Houston, TX. November 2019.
Another trip back. To abundance and grounding. The future and past. The realizations and proclamations. The shortcomings and victories. The regression and growth.
A trip back to check out and simultaneously, check in and check up. It has been a long season. One with highs and lows, both career wise and relationally. We come back–back to Houston, at the end of every Autumn. No signs of the dewy summer, a crisp, chill in the evening air. An organic tradition. An invitation to cuddle up together, to debrief, to take a load off–to get more vulnerable.
The abundance of love, affection, history, heartbreak, uncertainty, joy, celebration…did I mention, Love? And a lot of it. It is heartfelt and genuine; sometimes, it is messy. Periodically, our passion seeps from unhealed wounds.
The duality of these trips. In space and time. Certain circumstances hit and trigger, by surprise. Then, tears fall with joy and gratitude just moments later. Being human means living in paradox. With passing years, the more comfortable I get with it. Living in a world that will leave you blissful and disappointed in the same inhale. When a situation can conjure up tears of pity and sadness and gratitude that intermingle so that you cannot decipher which emotion is falling from your face.
And being in love–that shows me the best parts of humanity, and it makes me recognize what I need to change in myself.
The meaning laced within each drive through the open roads, countrysides and cotton fields, decorated by wild flowers. Wild flowers that live in the dirt, and those that live in a half-drank water bottle, symbolic of the beauty I wanted to savor.
The grounding into our relationship, our connections, our values, what is truly important. It is the settling after a storm. Dropping of confetti after the pop. The stillness after a gust of wind. The last grain of sand sliding through my fingertips. It is the knowledge of who we are dancing with the freedom to be who we are destined to be. For one another, for our family, for our parents, for our grandchildren.
Now, it is the ground, the soil in which my daughter is rooted deeply. The ground she prances over, with her tip-toe run. The flowerbeds she rummages through in search of nothing to find countless somethings. The origin of the blades of grass she delicately plucks from her grandmother’s yard.
Her existence is intertwined with our relationship, our past experiences, and our enduring love story. She is her father’s child and her dad grew up here. In the figurative and the literal. He grew into this family, into this city, into these circles. It all hits so differently now that we have her. I stand in awe of everything Texas and bloodlines have brought to us.
All of the blessings, and just as importantly, all of the heartaches we did not see as blessings; yet and still, they truly are. The places where we have hurt the most have taught us the greatest lessons. How is it that pain can be our wisest teacher? I am blessed by everything this life with him has brought to me.
My partner. My love for a lifetime. A seed-bearer. A water-bearer. My spirit guide. My best friend. My protector. My Home.
The first person who was safe. The only one who showed me extensive loyalty, aside from my brother. I can be who I want to, who I need to, who I was made to be. That is the type of love I wish for everyone. Are there issues? Sure. Humans have issues. That is in our fiber make-up. What issues are worth the time though?
I just finished this book Crazy Little Thing Called Marriage … it has me thinking. When we fight, we fight for peace. How are we bringing glory to our disagreements? Not just to squabble, but to resolve. Not to win, but to conquer as a couple. Not just to self-satisfy, but to make God content.
And, he has brought me to this place of knowing God, deeper. He has encouraged me to know myself, better. He has wrapped me up and comforted me when all I did was push away. He leans in, even when I have leaned out. He listens to my intuition and is courageous in his own pursuits.
My man will lift my chin to turn my eyes up when I am depleted, because he actually cares. Nurture resounds within his spirit.
He reminds me of who I am in the eyes of God when I lose touch. The type of friend I pray to be. The loyalty and love through action is impeccable, even when verbal affirmations fall short. He is the grounded visionary perfectly coupled with a lofty dreamer.
And we have grown as differently as The Pine and The Palm. If you have ever been to Houston, you know these two trees stand prominently, on each corner of every street; you can find one or the other.
We speak a different love language, and family language, and body language, and any other language and still…we love one another, immensely. We have a pact to keep loving each other, better and better, as we get to know ourselves more and more, to fall in love again and again.
And it has not been easy. It can be uncomfortable. To trust someone. To trust yourself, fully. To step into your worth completely. To be depended upon. To embrace what you deserve–the gift of love and happiness and peace. Without drama and mystery, some of us falsely question our relevance and power. I have been there in the past, but here and now:
Pure and sensual.
Confident and humble.
Desired and cherished.
Free and accountable.
As one is evergreen, the other sprouts new leaves from the top of the tree, while the remaining ones fan and fall, turning brown as they droop to the ground. The Pine has fine needles and cones, as The Palm has tough, broad greenery. This place is where they meet, in perfect harmony.
With vastly different appearances, varied attributes and unique characteristics, they still thrive in the same city, the same environment.
Surely, The Palm and The Pine originated from two particular places, with needs specific to their homeland. Still, they have the ability to sustain and flourish in this environment, together, side by side.
I remember times of mutual revelation. The times when we knew we will remember this encounter, forever. When we locked eyes and saw the importance of a particular moment. When the ‘right’ words danced gracefully across our lips. I can recollect the episodes when tears welled and desperately begged us are you ten toes deep in this?
The Palm is vibrant in its expression, tall with much to bare. The Pine is full and dark and rich. We smell it before we see it. The Palm’s nature forces us to look up in admiration, while The Pine makes a subtle appearance that can be enjoyed on eye-level.
We are as different as Palm and Pine, yet we grow together and complement one another. We balance each other in the way we play off our strengths and hold each other up in our weaknesses. It was–we are created in that way.
Staying here, I see the beauty. The beauty that grows so readily, so effortless. Fertile soil produces healthy trees that bear good fruit. It is my prayer that we continue to turn over the soil, to plant seeds in the most optimal spaces of our life as a trio.
I imagine the palms and the pines have roots under this city that perfectly intertwine. Many seem old; as old as my love’s life. To think that he drove past, looked up at, played under, ran toward, jumped up to touch the leaves of these trees. I sit underneath, reading and writing, thinking of how his energy lives in this place. His family’s energy is within this dirt and dust, in an eternal way that sustains beyond recognition or physical form.
If one tree is extracted, uprooted with entangled roots, isn’t the other bound to feel the effects? If one tree is pulled up from the ground while intermingled and wrapped within the roots of another, the tree left standing still shows signs of distress and unrest. The welfare of dancing trees.
No matter where we go, the blood, the love, the sweat and the tears will live here. It has passed on here. It exceeds the earthly, human things. The connections that have connected us with one another and our destinies are God gifted– perfectly proportioned and prompted. It is not of us, but of The Source.
Every light time, dark time and in between time. Every ray of sun and lurking shadow, every storm cloud and rainbow has created us to be the people and parents we are, right now. For our daughter and for ourselves. We take each other’s hands and trace back to the hurts of our past, together. That is our hope and prayer. To let God in each day like the sunshine through our window, to grow our hearts, to love each other and the world better.
The Pine and The Palm.