Saturday, August 9, 2014

Courage Counts

Many people have asked me about what it's like to remarry.  Since today is our first anniversary, I will try to share what I have learned.  I have tried to paint a pretty real picture, through this blog, about Family Change,  but this summer, I had an experience that illustrates the answer to the question perfectly. In June, we had a family camping trip at Lake Tahoe.  We were able to take time out of our busy schedules, slow down, enjoy the outdoors and practice our camping skills.  One evening, after dinner, my husband and I decided to go on a bike ride.  We jumped on our bikes, just the two of us, and off we went.  The weather was crisp and cool.  The evening breeze felt amazing in our hair.  We stayed on the narrow trail, one behind the other, and road into the sunset.  I was the leader on the first stretch.  We reached the end of the trail, and headed back.  This time, the husband took the lead.
 And, he headed towards a different direction.  I asked him if we were going back to camp.  He responded, "Yep, follow me!"  I took no thought to do anything different, so I pedaled right behind him.  (At this point of the story, it is probably important to point out that he rides a lot, loves to ride, has competitively ridden and was on his own bike!!----- I was on a 30 year old, refurbished 10-speed from the 1980's, that did not belong to me, and I rarely ride).  Not long after he took the lead, I notice the trail headed down a hill and took a pretty sharp turn.  As we got closer and closer to the turn, I noticed a small bridge, made out of a couple of 2x4s, did I say, 2x4s???  Do the math----that makes the bridge, at most 4" - 8" wide.  I cried out to him in fear and begged to turn around.  He responded encouragingly and said, "You can do it!"  I pedaled with courage and faith, my arms shook as I pedaled over the narrow, homemade bridge, and quickly leaped off my bike, before crashing around the tight turn!!  My first thought was to yell, "Are you crazy??"  My second thought was to start walking my bike.  My prince charming rode back, made sure I was ok, and said those ever comforting words again, "Follow me!"  Wow, at this point I wanted to yell, "I'm trying Lance Armstrong," but I kept my comments to myself, mounted the 10-speed artifact and resumed pedaling!  Soon, we came to another hill, this one was straight up and covered with large rocks.  I began to panic, but whispered as I pedaled, "I think I can, I think I can, I think I can........."  I kept my eyes on my husband, and kept pedaling!
If I looked down at the jagged rocks beneath me, or looked up at the hill I still needed to climb, I knew I would surely give up.  I did fall one more time, into the rock garden beneath me.  And those words again, "Come on-----follow me!"  I mounted the antique, one last time, and was bound and determined to stay on until we returned to camp.  I kept my eyes on him, and soon found that we reached the top of the steep hill.  There I found a view of Lake Tahoe like no other.  It was breathtaking!  Now, we were headed downhill and with great speed.  (Great speed for me, anyway, need I say more!) We laughed about my tumbles, we talked, the trail widened and we rode next to each other for a moment.  Soon, we were near the lake, on familiar ground, and I again, took the lead.  Now, the race was on, my competitive jeans kicked in, and I pedaled back to camp with confidence.  
As I have reflected on that evening ride, I have realized that it answers the question perfectly, "What is it like to remarry?" ---------  You take turns taking the lead.  Chances are, both have been taking the lead as single parents or just plain being single.  Sometimes, it is hard to give up the lead role.  However, when you remarry, you need to become just as good at following, as you are at being a leader.  I have found that we each bring very different yet vital skills, talents and interests into our marriage and family.  So, when we are hiking, biking, working long shifts or in the mountains, he often takes the lead.  These are not only his passions, but he is skilled in these areas and I recognize that.  So, it makes sense that he lead.  However, familiar ground for me is planning, scheduling and following through with day to day commitments.  He realizes that here I am strong.  And, he not only lets me take the lead, but asks me to.  When he asks, I lead out in these areas with new-found confidence as I realize he knows this is my talent.  When you remarry, sometimes it is hard to learn and decide who leads when.  And, here is where you trust at times, and at others, you step in ----- "Follow me!"  In remarriage, there will be some rocky terrain, some narrow bridges, and you may even crash and burn.  And, at times you may want to give up.  It is during these times that you look up, to your higher power for strength.  It is here that courage counts!  Blending interests, habits, likes and dislikes and children and extended family is not always easy.  However, it is worth it!!!  It is worth it when you realize that as a team you are stronger than you were as an individual.  It is worth it when you realize those lonely nights are in your past.  It is worth it when you have someone to share you day with.  It is worth it when you realize that parenting was divinely designed for two, and you are grateful to be a team during such a crucial part in your life and theirs. It is worth it when you are poor, but you are poor together, yet richer than you ever thought you could ever be.  And, it is worth when your kids say they love him and can't imagine life without him.
 What is it like to remarry?  It's mostly the same as any marriage.  It is like the craziest, funnest, most difficult, scary-at-times bike race of your life!!! Sometimes you fall.  Sometimes you want to give up.  You keep pedaling.  And, most of the time, the view is more beautiful than it has ever been before.  Even breathtaking!! And all the time, you need faith in each other.  Really, remarrying is no different than many of life's experiences.  Have faith in Him who truly leads.   Keep your eyes on Him and don't look down at the rocky terrain or the mountain you have to climb.  Just keep pedaling.  Get back on your bike when you fall. Enjoy the journey.  It may not be easy, but it's worth it.  Courage Counts!!