We’re listening to Kid A, Marshall and I.  I’m in my pajamas, typing on the laptop, and Marshall is over there on the other end of my room, trying to get a website that’s been giving him lots of trouble back online.  Moments like this are surely what marriage is: silent plants growing toward the evening window, black night, candle flames hovering on the table, each of us trying to learn how to live our own life and trying not to live the other one’s life.  If you know what I mean.

Marshall’s chosen computers as his profession, but what does that choice really mean when he realizes, in the middle of the workday, that he doesn’t want to look at another computer his whole life long?  I’ve chosen writing as my vocation (or it has chosen me?), but what weight does that decision carry when I realize I haven’t written anything lucid in months?  Maybe a year?  These are huge questions.

When we take a walk at Mead’s Quarry and are stopped by a thin man with deeply-grooved crow’s feet, thin beard, and tunic, and are told with a deep humility that Jesus asked the rich young ruler to sell all he had and give to the poor, what must we say?  That we have the power of thousands of dollars on our shoulders, both pushing us behind and pulling is forward, and yet … we need that momentum, or else we have to change our lives?  That we are in the process of learning how to touch diseases without getting sick?  Or must we just say, we will pray about it, thank you for talking with us?  Anyway, that’s what we said.  We went back to our car, and he walked, as itinerate prophets have for a thousand years, on to where he would be tomorrow.

I consider my poverty, how I have hated it and loved it.  How it has taught me and how I have taught it.  Marshall considers his money.  How he came to make it, how it informs his thought.  I consider what Marshall should do.  We consider what we should do.  We part and come back together, part again, come back again and back again.  We understand each other, then misunderstand, and when it rankles unbearably, we slog through the swamp of feelings and reach each other again.  Again.  Again.  Again.

And now, here we are.  Last week and weekend are behind us.  The rest of our lives are before us.  Somehow we are learning from each stage of our life together, from the ones in which we did a lot of flailing around like drowning people, hoping one crushing kick would reach some solid ground, and from the ones in which we swore off crossing any sheet of ice because of our memories of falling in, remembering how our hands and faces pressed up underneath the ice.  The spring brings the earth into another full revolution, and we are entering again the stages of bending over seedlings and whispering to them to grow, and of lying on black night grass and watching the summer winds whirl the stars, babies watching a mobile, laughing.

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