Friday, March 23, 2018

A Slice of the Past

Recently, in my endless and seemingly futile pursuit of organization, I was cleaning out some files and came across this poem:

Hearts at Peace

Every day is a triumph,
for it is another day that we have fought
and won.
As the days slip into months,
and the months slip into years,
It appears to be all worthwhile--
for we fight only to remain
and remain we have.
Maybe our reality doesn't fit 
the fantasies each of us had.
But when has anything else 
come so close
to our impossible expectations?
For there are times when we feel it,
the merging of dream and reality.
And for one fragile moment, our hearts know peace.
Hope and faith come flooding in,
strengthening us just enough
to keep up the fight.
For somehow darkness always finds us again.
Doubts and fears gnaw away at the faith we felt
only a heartbeat before.
You have pushed and I have pushed,
listening to fear and failing to trust.
Yet it has never been enough.
Hope refuses to die so easily and lingers on to guide us
back to each other.
So you and I will keep up this fight,
and tally up the triumphs,
until we recognize, at last,
our hearts are at peace.

I wrote that back in 1992, when I was impossibly young and naive and hopelessly in love. Actually, I guess hopefully in love would be a bit more accurate. At the time I wrote "Hearts at Peace," my boyfriend and I were living apart and things were not going well. I was ready, or so I thought, to get married, have babies, and grow old with him. He was not. Yet I clung to the belief that love could conquer all.

As it turned out, love could not conquer all. It took some time, but I finally realized that it wasn't that he wasn't ready for those things, it was that we simply weren't in sync in too many ways and no amount of love and no amount of wishing things were different was going to change that. With that realization, hope did die and we went our separate ways in search of the peace I longed for. One might argue, I suppose, that hope didn't actually die; it simply led me in a new direction. And while I felt differently at the time, today I am eternally thankful it did.

Four years later, I met the man who would become my husband. In August we will celebrate our 20th wedding anniversary. I would like to say that the tragic love affair of my youth taught me to be a better person and an expert at interpersonal relationships. I'm afraid that would be terribly misleading if I did. The truth is that to this day there have been numerous occasions when "I have pushed, listening to fear and failing to trust." Some lessons I'm better at teaching than I am at learning. We have had our share of ups and downs, and yet here we are, perhaps a bit battered and bruised, but happily together nonetheless.

So, what's the difference? Why has this love survived when so many others have not?

I wish I had a definitive answer that would work for everyone, but I can only speak my truths. There are several reasons I can think of, with one topping the list. I think my mom said it best when she offered me this advice at my bridal shower: There will be days that you hate him. 

Okay, there was more to it than that. She went on to explain that you hold on during those times because they pass and you remember again why you fell in love in the first place. She ended up being married to my dad for over 60 years, so I figure she knew what she was talking about. 

She was talking about commitment. 

Sounds so simple, doesn't it? Of course, it's not really. It gets tried on a regular basis and you have to both be on the same page to begin with in order for it to work. You must first want and value the same things. But if you are truly committed to walking the same path, truly committed to the love you share and the life you are making together, then love can endure. At the end of the day, my husband and I are together because we recognize we are more right together than we could ever be apart. That together we make the life we both want possible. We share a vision and are committed to making that vision our reality. And once you have that, it is no longer a fight, no longer a struggle to remain. 

That is when your heart finds its peace.


  1. So much to think about here. I am going to come back to this and read it a few more times, and maybe quote some of it in my journal. Thanks for putting into words some ideas I've been trying to process!

    1. I am happy that what I wrote resonated with you. :)

  2. I could have written this--I have some of those same type of poems (hopefully in love--great line). It is commitment, but like you said, there is so much more. Garth Brooks has a song entitled "Unanswered Prayers". I've always told my husband this was us. I'm so glad we found each other

    1. I love that song! I think that and "The Dance" are my two favorite Garth Brooks songs. Another song I like along the same lines is Rascal Flatts' "Bless the Broken Road." It was indeed a broken road that led me to my husband, but I am thankful it did!

  3. So glad you found this poem and shared your thoughts about how your heart found its peace. I especially liked these words: "But if you are truly committed to walking the same path, truly committed to the love you share and the life you are making together, then love can endure."

  4. This is so beautiful, Amanda. Your words about marriage were something I needed to read, so thank you.

    1. Thank you, Elisabeth. I am happy to know that this piece spoke to you.


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