Monday, August 27, 2012


One afternoon last fall, after Jonah passed away, Jordan and I sat quietly eating french fries among the red and white palm trees of our local In-and-Out.  We didn't have much to say to each other.  Both of us still felt quite shattered and tired, so we just ate in silence and listened to the energetic conversations of the people around us.

Near us two young couples sat and discussed the details of a recent engagement. The description was theatrical; full of dramatic pauses and hyperbole. The new fiance started with a comprehensive synopsis of important events and dates in the couples dating history. Then she began a step-by-step description of her boyfriend's clever deceptions and misdirections, and finally she shared her astonishment when she was led to the very park where they shared their first kiss. The excitement in her voice intensified as she described the candle-lit path, her kneeling boyfriend, the enormous glittering ring he brandished, and the hidden photographer hired to capture her reaction.

As I listened I thought about my own engagement six years earlier.  It was so simple.  After two years of dating - and breaking up - Jordan finally asked me to marry him.  It was a cool summer evening, and we sat talking and kissing on the grey weathered wood of his mom's back porch.  There were no fireworks or surprises, no elaborate plans, and no eloquent speeches.  Just the words, "I really love you, will you marry me?"

I thought about how scared I was to say yes.  I was afraid of divorce and disappointment.  I was afraid of heartache and instability.  I worried about making the right decision, or rather making the wrong decision.  I was afraid of the pain a poor decision would carry.  I wanted my happiness guaranteed, and yet despite all my fears I said "yes."

My understanding of pain was so naive six years ago.

As I listened to the bubbly couple beside us, I thought
"Do you know how hard it will be?"
"Do you realize what you are doing?"

Then I looked across the table at my silent heartbroken husband.  I thought about the day we were married and how peaceful I felt as I stood beside him.  All of my worry and apprehension seemed to melt away when he held my hand in the temple.  I thought about all the times he drove hundreds of miles to work in cold and dusty and dirty conditions to provide a comfortable life for me.  I thought about the first time he held Jonah; how he radiated love instantly despite Jonah's complications.  I remembered the beautiful moments we shared together as a family; the walks up the canyon; Jonah's first time in a swimming pool; giggly chases around the living room couch.

When Jonah died, and I was waiting for Jordan at the hospital, I wondered what would happen to us.  Could our relationship survive something so devastating?  Would Jordan blame me for Jonah's death?  I could not bear the idea of losing Jonah and Jordan.  I wondered how we would ever recover from such sorrow.  But when Jordan arrived, and he realized Jonah was gone, I was overwhelmed by the love he showed to me.  There was no contention, no accusations, only pain and tears.   

All of this flooded my heart and mind as I ate my french fries, and I thought about this newly engaged couple.  I thought about how at one point in my life I may have been jealous of such a romantic story.  But instead I wondered if they understood how simple love can be.  It can be as simple as saying "I really love you, will you marry me?" It can be as simple as forgiveness and kindness.  It can be as simple as holding hands in the midst of intense pain.  Did they know they should be jealous of us?...a silent heartbroken fry-eating couple beside them.

Probably not.  But I knew.  I thought about the complicated package of beauty and joy and pain that arrived in my life when I said yes six years agoI would say yes again today.  I am so grateful that I was brave enough to walk into the unknown with Jordan.  How blessed we have been to learn to love in the simplest of ways.

Among the blessings of love there is hardly one more exquisite than the sense that in uniting the beloved life to ours we can watch over its happiness, bring comfort where hardship was, and over memories of privation and suffering open the sweetest fountains of joy.
George Eliot


  1. You teach me so much...thank you.

  2. Happy anniversary, J and J! You two set a beautiful example of what a loving married couple should be.

  3. I have never seen love more fully displayed than the day I looked at you & Jordan in the emergency room that day.

  4. Well said, Jules. So lovely. As David's sisters married this summer I have thought about how hard marriage can be, especially in the tough times, but how every challenge survived and overcome together makes the love so much stronger and richer. Romance by necessity fades somewhat, as living takes precedence. But it's all for good. Happy six years!!

  5. Considering your fears of Jordan's reaction really hit me -- of course you were. I would have been. It is a huge credit to you both that you are weathering this together.

  6. Sometimes the water in the fountains of joy spring from our very tears. I admire the courage both you and Jordan hold for one another.