling like we’re being tossed around in a relentless set. When we don’t know which way is up, when we are starting to lose oxygen, we try to kick someone out for more room to breathe.
Kick out God and we’re absolutely lost. Kick out the Navy and we’re broke; the dream: done. We look at each other, both knowing we’d rather die than go back to a time before we knew what it felt like to hold these squirming, demanding, beautiful babes in our arms.
Suddenly, it’s too easy to look at each other and say:
It must be you. You must be the reason there’s no air left.
We become a tree, blaming the seed we grew from for the weight of the storm trying to break us; swallowing the great lie that maybe all of these branches are just too much. On the worst days, we buy in and simmer in blame. But on the best, we laugh.
On the best days, we laugh at the futility of blaming the person who is us, one and the same. When marriage gets crowded, we choose to move toward each other instead of away, knowing it is possible to be alone in a crowd. We push away bitterness instead of each other, and choose to sit close.
We sit close, hold tight, and find that suddenly we remember how to breathe.
“Storms make trees take deeper roots.”