9 years ago today, Grey and I stood up in front of family and friends and exchanged vows. Naive to what the future held, all we cared about in the moment was being together.
One year ago today, we hit our lowest point in this journey. Convinced our journey towards biological children was over, we found ourselves attempting to piece together all that had happened while trying to figure out how to move on. The pain from that day is still very real and will forever be etched on our hearts. The memories forever engrained in our minds.
This morning, before running off to work, I laid down next to this same man and studied his face while he slept. So much has happened in these last 9 yrs, especially since our diagnosis. And yet, though we are both profoundly changed, I know how lucky I am to have found my soulmate.
At the end of our wedding program, there was a story I first heard while taking an African Storytelling course as an undergraduate and both Grey and I immediately fell in love with its lesson. The moral of this story is simple, though not easy: A fruitful and blessed partnership will be one in which partners face life's struggles and impasses together; problems that are represent by the weight before the door. Never did I imagine we would encounter such traumas and the truth is that we're still learning daily how to work with one another to navigate our way through each and every single one of them. Yet I can't imagine any other person I would have wanted by my side through all of this.
Happy anniversary, Grey. Thank you for climbing over the boulders of infertility/loss with me, being my partner through these seemingly impossible climbs. I'm so lucky to have found you and look forward to the next chapter of our journey together.
The Weight Before the Door
(This story was collected in Morocoo in 1908 by Feridah Kirby Green, who was the daughter of a British Minister.)
There lived once a man so rich that he measured his money by the bushel, as we poverty-stricken ones measure barley or bran. One day, he fell very ill, and, feeling that his last hour had come, he called his son and gave over to him all his wealth and property. He said to him, "My son, I leave your welfare in the hands of the Almighty, and to the care of such-and-such a one, who is my friend. Listen to his words, as if they were mine. I have instructed him to find a bride for you when you are ready to marry."
Having blessed his son, the man died.
After a time, the young man desired to marry, so, according to his father's last word, he went to the his father's friend, his guardian and informed him. The Guardian said, "It is well," and he set out and found a young woman. He made all necessary preparations, and caused a suitable feast to be prepared. The morning before the carrying of the bride to the groom, the Guardian called the young man and said to him, "Son of my friend, I have found you a bride. But before we may know that she is the one destined for you by Allah, it is necessary that you should do this. Tonight, after the bride has been brought to your house and she is seated in your room awaiting you, and before you go to her, I shall cause a heavy weight to be placed before the door of the room. You are to attempt to remove the weight. If she is the fitting wife for you, you will succeed; if you do not succeed, you will know that she is not for you and you should divorce her tomorrow without so much as seeing her face."
The young man wondered about this, but said, "It is well."
That night, the bride was brought with much pomp and rejoicing, and the bride was taken to the man's apartment and seated there in a rich robe to await him. Her eyes were closed and a veil covered her face.
The bridegroom, after tarrying a while in the mosque with young men of his acquaintance, came up to the door of the room. The door was agar, so that he could see the shrouded figure. Before the door lay the weight, of which the Guardian had spoken. The weight was round like a ball and not large.
The youth though, "I shall lift it with ease and won't wait to go in to my wife." But when he tired to lift the weight, he could not move it---no, not the breadth of a finger nail. He tried with all his strength to move it by lifting and pushing and rolling it, but in vain.
He did not enter the room.
The next morning, he went to the Guardian and told him what had happened. The Guardian said, "You must divorce this woman, my son, and I shall seek another for you." This was done.
The Guardian, after he had found a second woman, caused a yet finer feast to be prepared. The bride was brought, as had happened the first time, and the bride was seated in the young man's room. When he came to enter, the weight again lay before the slightly open door. Though he saw the veiled woman, and though he tried with all his strength to remove the obstacle and go to her, he could not---no, though he struggled until dawn.
When the Guardian heard that the young man had failed once more, he signed and said, "Nor is this wife destined for you by the All-wise. Let us send her back to her father and I shall seek again."All was done as he said.
When the young man came for the third time to try to enter the bridal chamber, for the third time he saw that the way was blocked. He said, "This time, I shall remove the weight or, if I cannot do it, I shall try no more. If I do not succeed this time, I shall know that it is decreed that I should die unmarried." He bent his back and seized the ball with his two hands, and he pulled at it until he groaned with weariness, but in vain.
The young woman within heard his groans and she said to herself, "Shall I let this man who is my husband kill himself without striving to help him?" She arose, put aside her veil and her outer robe of gold and pushed herself through the half-open door. She approached the young man who was wrestling with the heavy weight and said, "Let me help, my lord."
The two placed their hands together on the ball, and pushed with all their force. The weight rolled on one side of the door, so that the entrance was free.
The young man looked on the fair face of the woman who had come to his aid and saw that she was in truth the bride destined for him. He embraced her and the two entered the room together.
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