My husband and I recently went to see Josh Ritter in concert. He is a poet; an incredible singer/song writer who sings with a beautiful smile on his face the entire concert. On the way there my husband turned to me and sang a line from one of Josh’s songs, “All the other girls here are stars – you are the Northern Lights.” I love it when my husband sings to me – actually I just love to hear him sing. He is a talented musician with a unique voice who lets his head get in the way of letting others enjoy what he does. Several years ago he dedicated most of his time to playing guitar and singing at local coffee houses. Our home was filled with his voice and guitar chords.
I would come home and he would be jamming; I’d walk into the other room to change clothes or put things away and I’d hear his voice and would become paralyzed. I would stand as still as stone, and a warmth would encompass me as if I was enveloped in a loving hug while simultaneously tingling from the goose bumps spreading over my skin. Unfortunately, because of my own inadequacies, I couldn’t share this intimate feeling with him.
One day – years after he stopped playing, we were in the car and he was singing to a song on the radio. I said (with a lump in my throat), “I love it when you sing.” He stopped singing. Not just then, but for a long time after. I got so hurt and angry and would bring it up every now and again to let him know how happy it made me when he sang.
My husband is a keeper. Whenever my faith falters in a God or some type of Universal Goo that pulls the strings for us mere mortals, I think of my partner, and my faith is restored. Although this may sound harsh – true love, and a strong, committed (perfect in all its imperfections) marriage was not in my cards. I had a tough beginning, a rough adolescent, and a flat out terrifying early adult life. I met Jeff shortly after I stepped from darkness into light (although the step took hundreds of days). It was love at first sight – on his part. He says the first time he saw me he knew he wanted to marry me – he was 20 – I was 26, and I was still seeking tall, dark, handsome, and mean. Jeff was a tad shorter than me with red hair and a permanent smile (at least when I was around).
Shortly after the Josh Ritter concert, I was alone in the car listening to one of Josh’s songs and crying. I wondered why these intense love songs bring up these strong, dark, old emotions. Is it because they aren’t true? It will never happen to me? And then voila’ – it hit me. It is because it has happened to me. I am in that relationship – the one where i am the “Northern Lights.” And still – I cry – out of a sense of unworthiness. I compare our relationship to others as if ours isn’t good enough. What a a waste of time! Today – I am starting over, and once again stepping from darkness into light, embracing the love that is right in front of me, so close that I miss it nearly everyday. I am living the sappiest of love songs – I just have to get out of the way and listen so I don’t mess it up.
The funny thing is that beautiful line comes from a song that is mostly about a one night stand, but the feeling in that line is what stands out and describes the tension between the lovers [contact-form][contact-field label="Name" type="name" required="1"/][contact-field label="Email" type="email" required="1"/][contact-field label="Website" type="url"/][contact-field label="Comment" type="textarea" required="1"/][/contact-form] in the song – a tension that can make one blush. That is what I experience in many moments of this 20 year marriage – that is miraculous – and all mine.
Check out Josh here: http://www.npr.org/event/music/176171890/josh-ritter-coming-out-of-the-dark-clouds