It's been exactly one year since Christopher William Jones and I kneeled down in a remote temple (of unglorious aesthetic), in the lone monk's personal quarters; on the raw cement floor; bug bites squished against the concrete; sweat pouring down our faces; my dress itching like a chipmunk in a haybale. The monk waving his water and incense around our faces as our eyes squinted closed. We listened intently to the chants as we tried to meditate our way into serenity. But the discomfort was almost too overpowering. So we chose surrender, and comfort came as we remembered the purpose of our suffering: To unite in pure, unconditional love, for always, no matter what.
This momentous (aforementioned) day - September 3, 2012 - holds more meaning to me now than it did back then. Our wedding day: Full of metaphors for the calms and storms that became our first year of marriage. The discomfort, at times so unbearable that you wonder how much more you can take; and the surrender, the quiet happiness of knowing you are loved, and that you love him no matter what, in return.
That day, there was bickering as I tried to convince him there was life at the temple; that the mangy street dogs in our way would not stop us. There was patience - oh, so much patience - as he helped me peruse the sweaty shops for a "wedding scarf." There was comradery, as we joked our way through a gag-inducing flea market, picking through rotten fruit to find edible gems for our monk. There was service, as - after a walk in the heat made anguishing by innumerable mosquito bites - Chris returned from out of a laundromat with two cold beers, and news that the folks inside would let me use their bathroom. There was excitement: An adventure across the island to get married! We were truly venturing into the unknown. There was hope, and faith, that there was a temple on the island, let alone a monk to perform the ceremony. There was support, as we kept each other's spirits afloat on a long journey to the edge of the country, at the end of which we weren't exactly sure where we'd end up.
It's obvious our life together has not been, nor will always be, easy. But it is robust; full of adventure; secure with unconditional support; demanding of awareness; illuminated by understanding, fun, fiesty, maddening, passionate, endearing and BLISSFUL.
I hear people say "he pushes me to be the best I can be," and that's never made sense until now. My darling is patient as I work out my quirks, on my way to finding my true self, while we both strive toward a more perfect partnership. He's looked inside as well to heal and to grow, and through these processes, we've become incomprehensibly close. We know each other's secrets, and insecurities; our best traits and triumphs; our generosities and our inherent needs.
This, all of the aforementioned, is how I define love. I've never had this before, and am unspeakably grateful for it. This man who has come into my life: I love you. And I am thankful to be IN THIS with you. This LOVE. This LIFE. You are pure to me, and - with one year down - I want you to know I'll take a thousand more.