This week, my daughter and I were headed somewhere in the car--I can't remember where--when she asked me about how Mountain Man and I met. It's been 16-some-odd years since we first laid eyes on each other and called it good. I told her that ours was one of the great loves stories in all history.
That probably seems pretty outrageous, comparing it to the likes of Antony and Cleopatra, Romeo and Juliet, Tristan and Isolde and Bo and Hope (of Days of Our Lives fame), but how can one qualify a great love affair anyway? Only through our perceptions (which is reality) and therefore, I give myself permission to say that ours is one of the greats.
Now don't get me wrong, I'm not comparing it to yours, or yours, because, well, I didn't marry you, and I hope that you think that your love affair is one of the greats too. I am merely speaking of my own little life and the great big LOVE that holds the whole thing together: Mountain Man.
Mountain Man's name is Shiloh. When I first met Shiloh he was on the cusp of adulthood--and so was I. Like any marriage, we have felt the pains of growing together. But I am convinced, to this day more than ever, that I have married one of the greatest men on planet earth.
A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away, I taught an early morning religion class to teenagers five days a week. We lived in Montana at the time, and for some strange reason I got it into my head that before this class began, I would hit the gym. The only problem was that in order to work out, shower and travel to the class, I had to get up at 3 o'clock in the morning. (I know--what was I thinking?) But I did this everyday for a school year, for multiple years in a row. And every morning, Shiloh would get up to start my car--at 3 a.m. in the frosty mountain air of Montana, just so I could, (his words), "Be warm and loved."
This glimpse into Shiloh's character is just a tip of the ice burg. Shiloh is wise. But he doesn't throw his wisdom around like confetti--he offers it up only when asked for. Shiloh listens. He is the best listener to a wife like me who needs to talk through every side ways glance and snowflake. Shiloh is kind--and not that fake kind where you know a person goes home and is awful behind closed doors, but truly down to his bones kind. Shiloh embodies the words integrity, hard work, and love; and well, is just good.
I love Shiloh. And don't you worry, he doesn't have to read this blog to know it. He knows it already. He is the steady in the storm, the keeper of the gate, and the very breathe to my life. We think of our friendship and love like this:
"You were born together, and together you shall be forevermore.
You shall be together when the white wings of death scatter your days
Ay, you shall be together even in the silent memory of God.
But let there be spaces in your togetherness,
And let the winds of the heavens dance between you.
Love one another, but make not a bond of love:
Let it rather be a moving sea between the shores of your souls.
Fill each other's cup but drink not from one cup.
Give one another of your bread but eat not from the same loaf.
Sing and dance together and be joyous, but let each of you be alone,
Even as the strings of the lute are alone though they quiver with the same music.
Give your hearts, but not into each other's keeping.
For only the hand of Life can contain your hearts.
And stand together yet not too near together:
For the pillars of the temple stand apart,
And the oak tree and the cypress grow not in each other's shadow."
Kahlil Gibran, The Prophet
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I wish us all more love, more hope, more friendship, and more kindness this Valentine's Day.
I wish you all a great love affair.
Happy Valentine's Day!