In the morning, I drop Vince off at school. I sign him in at 8 AM. John picks him up between 3-5 PM depending on the day and signs him out.
We've begun leaving one another notes in the sign section. Instead of leaving our initials (like we're supposed to), we've taken to leaving each other tiny phrases:
It makes me laugh because no one ever checks this thing, so these tiny scribbles are like secret notes passed back and forth between class.
This particular morning, he'd been feeling rough on account of his wisdom teeth being removed the day before. I knew seeing "Feel better" would give him a smile when he picked up Vince, but imagine my surprise when I saw "Thanks beautiful" in the box to greet me the next morning. Such a small, tiny gesture, but those are the gems that make me happiest.
He and I might not see eye-to-eye on religion, but we do love one another deeply, take our responsibility as parents seriously, and are committed to one another and our family.
I truly believe John and I were made for one another. We met young, fell in love young, and married young. I believe this was by design, and I am grateful for the spouse I've been blessed with. He is a good man, a good father, and a loyal friend. While I know the religion issue is a tough one, I hope you don't use that as the only stick to measure him by.
If tomorrow he decided to teach Vincent all about Atheism and telling him that Stephen Hawking agrees that there's no need for God when science explains everything, I'd be incredibly upset. He feels the same way about Catholicism. Because he views it as something akin to a fairytale, he sees it as a crutch... something fine for children to believe but necessary to outgrow (like Santa Claus). Adults can't rely on God for things. Adults shouldn't need direction in things from a book predating most civilization. Adults also shouldn't base social lifestyle choices on religious rationale.
I understand his mindset; I do. However, I simply don't share that viewpoint and, though he doesn't understand my point of view, he vowed to support me, so he does it as best he can. I must recognize the difficulty he faces as well when he watches me teach our son what he views to be fantasy and unnecessary superstition. At the same time, he recognizes his promise to allow me to raise our children Catholic.
Believe it or not, this is what love looks like. Love isn't always the romantic, happily-ever-after fodder you see in the movies. In reality, love is dirty, sweaty and yes, even tearful at times. It is also beautiful, and the appreciation we have for one another... the trust we've developed precisely because of our struggles... the knowledge that we've survived the dreaded "D-word" and come out stronger... this is love, because love endures.
Love is patient, love is kind. It is not jealous, it is not pompous, it is not inflated; it is not rude, it does not seek its own interests. It is not quick-tempered, it does not brood over injury, it does not rejoice over wrong-doing but rejoices with the truth.
It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails. (1 Cor 13: 4-8)
These words were chosen by me for our wedding Mass. I recently read them, myself, at the marriage of two other friends. These words of Saint Paul are so crystal clear to me whereas before, I'd only understood them in a sterilized, Disney-shaded sense.
The day I married John, I heard these words as "Be nice to one another because that's what lovers do. They aren't rude or arrogant, they don't hold grudges and they don't act selfishly. The lovey-dovey feelings you have today will carry you through everything because love never fails."
Oh, Gina... Saint Paul was no Nora Roberts. How naive of me to fancy him one! When I read those words now, I hear something so much richer... so much deeper. Saint Paul might not be Nora Roberts, but if the above snippet doesn't embody the truth of love, there is no such thing as truth and no such thing as love.
If this be error and upon me proved,
I never writ, nor no man ever loved.
~Shakespeare, Sonnet 116~
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