Today is the fifth anniversary of the day my wife and I united our intents and our hearts. We both understood we were in truth re-uniting and that our pledge was truly eternal. We were married in an octagonal glass house, high on a hill with the wildness of the southern California hills all around. It was a Baha'i ceremony, which is very simple. The participants simpy recite: We will all, verily, abide by the will of God.
Nafetah (that's Kaye's screen name) and I had met a year previously in a Baha'i chatroom. At the time I had no wish to allow a woman into my life. I had been badly damaged by the breakup of my previous marriage - and in addition, the successful business I had begun had just been sabotaged by someone I trusted. My life was basically in tatters at that point. I had no money. I rented a room in a houseful of Mexicans - the only gringo present, which meant that I was not always even safe. Drugs and alcohol were all around me and I was more than willing to lose myself in them. My two attempts at dating had been disasters. My relationships with women consisted to trips south of the border with my housemates for commercial exchanges. I wished nothing more. I was bitter, hard, and hurt.
I was also seeking rebirth, which is why I was in religious and spiritual chatrooms. We actually ran across each other in several of them. Nafetah was the one who initiated the friendship. I resisted - even told her at one point, "Look, I don't know what kind of weirdo you are, but please leave me be." Her kind and healing spirit remained in around the edges of my awareness, until eventually I told myself that it wouldn't hurt to be nice to her. This led in time to friendship, cemented by long emails and long hours on the telephone. One day I said that it would be nice to meet in person one day. The next day she astonished and alarmed her friends by packing a bag, getting in her car and driving south from the Bay Area to San Marcos, where I was living. We met the next afternoon. It was love at first sight. It was Thanksgiving, and we shared the bounty of a cheap buffet. She went home for Christmas but was back by New Year's and we have never been apart. We were married on February 23, 2003.
Kaye's a couple years older than I. She is from Tennessee. Her family was also deeply scarred, and she grew up in an orphanage. By the time I was serving in the military at 19, Kaye had already two children and endured the first ten of twenty years spent married to the devil. The next ten years saw her rise to work as an aide to the Governor of her state, and her friendships with Roy Orbison, Dolly Parton, and many, many others in the Nashville scene. And then, suffering from PTSD and the beginnings of fibromyalgia, unable to endure the abuse of her marriage, she took her two girls and fled to California to raise them alone. They lived in the Los Angeles area, finally winding up near San Fransisco. Kaye built a career and brought up her daughters. She studied metaphysics for twenty years. She became an herbalist and healer. The daughters are now both married with stories of their own. And Kaye stayed mostly away from men, until she met me.
She did find it within to forgive her first husband, and was with him when he died of cancer, full of apologies and regrets.
I knew she had fibromyalgia. I read some books and began to learn about the disorder. I did not know how bad it could get. It was scarcely apparent five years ago. Now, it is part of all that we do, and do not do. I have no regrets. Nafetah and I restored each other. We united in every way possible and have become a team that is more than the sum of the parts. Our home has become a place full of laughter, of young people of all ages, and of teaching and healing. Pain is present at all times. So is struggle. I struggle to bring home enough to keep it all together, and her disability check pays the rent and covers most of her medical bills. I cook, clean, wash, shop and hold down a job - and I don't always do it all well. The place is cluttered; the feng shui sucks. I buy food, she doesn't eat. In spite of my best intent, I leave the seat up or shrink her bra in the dryer.
We sometimes clash. I often challenge her to fight harder, to do more. Last night we sat up all night, talking and laughing. We went to bed as it was getting light, kissing happy anniversary. Twelve hours later, she's still asleep. That's the disease. I wished to go hiking today, but have remained at home. If she wakes and is able, I'll take her out for a cheap buffet.
I can ask for no more from this life. I am so blessed. For all the past - both that which we share and that which we have known uniquely - all the pain, the withering emptiness, for everything, the joy of reuniting our spirits is worth it all. I love this woman in ways I never knew love was possible. And for her it is the same. Each of us has fully entered into the life of the other in ways few, I think, ever get to experience. Everyone remarks what an awesome team we are. Our paths have been utterly unlike in every conceivable way - the old hippy and the simple, honest, brillant and beautiful southern belle. Perhaps as recently as ten years ago, no spark would have leaped between us. In fact our paths would never have brought us near - until we both were ready.
Nafetah, I celebrate you. I adore you. I honor you. In time, when you complete the Transformation Course and join the community of which you are already an alumna, I wish you to read this...and for now...to my fellow Team members...please accept this accolade from me to my soulmate. Thank you.