We celebrated our ninth anniversary on Ash Wednesday this year. Incidentally, the timing was perfect. It was my first Ash Wednesday as a convert and it felt meaningful since my conversion is two-fold. Being Catholic is a way for me to be filled and a way for us to be a family. I've always been fascinated by religion and what draws us to our beliefs. (I love a good novel, but if my choices include a religious memoir, no matter the religion, I will always choose that. My absolute favorite is An Unquenchable Thirst, but Father Mother God is equally gripping.) So, this mid-life conversion comes with much thought and consideration and absolutely no surprise.
I've always been the one to carry the religious torch and found meaning in the connections that I made with others through church. JSM is always supportive. But then life got busy and I no longer had time to give and we fell away from the Protestant church we had attended. JSM was raised Catholic, but in many ways golf is his church. I thought about this a lot in the last year as we moved not only to a new house, but into a new phase in our life together. The fact that we don't have children prompted us to move to a new home for our hopes and dreams, but in the midst of that, I wondered if we have no children what does it mean for us to be a family? At the same time, life was busy, I felt adrift, and I needed a place to just be. I, too, was raised Catholic in the sense that I attended Catholic school, though my parents didn't practice the faith. So, it's comfortable and reminds us both of where we came from. At the prompting of my mother in law, I attended mass on my own this past summer and well, as they say.....the rest is....happening. I hope to be a full-fledged Catholic in a few months and I look forward to this new chapter in our life. I am so grateful for my dear friend, Judy, who is walking alongside me on this journey.
As we move into our tenth year of marriage I am reflective on what keeps us choosing one another. Every day. Marriage takes work. And patience. People grow. Some days are harder, others are easy. Sometimes you have to be the one to carry, sometimes you are carried. Forgiveness is constant. And so are jokes. For me, it's a deep love and bond I can't explain which makes work, forgiveness, having to be carried (maybe more than I carry) all worth it. I know I, too, am loved. Especially when my husband handed me this Valentines Day card. The timing was perfect.