A person has to ask him or herself two questions--
First, Where am I going?
Second, Who will go with me?
If you ever get the questions in the wrong order you are in big trouble.
Paraphrase of Howard Thurman
I got them backwards, and we were in trouble.
Years before I met Anke - or gave thought to sailing - I fell in love with a wonderful woman who loved me back. That kind of brimful love where my cup runneth over. Arguably the only kind of love worthy of one's very life.
Problem was that we were one another's answer to the second question. We hadn't worked the first out between us, whether as individuals or a couple.
I was a square peg to the round hole of her life. I knew, already, that I wanted to drift through life; she was pursuing hers. To her security meant a secure (steady) income and a fixed address; I felt suffocated by these. She wanted children; I take responsibility seriously, and therefore avoid it like plague... children are, to me, Responsibility personified.
I let her go. On to a life, I hope, full of love and security. The life of her dreams.
I won't go into the details of our parting ways. What's important is that I learned something unexpected, the moment we did. To my surprise, I learned that I would do anything for Love. Until the moment it was too late, I didn't know how important Love is, and how far I'd go to hold onto it.
If you've been following these posts, you know that I love the water, the free life, the wild spaces. But I know that, should Anke suddenly decide on a career ashore, smack dab in the heart of suburbia, knee-deep in kids and a mortgage to pay... well... I'd get out my rigging knife and whittle my square peg round.
So I deeply understand Mr. Thurman's wise Law (as some call it). I recognize the trouble he warns of. Been there; done that. Setting forth on the voyage of Life and Love, it's excellent caution.
But we don't choose love; it comes to us unbidden. It comes like the williwaw, pouncing and whelming our hearts. To oppose it is to be dismasted... to yield is to sail on. Deep reefed, perhaps, but onward, trouble not-withstanding.
It's a miracle, to me, that Anke and I crossed paths half a world away from her place of birth; flown like a bird from the confines and strictures of the Old World. That her interests and inclinations are as like mine as if I had dreamed her. That she loves me back, of all her many suitors. She's a coincidence and gift of such magnitude that I'm tempted to believe the Universe knows my name - that it, too, loves me.
I don't love Anke more than my first Love. Brimful is brim full. But for us, both questions are answered in the same terms, in the same breath.
Lucky, lucky, lucky!
PS. Happy Valentine's Day, or, as I prefer to think of it, THANKSGIVING!!
Great post, Dave. Thanks! You _are_ lucky.ReplyDelete
Anke sounds like a Dutch name, and if so, it seems natural that she would be a water person. But in Alaska? :-)
When I was living aboard I found that those who live on boats are almost a different race of people, and one that I enjoyed very much. I found they almost invariably were free thinkers, open and enjoying life.
Anke's from Germany, but only 17km from the Dutch border.
She didn't have anything to do with living on the water until getting to Alaska. I had been interested for about 5 years, at the time we met, but without much success finding my way afloat.
A friend needed a caretaker for his US22 just as we got together, and insisted we sail it ("I trust you'll fix what you break and more, so go ON!"). So we took our first, wobbly baby steps together.
Not so much belonging TO a different race, as being IN a different one. Hope to meet you out here!
This is truly one of the most beautiful love stories I have heard or know of. And knowing you both can attest to your devotion to each other and complete (and universal) compatibility. Your love and your relationship with each other are inspirational (and motivational).Delete
Thinking of you with admiration-- crew of SV Spirit Bear, Sitka AK
Hi Crew of SV SB!Delete
Shucks, you make us blush! Fortunately, it's not as rare as all that, as you attest.
It's a pleasure and an honor to know you!
Dave and Anke
Having been somewhat on both sides of a story similar to this one, I can observe that it isn't possible to long live happily in a way contrary to one's deepest convictions or natural inclinations. I would say, as much anguish you may have felt in going your separate ways the first time, your choice was a wise one--for the both of you. Much harm is done in the cause of whittling square pegs into round holes--even in the name of love. I would like to believe love conquers all, but it doesn't. It is the reason to do everything that can be done, but everything cannot be done simply because of love alone. How apt is the second part of your story, in that you both have found each other and share a similar vision.ReplyDelete
You could certainly be right, though I imagine the Tao or Zen mind can roll with most anything.
One aspect of life is a high probability that one or the other of any couple, will we nil we, will be forced onto another path than what is chosen or desired. Health, injury, family in need and so on can pull us away from our preferred course.
So, a personal crisis or a return to Germany in some caretaking role is a case-in-point waiting to happen. She, and I with her, may 'choose' a round hole. Seize the day, I'd say, and I won't again let go of Love!
Good thing I've got a rich, internal life. 8)