The Finish Line

June 9, 2010

You start the race…let’s call this one MARRIAGE. You’ve got the gear, the crowd is cheering in the stands; the official is there, with a gun pointed to the sky( or maybe to your head); you are already sweating and you are still at the start line. Will you place, finish at all, come in first, break your leg along the way when you stumble and fall on your face? Will the fans cheer for you or the one just a step faster? Do you have what it takes to cross the finish line? Are you a team of one or a team player?

Okay, so this analogy might be a bit lame…but I am sitting here this morning, tucked up warm and cozy  in my 30th anniversary and asking the questions: How did we get here? How did we survive the hurdles; how did we find the stuff we needed to keep going when we were exhausted and the thoughts of quitting were the best solution. So many of our team mates didn’t make  it. It wasn’t for lack of trying, they just got tired, ran out of steam, got a cramp that rendered them helpless…they had to quit to save their own lives.

I wanted to quit…many, many, many times. I was tired of the hurt, the fear, the sense of invisibility, too many commitments, too much stuff, debilitating silence, heart ache and anger. I wanted to be that wife you read about that left the letter on the mantle, drained the bank accounts and ran off with the pool boy.  Quit just fucking quit! I even had support…just quit, you have worked hard enough…some said.  Quit, move on, cut your loses!

I saw his crystal blue eyes in my daughter’s, the curve of  his smile in our grandson’s .  So many  ‘I’m sorrys” scribble across my bathroom mirror is soap, notes tucked in my pillow, conciliatory chocolate bars left on the counter, hopeful glances exchanged across a crowded room, moments of tenderness seeking forgiveness, connection, love and restoration. There were countless sessions with therapists who promised to help; differences explored, new coping skills learned along with communication strategies, timeout, apologies, understanding.

Every time WE wanted to quit, WE slowed our pace, one way or the other and found our breath. It hasn’t been easy, in fact it has been impossible… at times. But that is the premise of marriage…the one you never think you are agreeing to. “this will be impossible at times…you will not have what it takes to go on…you will think of quitting every way possible…you will be done and in your “doneness” you will hold still or fall backwards.” They don’t tell you that…you, so sick with love,  couldn’t ever imagine the possibility. But it is a Probability, an Inevitability.

30 years later WE are exhausted with our gray hair and wrinkles. Our bones tired and fragile,  our feet hurt. But this morning realizing that there isn’t one blond hair left on his head that lies just inches from mine…his  gray is soft like a baby bird, his breath warm and familiar laying under the blankets that cover us both. I KNOW beyond a shadow of a doubt,  that we are in the best shape of our lives. That we have won, got the trophy, a standing ovation even from the  crowd that has been watching. Did we come in first…I don’t know, neither of us do or care for that matter.  We just know that we have  crossed A  finish line and we are swaggering off the field together…knowing that if the next race is for those of us in wheel chairs, or walkers we are ready for the challenge. P.S. i have never loved more.                                               

6 Responses to “The Finish Line”

  1. Wendy Thompson Says:

    I am so honored to have been a friend since you began this journey. You are both two of my favorite people. You are a strong and wise woman, so admired by many. You are married to a wise and gentle man who loves you! I am so glad you have made it this far and that you share your life so transparently with us. I love you both. Congratulations and Hugs!

  2. Lisa Kaser Says:

    Again, I sit looking at my monitor, shaking my head, somewhere between tears and a chuckle. You have a perfect way of telling the universal and personal journey of love and tribulations. I am glad for you both that you are under the covers, together, in your 30th year. Happy to read this today and thankful I know you. Love and Peace, Lisa

  3. Anna Powell Says:

    Oh honey, I love this. And love you both so much.

  4. Carol Bernal Says:

    Beautiful Kristine, as are YOU.

  5. Elissa Says:

    Congrats you two!!!! I love the old-timey pics. You guys are cute as ever in my opinion now. Maybe better. No, definitely better.

    P.S. Jon asked me to make copies of that river info at work today. So I did. Do you need it back today? If so, I can meet you in Hood River before 4:45 p.m. for a hand-off. Then, I’m off to a class and won’t be out of there until 7-ish tonight. Back in TL around 8 pm I expect….

    Love, Eliss

  6. melody Says:

    Beautifully said……I read it like a prayer.

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