Tears streamed down my face. I sat next to my husband in the back row of our little Quaker meeting house while dear Friend Peg spoke about violence and guns and bearing witness and having hope. She spoke about honoring others, recognizing our shared humanity, and living out our love for each other.
I quickly beckoned for a pencil and scribbled a note to my Bugs (the nickname my husband I use for each other): “If your heart gets broken, I will hold you.” We stared straight ahead, barely looking at each other, with one giant shared lump in each of our throats.
I cautiously looped my arm around his shoulder, gently placing my hand on his back. I rested my head on his shoulder as he rested his head softly against me. I felt myself listening to his body, waiting to be sure he wanted me in his space, so as not to interrupt his own experience of listening and sinking into the silence of open worship on his own terms.
This was a spiritual experience.
Tears streamed down my face freely as I felt an ever so slight shaking from underneath my arm. Out of the corner of my eye, I witnessed him reaching to wipe the corner of his eye with his sleeve.
This was a spiritual experience. For both of us.
As is true in my experience of all heartfelt human connection.
I had to leave early that day, and it took me an hour to unravel and process those tears. I’d cried them before, especially often that weekend as my husband I discussed our feelings openly while pondering some major changes in our relationship.
Those were not tears of sadness. And while they were most certainly tears of pain, they were also tears of freedom and tears of joy. These were tears that represented our ever continuing transformation. These tears gave voice to my (our?) pain and offered a river of hope to wash it all away.
These tears represented the deepest form of love I’ve ever felt. Thirteen years in the making. A gratitude for all that’s been shared and all that we ARE, mixed with hope for all that we can be, both as individuals and as partners, as we continue learning how to feel openly and honestly while pursuing our best selves.
And with these tears, I can finally recognize and actually FEEL, for the first time perhaps in my entire life, that my body truly belongs to me. I own every single piece.