One month ago, my boyfriend proposed to me. We plan to marry in November.
It is an odd thing to be planning a wedding while friends around us are starting divorce proceedings. It makes me wonder if I'm being stupid.
I had gotten pretty good at being single — independent, driven, solid group of friends, supportive family. In some ways I had everything I needed. Then I fell in love. Or it sneaked up on me or chased me down or something.
But it happened: This man, who is better for me than the one I dreamed up in my head, came after me and I saw how we could be better together than separate. I saw in him a way of being that I long for, one who enjoys life and is deeply compassionate and not afraid to stand up to misplaced strength. We are great together.
But didn't those other couples think that too?
My friend texted me recently that her husband just spent all their savings to buy a boat so he could move out.
I spent the morning mulling over invitation wording. How does one get from where I am to where she is? Or rather, how does one avoid getting there?
Maybe a more important question right now is how do I support my friend when we are standing in such different places?
My gut answer was to get over my fear — my fear of going down the same path, my fear of offending her in my joy, my fear of not knowing what to say. I needed to get over it and be her friend.
So I am getting married and my friend's marriage is falling apart. My mom would tell me, "Deal with it."
A classmate from Estancia High School has a blog (ohleona.org) that highlights the differences between where we are in life versus where we thought we would be.
In reading it I see that very few people are where they thought they would be. I did not think I would be getting married at 37. I know that my friend did not think she would be ending a marriage at 37. And yet here we are.
Dealing with it.
Maybe the best way to deal with our differing situations is actually quite similar. I read that gratitude cultivates trust. As I learn to trust my fiance more deeply than has ever been required of me, I am practicing gratitude.
Most days I can be grateful for the ways he is different from me. I am grateful for the friends and family around us. I give thanks for a home and job. The recognition of these gifts helps me trust that the future will be all right too.
I see my friend struggling in this same practice of gratitude, recognizing the support around her. Giving thanks to God for her children and being grateful for her work.
In a season when all we have to fear is shouting loudly from campaign trails and our own hearts, perhaps recognizing the good gifts we have will lead us in a way of peace.
CRISSY BROOKS is co-founder and executive director of Mika Community Development Corp., a faith-based nonprofit in Costa Mesa, where she lives.