We must learn to live together as brothers or perish together as fools. —Martin Luther King, Jr.
This quote seems every bit as relevant today as it did when it was spoken in 1964. I’m grateful today for the brave men and women who speak up for others and do what’s necessary and right for all people at the risk of their own lives. They seem to be more and more rare.
However, regardless of what the news constantly shows, I believe there are plenty of people who want to live in harmony. During what seems like an insurmountable divide in our country right now, I interact with people daily who know how to be decent and respectful to others, even when they don’t agree. The examples may not be as memorable or grand, but I believe it’s not insignificant. We can personally make a difference in our own interactions. I’m also thankful for that.
My boyfriend teased me today about having no gratitude for him making me breakfast AND dinner yesterday. I teased him back that his breakfast made us sick so it was hard to mention. (It didn’t really; I think it was coincidence.) At any rate, I promised him that the next post was going to be his. I don’t think he took me seriously. After all, we are both more than a bit sarcastic. But I thought about it afterwards and decided that I should write about him. Sometimes it’s easiest to take the people closest to us for granted, assuming they should know how we feel. Even forgetting the niceties we reserve for strangers, like thank you and please and excuse me. I try to remember to be respectful that way, but I still find it difficult sometimes to be verbal with compliments. I often think them, but I’m reticent with sharing. Maybe it stems from my fear of sounding disingenuine. I’m sure growing up in a family of seven sarcastic people didn’t help. Or maybe it’s because getting complimented often makes me feel awkward. Whatever the reason, I really should get better at it.
So what about my guy? For starters, he’s helped redefine my expectations for relationships. In that, I’m learning to let go of how I think things should be and am much more willing to let things evolve as they will. Not a lot about us makes us an obvious match. He’s math; I’m English. He prefers to be alone; I bug him when my house is empty. He’s ok with no plan; I need to know what’s happening next. He’s never been married; I’ve been divorced. Heck, he’s even a foot taller than I am. And a lot younger. And for the longest time, I thought those differences would matter more than they do. But every time I worry, he makes me feel calmer and I think it’s because for the first time in my relationship history, I actually trust him. He doesn’t run off of ulterior motives or competition or whatever is going to make him look best. He says what he means, and I really appreciate that. Maybe not always in the moment, but I love knowing that I can take what he tells me at face value. For me, that’s a biggie. I also appreciate that he’s respectful to me; he asks my opinion, he apologizes if he needs to, he invites me to join him on things. I don’t feel taken for granted. I’m thankful for some little things too: how he kisses the top of my head, pays for dinner, rests his hand on my knee when he drives, teases me relentlessly, cooks for me, tries to scare me during tv time, and has helped me appreciate craft beer and Howard Stern. Obviously, I could add stuff, but he’s probably already mad that I’ve said this much.
As with everyone, my guy isn’t perfect. I do get annoyed sometimes. (And yet he doesn’t with me…go figure.) But I am honestly thankful for having him in my life. We broke up for a short period and I realized then that no matter how I tried to move on, I couldn’t. He’s gotten under my skin. I told him once that I’d take whatever time I had with him, long or short, because I knew it would be worth it. Of course, I hope now it will be a long time.