Delight always begins and ends in We.
“We are a small but important part in our universe. We all have a part to play. We need each other.”
Flor lay in her favorite spot in the kitchen, catching rays of light through the opaque frosted glass door. She looked confused.
I was dancing on my knees, half a peanut butter jelly sandwich in my left hand, arm stretched high, gesturing in sync with Macklemore’s track, Glorious.
I feel glorious, glorious
Got a chance to start again
I was born for this, born for this
It’s who I am, how could I forget?
“God, thinking we’d enjoy ourselves,” writes Fr. Gregory Boyle, “That God’s joy may be in us and this joy may be complete. We just happen to be God’s joy. That takes some getting used to.”
Taryn, was in and out of the kitchen relaying instructions and ingredients to Levi, who was helping her make strawberry kombucha on the other side of the apartment.
“Where can we write down what we need from the store?” I asked, as she entered to re-fill a cup of strawberries.
I had pulled out the last trash bag from underneath the sink which had placed me in the kneeling position in the first place.
Shortly after asking, Jakob emerged from the living room where he and Lucas had been playing with Duplos-oversized Lego blocks-the ones easier to use for smaller children.
He had been on a creative roll and was donning a very cool spaceship. I approached him delighted, redirecting him back into the living room in order to check in on Lucas together. Come to find out, Lucas also had a quite mean train built, equally lost in his own play.
Re-joining Lucas on the floor, Jakob, content with himself and the feedback he received, sat down and acknowledged his own delight in the situation-uttering the words-“I love you, Lucas.”
Saturday morning. Tasting delight. Paying it forward. Forgetting ourselves through play. Sharing in the phenomenon of We.
“I want to partner fully with you in every part of our life,” I said, proclaiming my highest intention within my marriage.
I had just gotten off a call that had me feeling inspired, one day last week.
“Tell me more,” she said.
I was beaming the truth of the energy behind the statement and she felt it. So, she asked for more.
The truth is, I was wanting more of the same of what we were already learning to create for ourselves-equal partnership inside our marriage.
My inherited models had placed me in a dominant and entitled position in the past; where I consider my time, interests, and work in the world, supreme, all the while watching my ego hide, justify, and defend itself; playing the victim when not getting its way. An avoidance of true maleness, which is naked and unabashedly, unashamed.
I can still play this game.
“Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it.”
My LifePlan serves as a corrective for my accrued, habitual, self-centered way of being inside my marriage.
As the context for my life’s Greatest Delight and Most Demanding Work, our relationship serves as a symbol of Singularity, and, an arena for the constant Vision of Vulnerability.
It also puts me in touch with my deeper desires and longings; otherwise known as prayer.
“People would be surprised if they knew what their souls said to God sometimes.”
It’s taken me a long time to begin to learn what vulnerability actually looks like as a practice inside of marriage. And it at least includes the continual recognition that We need one another, having exhausted the unspoken myth that the other person will make me whole, no longer blaming them for what’s “wrong” nor expecting them to fix whatever I think is broken. Yet, somehow in the sharing of both our honest struggles and genuine aspirations, We grow in recognizing our interdependence-contributing to, and being enriched in, the safety of a mutual commitment to self-disclosure. In this way, We gets enlarged, space is created for others to join in and together we discover the reality that we really do belong to one another; fashioned from the same likeness, invited to stay through whatever current illusion may be in the way of the truth of our oneness. Indeed marriage, in the spirit of We, is a crisis to the fearful, possessive, protective, manipulative and destructive ways of the false-self.
“Many people, nations and institutions perish because they do not dare expose themselves to the pains of suffering, crisis and rebirth. Only those who go through the crisis, only whose who endure “the perils of the soul” and brave the unknown dangers of the future find the way to new, mature and productive life. They attain the experience of the Maturing-We and they help this We even if they sacrifice their lives in joining it. They find themselves and they find the We-the We being their Self. Even if they lose their lives they will find them.”
I woke up on a warm winter day in South Texas almost four years ago. And moved into my routine as usual.
We were living with Taryn’s parents, preparing to move to Spain. A lot of uncertainty loomed around whether the move would happen, and if so, when. I was still heavily relying on the very limited resources of self-sufficiency that were beginning to wear thin during this time. And surrender was looking a lot like sabotage.
I encountered the end of myself that morning.
Alone in one of the bedrooms upstairs, I threw whatever book I was searching for answers in across the room, exhausted with my approach to the circumstances. It was a Sunday.
Feeling pathetic, I slumped down into the olive colored chaise lounge along the wall.
The phone rang.
I answered it.
It was my brother. He asked how I was doing. I don’t know what I said, but I know I lied-probably saying, “I’m ok,” or something similar.
He then jumped into sharing about a dream he had the previous night, skipping past any small talk.
The crux of the dream was this…
There were two people searching for something important. One had a map. That person shared the map with the other person. They navigated the journey together, never finding what they were looking for. The purpose all along was to explore together. The discovery was, that the meaning found in that, was truer than the thing they set out to look for.
My brother’s dream could not have been more perfectly timed. And he of course had no way to know that.
“Knowing confers fellowship,” writes German theologian Jurgen Moltmann, “That is why knowing only goes as far as love, sympathy and participation reach.”
It seems only through We can there be access to more.
I love the darkness of my soul.
Those words are a statement of faith. Because until I can accept my own darkness, I am dangerous to myself and others. Literally, walking around split off from crucial parts of myself. Yet, my sense of needing to be qualified through perfect performance so often keeps me from the delight of participation. I can remain in the despair of thinking I know best how things ought to be, refusing to play until things are different.
Often the solidarity of “me too,” If I allow it, it can jolt me out of that constricted space and return me to a more spacious view, where “everything belongs,” as Richard Rohr names it. In this way, I get more of me through leaning into We.
“No despair of ours can alter the reality of things, or stain the joy of the cosmic dance which is always there…We are invited to forget ourselves on purpose, cast our awful solemnity to the winds and join in the general dance.”
Delight always begins and ends in We.