These are the chronicles of the esoteric . . .
my dear one
I don't believe in fairy tales.
We live in a world where things don't end up right. We plan, we try, things change, and we fail. Days end up looking different at night than they did in the morning. Weekends are miles away from what you'd thought they'd be on Wednesday.
You can study computer science and get a BA in theology to find yourself working full time renovating people's homes. I had a boss at one of the grocery stores I worked at who was a certified mechanic but on a whim took a managing job - and found himself head of an entire store for 15 years.
According to Jewish tradition, at the birth of every baby boy a heavenly voice announces who that boy will marry. However, the concept of bashert - literally 'destiny' - is much more nuanced than our western world's concept of 'soulmate.' A bashert is a perfect, complimentary match. But when you marry someone that person by definition of being your spouse becomes your bashert.
The rabbis teach that the ideal marriage is not the one without tension or disagreement, but instead the one where the couple challenges each other and grows together through life's various trials - including the trials presented from one to the other by virtue of marriage's intimate nature - to become better and more whole selves. A marriage, the rabbis affirm - even and perhaps especially a marriage of bashert - requires dedication, effort, energy, and patience. Marriage is a process not a moment.
As Thrice sings, 'True love is a choice you must make...'1
Never once did I ever think I'd be married. And here we are, 6 years and two kids later. And looking back I could never imagine another partner to journey life's ups and downs with than Rebekah - she knows my faults and still she loves me all the more. She understands me, even when those faults test her patience. She never makes me feel unloved, even when I'm, shall we say, difficult. She has accepted the manifestation of my personality and happily bears the burden - but at the same time challenges by worse parts to become better.
We have learned to mesh together - sometimes easily, sometimes with an extra push, and sometimes with a hammer and chisel. But we are two puzzle pieces with corresponding shapes and I can't imagine a world without her.
But what's more, she is beautiful - she is brilliant, caring, witty, profound, strong, opinionated, determined, loving, forgiving, comforting, patient, intelligent, warm, wise, eclectic, fun… She is beautiful. I've always thought so. And now I've known that beauty personally for 6+ years, and I've not grown tired of it. I've had that beauty grow next to me, shine on me for 6+ years and I continue to want more. I continue to get excited at the end of the work day to come home to her. And the end of the night to wake up next to her. I look forward to each chance to chat, to dance, to kiss, to just sit near, and to even bicker with her.
Today, Rebekah and I celebrate 6 years of marriage. We are not 'perfect' in the western world's (false) sense that we don't have issues - that we've ridden towards the sunset, carefree. We do have our own unique brand of problems, challenges, and… moments. But in the end I have never loved the way I do Rebekah. I have never been more excited, proud, and in awe of someone than I am of Rebekah. It's cliché, I know, but it's true: I love her more now than I did 6 years ago. I admire her, I respect her, I'm amazed by her, I desire her.
In our marriage classes, prior to our wedding, we were told that a spouse becomes an expert on their partner. I don't think I'm quite a 'Rebekah expert' yet but I'm thoroughly enjoying the learning of this person - a person to whom I will for ever belong. It took me 7 years to get my BA, and I look forward to the decades it'll take to more wholly know the ins and outs - the good and the bad - of this amazing girl.
I don't believe in fairy tales. Life and Adonai move as they will.
But I will always be grateful that I somehow ended up bashert to the most beautiful person I've ever met. I never ever dreamt I'd be here, but I wouldn't have it any other way.
'True love is a choice you must make and you are the one that I set my heart to choose - as long as I live, I swear I'll see this through.'2
My partner, my lover, my best friend; my heart, my love, my wife. My bashert. You're the greatest and I love you. I love you more than I remember to show you - I love you more than I even know how to show.
Happy anniversary. Here's to a million more.
1. Thrice, 'The Weight,' Beggars (Vagrant Records, 2009).