Little things seem to be undervalued. Even the label little things implies insignificance. Not too long ago a little thing set my world reeling.
“I love you,” I said, sincerely but also distractedly.
“Yeah, but sometimes I wonder why,” my husband responded.
I stopped in my tracks. Distractions…gone. Words…gone. Thoughts…gone. Seconds passed and the only thing in my conscious mind was a fleeting thought to count in anticipation of a response, something I do with my boys when there is an apparent delay in processing. But this time the delay was my own.
A response surfaced, along with a tragic sense of…something. The response was completely inadequate yet completely true: “If you don’t know, I can’t explain.”
In twelve days Mark and I will celebrate our twelfth wedding anniversary. We’ve had our ups and downs, our yelling matches, our rough patches, and our breaking points. We’ve survived them all. Yet, depression and the words of others eat away at us.
These moments come and I’m never prepared for them. I can no more put into words why I love Mark than I can put into words why I love my children or anyone else. Love doesn’t have a why. Love goes deeper than all the whys we’ve ever put into words. I can tell you why I like Mark, and even why I sometimes don’t like Mark. I cannot tell you why I love him. I just do. I always will.
The tragic sense of…something lingers. Again, there are no words for this. Loss, sorrow, and regret…these words are part of it, but they’re as inadequate as my response. I mourn for that part of him that is lost in the depression, where the light my love shines cannot reach. I regret the busyness that keeps me moving and going and trying, working towards a dream that seems both too big to accomplish and too necessary to fail to accomplish.
Somehow I have to express to him (and others who find room for doubt) the why for something that has no why. Perhaps this will be enough:
This morning, as Alex was just getting his morning started he slipped a DVD too far down his finger and it got stuck and started to swell. I tried to get it off, but it would not budge. I buttered it, but it would not budge. I tried to break the DVD, but it would not break. Mark was sleeping, so I lead Alex—who was fussing about the pain in his finger and wasn’t I going to fix it, now please!—upstairs and woke Mark up with a hasty plea and he removed the DVD without hurting either Alex or the DVD.
It seems little all by itself. But there are many strings of little things over these last twelve years. All together they prove to me, if only to me, that we complement each other. We fit. We are two “wholes” that make a better “whole” (versus two “halves” that make a “whole,” which is a phrase that I feel inaccurately describes people). Our relationship isn’t perfect. Our lives aren’t perfect. We’re not perfect. But we’re the perfect “wholes” for each other. We enrich and complete each other. All the struggles, the complications, the disagreements, the deficits, and the inadequacies mean nothing compared to this.
Together we are whole and the little things prove it so.