09 January 2012

Love Story: Walking the Same Path


It's been awhile since we've had a 'Love Story' post.  I must say, it has been amazing for me to read through the hundreds of love letters that we have in our archives and choose the ones that might be good for the blog.  I cry.  I laugh out loud.  I share lines with Danny and he laughs, too.  Without fail, as I read these, I always want to go over to Danny and just hold him tight.  We've been on an incredible journey together.

For anyone new to the 'Love Story' posts, Danny & I were set up by a friend by email.  We started writing each other and within one day, we were dying over the words on the screen.  We could tell we were speaking the same language.  We spent the next 3 weeks writing our hearts & souls out to one another before meeting.  We didn't text, skype, or even speak on the phone.  These are the continuation of some of the letters that unfolded...


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Dear Danny,

I never realized how natural and great it could feel to be with someone that had been married before (I have not yet dated a divorced guy).  I am shocked, actually, at how natural and REAL & BETTER this feels.  This last year I have caught myself thinking that even though the divorce was a trial that I wouldn’t trade (because of the personal deliverance I was able to experience) I still thought that maybe it would be best to marry someone who hadn't been married before….just so I could carry on and feel “normal”.  I hate to admit it now, but I just didn’t think the chances were very high that I could meet a divorced person that wasn’t bitter or didn’t just dwell in negativity.  I guess I just didn’t know too many divorced people that were open about what a lifechanging/sanctifying experience it was for them.  Ok, as I am writing this, it sounds so ridiculous.  I feel badly that I thought that because there are so many good people out there!  Luckily, I was actually realizing that my thoughts were off base right before meeting you.  That very week, I started to tell my friends that I was thinking that maybe I should hope for divorced guy to come along....because I thought they just might have a better perspective on life.  And then out of the blue, you came along.  And, well, Danny, I have been COMPLETELY put in my place.  It turns out that with you, I feel MORE at peace with myself and my life and my past and everything.  This feels sooo wholesome and natural and good...and it's because we've both been through this and both have come out the other side so much better for it.  Turns out I LIKE it that you've had another wife, that you've gone through trials, that you have experience with intimacy, that you know what is really important, that you know what it's like to be a husband, etc.  I welcome it all!! You are seriously the greatest catch I could ever dream up....

 
Mara,

This really is wonderful, isn’t it?  Giddy, happy, full, peaceful, savoring every moment…..ahhhhhh. 

By the way, back to the Kofoed women…..if you get a chance to meet my sisters and my mom, you are just going to love them!  They are the very best, and have always been my role models for what I would look for in a good woman.  Anyway, if this keeps going, you would gain two best friends who share your outlook on life and happiness, your drive to be a good wife and mother, and above all things, to embrace all that life has to offer.  And my Mom?  Let’s just say that my Mom and I seem to share a brain…it’s been fascinating to learn how similar our thoughts have been over this last year during my many conversations with her.

We are very lucky, aren’t we!  Once I realized my marriage was over, one of the first thoughts that popped in my mind was “boy was I potentially wrong about divorced people….I hope people won’t carry against me some of the same prejudices I just might have carried if the roles were reversed.”  Anyway, yes, this is wonderful, and natural, and sooooo goooooood.  It couldn’t possibly be this way if we didn’t share in this experience.  I, too, thought there was a slim chance of finding someone that had gone through what I’d been through, and yet still felt the way I feel.  I had written off the idea that I might find someone like you.  I couldn’t have ever dreamed that anything would be like this!  EVER!  You, my dear, are the greatest catch.

Danny

Oh, Danny, waking up to your emails is simply a bit of heaven. 

Your family sounds WONDERFUL!  I am sure I would love them.   Ahhh….isn’t it a blessing?  I don’t know what I’d do this last year without my family.  My parents just came through for me in all the right ways.  Even now they offer the most solid advice, always.  They are truly good people.  And even in my weak moments of sadness (or fury!  ha!) they consistently got me back on the right track within a minute of talking to them.

About divorce….I never thought in a million years that it would happen to ME.  But it did.  And one of the benefits of it is it has given me sooo much more compassion for people everywhere, especially anyone who has faced a trial of any kind.  I have hope for all of them.  I am the biggest fan of every person in the world.  I KNOW that every single person alive has the power to change and to really find some peace.  If I can get there, I know others can, too.  It’s my prayer that everyone (including our former spouses) will reach a point of peace in their lives, though I realize that it sometimes takes a while to get there as we are all on a different path.  (It took me 30 years or so!)  I am just all too excited that I have met you….as I feel that by some miracle, we are on the same path!!!!!  It’s a beautiful road, isn’t it?  I would love to share the rest of this journey with you… I am so hoping that we can.

You’re in my thoughts always,

Mara


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Hey!

Okay, I held off as long as I could….time to write you!  Yes, these emails are a slice of heaven.  I think that’s why I’m addicted to them.  I’ll have to make this short (that’s what I tell myself every time.)

I think my opinion about divorced people changed when I had a friend of mine go through exactly what I ended up going through one year after him.  I knew him to be an outstanding man, and he'd shared his story with me, and I was just heart broken for him.  Then the identical circumstances happened to me.  He was the first person I called to lay it all out to and ask his advice.  He'd made so much progress since the last year, that I just knew that I could do it, too; that I'd be alright.  However, I never thought I'd be THIS alright.  I just won't be able to stop thanking you, dear Mara.  And I just love that the emptiness hasn't been filled by just another body.  I haven't even seen you or touched you yet…there's nothing physical here so I know I’m not hanging on to this cause it "just feels good".  It isn't about that.  This connection is spiritual.  It’s at the core of who we are.  You’re right, this is quite simply a little miracle in which our two paths have crossed, which maybe shouldn't be so surprising considering we've been walking the same road.  I'm not entirely sure I would have called the road beautiful before (a little perspective always manages to change that), but it certainly has been since you started to accompany me.  It's all worth it!  Thank you!

(Okay, so I just had to go make copies of something and my boss caught me with way too big of a smile on my face as I was walking through the hall and he said "It can't be that funny Danny…"  haha!  If only he knew!)

Okay, must go now...and yes, as evidenced by my parenthetical above, you, too, are always in my thoughts. 

Danny

Photos are by Peter Mercado & we think he did a great job!
(He was one of the photographers in the Jonathan Canlas
FILM IS NOT DEAD workshop.)
Here are more of Peter's pics from the day, if you'd like to see.

14 comments:

  1. These are absolutely beautiful...what a romantic story too.

    I have a box full of the letters, notes, cards me and the boy wrote to each other and the emotion in them gets me every time!

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  2. not related to this post, but is this by any chance you, Mara? http://www.thesartorialist.com/photos/on-the-street-sixth-ave-new-york/#comment-451193 If so, then a) super cute photo and b) congrats on getting on The Sartorialist!

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  3. Oh my gosh! That's not me. I wish!!
    I can't imagine showing up on The Sartorialist.
    So cute of you to write.

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  4. great post! I am one of Danny's sisters, and we LOVE Mara. How great to have such a wonderful woman come into Danny's life. We are all in awe at these two, they teach us so much. Even though I'm older, I totally look up to these two, they've got it good, and know how to appreciate it! love you guys, love these little slices into your wonderful love story.

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  5. I just found your blog a few days ago through Rachel Thurston (love her work), and I've read through your entire Love Story. It is so beautiful, I cant wait for more! Thanks for sharing it, have a wonderful week! Jilleun Jasperson

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  7. Can I just say THANK YOU! Thank you for your story as it is one I need to hear right now. I am recently divorced and love to see your perspective and joy in life despite your trials you have overcome.
    Heather Pulsipher

    (I was introduced to your blog by Stephanie Selcho, Danny we actually went to high school together)

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  8. Oh Mara, im so encouraged by your blog. I always get a ton of hope by your story. I am a single girl, but waiting on the right person is difficult at 27 when everyone in your family, friends and church circle seem to wonder sometimes(not in a bad way) but it definitely puts a hint of pressure. But you know I am encouraged by the Lord as I wait and as you mentioned how you and Danny where on the same path. That is something incredible to find in a partner, as I can imagine, and I just feel that finding that person requires patience and a spiritual connection only the Lord can create. Thank you. (btw, i now stalk on twitter too, i just love you two... sometimes i wonder if you are really human -- just kidding!:)

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  9. Hey Mara,

    I really have been enjoying your blog. It is refreshing to read your story. In a world of blogs that rarely address real life, your blog really stands out.

    However, I would definitely fit into the category of "working away at a hard marriage." There is nothing inherently wrong (no abuse, we really do love each other) but marriage has always been hard for us. We're young at been at this for 3 years and I honestly feel like giving up. We do have a spiritual foundation, and I feel like a lot of your advice is solid, however I feel like I'm missing a practical side of your advice. In other words, every time I imagine myself mustering up a sense of joy in our trials (..in the midst of my husband being so anxious about "where we are at" and having to explain it 20 times a day, or my anger just welling up in myself because things are fixed yet..) I just don't even feel like it is possible. How do you actually do it? How do you make the right choice in the moment?

    Anyways, just some thoughts I thought you might be good at answering ;)

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  10. Anonymous - I am so glad you wrote. At this very moment I am working on finalizing the follow up post to that recent post about marriage. :) I hope something I'm writing will be helpful to you. My heart goes out to you as you face this challenge. But real quick, know that you DO indeed have control over how you react in situations. You have to have a vision for the kind of person you want to be and no matter what comes your way, try to be true to that. If there is something annoying before you....is it worth it to stoop low and lose your own character & light in the moment? Would you want to teach your kids how to behave that way in the face of a trial? Or would you rather be true to yourself in those moments and respond with stillness and strength & honor? My religious beliefs about the idea that this life has a greater purpose are REALLY helpful to me....whether or not you are religious, try to tap into that idea that progression is of value in your life - - and without trials you would not be able to progress. This way you can take a deep breath and stop resisting your trials....it's helpful in letting go of the idea that life is supposed to turn out perfectly...it helps in those moments when you normally wouldn't have hope or strength in the face of a trial. The other thing I can suggest is to practice practice practice! Practice doing what I talk about on the blog in little ways....say to yourself that the next time something annoying comes up, you'll be ready for it. In fact, envision the next annoying thing and in advance plan out a way to respond. Then just play it out. Do it. You'll feel free. The trial won't control you any more, you'll be in control. And the more you do this over and over, the more preparation you have. The more strength and muscle memory you have. The more you'll be able to face those awful situations and think with a clear head. More and more this will become your natural way of reacting. And you will be empowered.

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  11. Mara and Danny,

    I found out about your blog after spending a few days alone in McCall, Idaho trying to find some peace in the midst of one of my most difficult trials. Not my marriage, it is as solid as a rock. I was fortunately blessed with the most incredible man on the planet. (I know I am a bit biased.)
    But children....I know that you have had fertility problems and I wish you the best in your endeavor to become parents. You two would be SUPERB parents. But as with everything else, there are some low,....very low moments. And I am in the midst of one now.
    Anyway, I was driving home feeling just as lost as I did the day I arrived in McCall, wondering what it is the Lord wanted me to do next. I was hoping for some enlightenment in those few days but it didn't come. I was discouraged. Then, I decided to turn on BYU Radio on my way home. And...you two were being interviewed. I don't even particularly remember exactly what you said on there, but I just remember, that the Lord meant for me to hear it. He had not abandoned me and he was well aware of my circumstances. But something was said about deciding for ourselves how we react to any given situation. I know, I know, I've heard it a thousand times and I have taught it to our children, but I have always found it tougher to live it. My husband does it so naturally that I am jealous of him.
    Anyway, when I got home, I promised myself I would find your blog. So...I"ll tell you my story.
    We have 6 children, all grown now. Our youngest is 19 and she was adopted when she was 3 years old. What a joy she was and a sweet ray of sunshine in our home. But..as time went on we noticed that things weren't exactly as perfect as we thought. Long story short, she is developmentally delayed. She is a beautiful young lady and you would never know there was anything wrong with her by just meeting her and talking for a few minutes. But she does look about 14 or 15. And...she acts more like she's 12 or 13. It has been a tough journey.
    Well, one evening out of the clear blue, after I asked her to clean up her room because it was messy, she packed up her things and ran away. I was terrified. To make a long story short, we knew she went to a friend's home that wasn't particularly safe. One of her case workers encouraged her to go to a family member and she decided to stay with her Grandma. But.....she insisted she was getting a place of her own.
    And you know what...she found an apt. she can afford all by herself!!!! I was so afraid. And she wasn't talking to us much. Suffice it to say, with much prayer, and your words on the radio that I needed to hear at that time, I am feeling the peace of knowing the Lord's plan will work itself out. She is so naive and so young, but I want her to have self-confidence that she is lacking so much of. And...she has us and the rest of her family to support her. She may fall flat on her face, but we are praying that she doesn't. We are praying that this is the Lord's way of helping her realize her own value and ability. She has focused so much on her "inability" and "why can't I do what everyone else is doing?"
    I know now that I must "find joy in the journey." This may be the best thing for her and I am excited once again. I will be there for her as will her dad, grandmothers, and siblings.
    Thank you, for that reminder, that although we may not have a choice in the trials that beset us, we do have a choice in how we act when they come our way. And....she is talking with us again. What a joy!!!!

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    Replies
    1. My goodness Kelli, I can't tell you how grateful we both are that our little radio session could be used by God to deliver the message you needed to hear. I'm incredibly grateful for you for sharing that, and some of your story.

      If it makes you feel any better, I totally believe in you! I'm kind of like your husband in that the overall attitude you describe does come somewhat naturally to me...however I have learned that attitude is even more powerful when I deliberately choose it. It's something else entirely, and since I started doing that a few years ago, my life and how I experience all things has significantly improved.

      Please move forward with hope, both for yourself and your ability to do what's right, and for your daughter. Express as much confidence and love in her as you can (obviously you'll have to walk a line between expressing confidence and encouraging behavior or actions that may not be in her best interest). The main reason you express that love and confidence and faith and hope in and for her, is that will help you see her in her best possible light, it will make her less defensive, and it will build a partnership between the two of you instead of a division.

      Anyway, obviously I don't know all the circumstances, and would be happy for you to dismiss anything I said that you don't think will help your child (you'll know better than I will). I guess all I'm trying to say is work towards whatever goal you want as positively as possible! You'll figure out what that looks like and how to do it.

      Best wishes!

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    2. Now that I finally have a minute...I just checked out your blog profile to learn your both a mother and grandmother! Awesome! You probably know all the things I mentioned above way better than I could have possibly expressed, and like you said...just needed to be reminded. I'm guessing you could teach me a thing or two (or two hundred :) Thanks for being such a great mom and grandmother. Again mostly I'm just grateful you heard a message you needed to hear at the right time...wonderful how things like that work out.

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  12. This is so sweet - I'm so happy that you two found each other.

    It's funny, even in this day and age, I know a lot of people who are judgmental about others' personal relationships (whether they end in divorce or not) - and I just don't understand it - aren't we all human, trying to love and care for one another? Maybe it takes us sometimes a long or winding path to get there - but we're all learning, we're all imperfect.

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