Sunday, April 17, 2011

Chimayo, My Heart, and the Miracle of Words

One evening, after listening to a series of my complaints, my husband was musing about how people who have little can seem to be so happy. He said to consider the Dalai Lama.

“Easy,” I said. “He’s never been married.” My husband thought this was really funny. I was being serious. Marriage, particularly on a step-family level, can be really challenging. “And he doesn’t clean his own toilet,” I continued. “You know, relationships go to a whole new level when you have to clean someone else’s toilet.” Point made.

Periodically, I enjoy toying with my husband’s wisdom. Last year, when I was frustrated with ongoing legal battles, my husband often quoted the Art of War by Sun Tzu. I disposed of these quotes by saying Sun Tzu was not being sued for the custody of his children, that this was not even a possibility in his lifetime (he lived 2500 years ago), and that being a military general for the king, he had servants at his disposal to handle a vast number of his needs--including of course, the emptying and cleaning of his chamber pot.

Of course, I know what my husband is trying to say, and I thank him for his efforts to provoke thought and inspire, but what I really need during those tense or sad moments when I seek comfort is… comfort. So this week, my husband said the most beautiful thing. We had gone to dinner, just the two of us, and were discussing a chapel in New Mexico known for its legendary association of  miraculous cures—crutches line the walls of those who have come, believed, prayed, and walked away unhindered by injury or ailment. I asked, since I have been so beaten down lately, what does one leave behind if the injury is not visible—if there is no crutch or wheelchair to abandon? And then I asked him, what would he pray to recover from were we to go?

“Sometimes,” he said softly, “we pray not for ourselves, but for others.”

This, my sweet, is why I so adore you. Without ever stepping foot inside the sacred walls of Chimayo, you have healed me.

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