...And We're Off / by KR


Take My Hand..
Originally uploaded by rose lovering *.
About ten years ago, I was driving around Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic with a friend, running errands. That task alone is quite a bit different than here in America – much more chaotic and potentially dangerous. I hardly recall what we were picking up because the conversation is what stuck with me all these years later.

Her and her husband had been the primary builders/creators of camp in the Dominican Mountains (yes, there are Mountains in the Caribbean – up to 10,000 feet high). The camp had been bulldozed by a militant branch of the government for no real apparent reason – months of work, years of planning wiped clean by arrogance. The day the machines showed up, her husband was literally standing in front of them, blocking their path, protecting the camp. The machines prevailed and everything he and his wife had come down to the D.R. to do was gone.

It was this moment in their marriage she was sharing with me. See, when they got married she had engraved on her wedding band a verse from the Tanakh in which Ruth says,” Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay.” Sitting in the gridlock of Santo Domingo traffic she turned to me and said, “A few days after the camp was destroyed I took the ring off my finger and said to my husband that I wasn’t sure I could keep my promise anymore, that this was too hard, too much. I wasn’t willing to stay here in the D.R. I wasn’t willing to go where he was going anymore.” But she stayed. They relocated and built another camp and then went on to start a school in Jarabacoa called Doulous Discovery School that they still run to this day. A nice epilogue, yes, but they didn’t know that when she was standing there with her wedding ring off, the weight of it in her hand.

Ten years later this conversation comes back around to me as I re-learn what it is to be “married” to Life. Do I trust the One that loves me even when things seem lost in a fog of unknowns? When it feels more like a ride on Space Mountain – a rollercoaster in the darkness, than a jaunt in a sunny meadow? Though I might remove the ring on my finger am I willing to not give it up completely, hold on and go where Life goes, stay where Life stays? As work grows scarce, and so the bank account, as things might seem bulldozed by inexplicable means, how much am I willing to trust the story of this marriage does not end here? No, I am not going all Eeyore on things. And there is far too much Light and Life to give in to the Dark and Despairing. But that doesn’t stop me from having to face these questions… how far am I willing to go for Life?