Wednesday, December 4, 2013

MY SEASON OF GRATITUDE: November 30, 2013

Well, it's the last day of the month, the theoretical end of my "Season of Gratitude". As you might have guessed by now, it's only the theoretical end because my season of gratitude is endless. On Thanksgiving, I read a post from a work colleague who said that the ONLY thing he could find to be thankful for this year was that he was still alive. I couldn't feel more differently. For me, it was a challenge to find the just one thing with which to end my month.

But the one thing could only be ONE thing, of course. I am most grateful that I have a balancing, perfectly opposing, centering center of my universe, my partner, Philip. When I previously described my parents' relationship as a yin-yang, I couldn't help but compare my own to that universal symbol of balance: opposite in so many ways, yet synchronized in the most critical. In my view, yin-yang can also symbolize the many ironies of life, especially my life which seems particularly irony-prone. A favorite phrase of Philip's epitomizes just how different he and I can be, "Do you ALWAYS have to look at the bright side?" Uh, yes.

At the time that Philip and I met, via the introduction of a dear friend, I was skeptical. Philip was so very different from anyone I had ever considered a suitable match for myself, we are opposites on so many levels. Then, I realized, "Tony, you haven't been doing such a great job on your own. Why not consider a situation that someone who knows you well thinks ideal." The first 24 hours after our meeting have turned out to be that critical turning point where both our lives veered onto a totally different path! It was a whimsical, audacious, frightening thing to do, so outside our comfort zones. I shake my head when I think about how such an unlikely union has coalesced into something so much greater than the sum of its parts.

Together, Philip and I have forged a radically unremarkable life together, seeking neither recognition nor a traditional form of validation. Now, ironically, our society seems to be on the cusp of rendering such recognition and validation the law of the land. I'm happy for those who yearn for such but it's positively anti-climactic for Philip and me, a non-issue. We have defined who we are together without the traditional sanctions afforded most. Our partnership is held to a higher standard.

How different things might have been if Philip and I had not joined to walk life's path together. The thought is really a little anxiety-provoking! (That's quite an admission from someone who professes to be practically anxiety-less.) A very wise aunt once said, when answering a question about how to be happy while living to be well into her 90s, "Everything in moderation." It's a lesson I've applied over and over when options abound. I've modified her declaration just a bit from my own experience, "Everything in moderation; maintain balance."

Philip Peter Sanchez is my True North, as well as my south, east and west. For me, the Sun both rises and sets in him; he makes the day brighter and the night more peaceful. He is the perfect seasoning for the perfect season. I live in gratitude that, against all odds, he seems to feel likewise about me.

Whatever our future holds, we will face it together, in purposeful if imperfect balance "until death us do part."

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