During the nineteen-nineties, the Eagles put out a song called “Love Will Keep Us Alive.” While my late husband and I never thought of this as “our song” we both noticed that it fit our love story.
In the late seventies, battered by-less-than-loving relationships, we did feel lost and lonely, and searched for a place to hide. We became one another’s places to hide, at least for a time.
Almost twenty years down the road, we thought for quite a while that we had been delusional about the reality of our love for one another and couldn’t see how we got from our original wonder and joy to the place where it looked for all the world as if we would never make it. We were back to emptiness inside, feeling as if we were standing alone, while the other person, who had promised to have our backs in that situation, had abandoned their post.
With God’s help, we fought our way through the jungle of despair, gaining a few machete scars along the way. But we made it. We finally did. It wasn’t that glorious, heedless, place-to-hide love we were so joyful to have found at first, but finally, we were not hiding who we were at all – we were real, and we loved each other, even if our Superman and Wonder-Woman costumes were ripped apart and blood spattered.
We discovered what had been there all along, hiding under the costumes, wrapped in romantic pink clouds, trying to please one another without realizing that even that trying-to-please was also a false front.
We had to get hungry enough for the real part to tear off all the disguises, admit all the faults, and love one another for who we really were. It’s really the only way to love someone and make it last. So, I’m grateful for it all, even the scars. They are part of the memory that all of life goes into loving someone, the horrible and the glorious, and while true love is incredibly hard to achieve, it’s absolutely worth it. May my friends, children and grandchildren never know any other kind.