The best way to describe it is that Bernadette’s illness literally knocked the fight right out of us. Not to say that our marriage wasn’t strong or that we fought a lot, but that inner fight was gone. That little voice in our heads that said, “I want… I want…” that we fight against daily. For seven months and even to now that little voice has been silent or a faint unheard whisper. Those things that use to be little battles of the wills are no longer important. Marc summed it up nicely when he said “You don’t know what’s not important until you know what IS important.” We’ve gained a new perspective on what is important and what isn’t and it’s very freeing. Maybe we’re just tired and fried inside and don’t have the will or desire or energy to ‘fight’ with ourselves or each other, but I don’t think it’s that, at least not entirely.
For me I felt like over the last seven months Marc and I have lived ‘a glimpse through the glass darkly’ of what it must be like to live the relationship of the Trinity. (Which is way cool since we were married on Trinity Sunday.) And when I say that I mean with respect to the outpouring of love between the Father and the Son in total emptying of self for the other. Marc was/is amazing in that he never once said, “What about me and what I want or need?” I don’t even think the thought crossed his mind. It was all about getting through and doing what needed to be done to make sure Bernadette knew she was loved and cared for and to keep the family together and functioning. It was like we lived for each other like we’d never experienced before. We looked out for each other and put each other first knowing with all confidence that the other was doing the same. There wasn’t that hint of fear that the other was taking advantage or that we were giving more than we were receiving or that one was getting their way more than the other, if that makes any sense. We didn’t have to think about ourselves because we knew we were well cared for and it gave us the freedom to be more than we normally could be. For seven months it has been like we are one and not two struggling to be one. In a way I could say we almost (it is always almost) reached, for a brief time, that ideal (my ideal) of what God intended marriage to be – a sign pointing to the Trinity.
As we each continue to struggle with the deep sadness that wrenches our hearts every day, if there is one thing I hope we can hang on to it is that experience of really being one as the Trinity is One.