This morning I woke up from a dream that I can't remember. As my dream was becoming lucid, I can recall telling myself that I needed to write my vows to Blake. Wedding vows? Was this my mind playing a cruel joke on me? Clearly I am never going to marry Blake, so why would I need to write him vows?
I told this to one of my friends, and she had a different interpretation. She suggested:
To My Love Blake,
I vow to honor you and your memory for the rest of my life. This doesn't mean saving myself for you, or making my life about you, but rather to embody all of the principles you stood for and strive to grow in the way you were helping me grow.
The most important thing I can do is to work every day to suspend judgement. You always taught me to give everyone the benefit of the doubt. In your life, you were a true friend to everyone, regardless of whether it was outwardly aparent what you could "gain" from their friendship. I watched in awe as you developed rapport with the children at the hotel pool, the old couple next to us at dinner, our taxi driver, my students, the merchants for your company, and so on. You were fascinated by people and knew that everyone had a unique and important story. Your curiosity made you a magnet. Just as I was so attracted to you, the world was pulled in by your openness and genuine interest.
But this suspension of judgement goes further than just the first impression of a person. Sometimes after you get to know someone, they disappoint you.There are times when people do and say things that cut you deeply and make you question whether they have anything good to contribute to your life or society in general. This is when you taught me to be even more forgiving. You taught me that it is ok to argue, fine to disagree. But at the end of the day what really mattered is that you didn't let these conflicts color what you thought of that person. You had an amazing ability to relase the people from your life who weren't adding any goodness, but never think of them as bad people. And for the people you loved, you were always willing to accept an apology and move forward, knowing that some people are too important to lose.
I took from you these lessons of suspending judgement of others, but the most vital lesson you were teaching me was to stop the harsh judgment of myself. This is a lesson I am still working on. I vow to remember every day that I am not perfect, but I'm perfectly flawed. My flaws are there as obstacles to remind me to never stop learning, to never be complacent about how I look at the world and myself. I will make mistakes. I will say and do the wrong things. But that's ok. I need to be patient and kind with myself. I will strive to always look critically at my choices and judgments, apologize often and sincerely, and know that I am still a good person, despite the mistakes I make. The important thing isn't to be perfect, but to be perfectly myself.
I vow to honor you and cherish you for the rest of my life. I vow to keep an open mind and an open heart, both of which hold no maximum capacity. I vow to apologize and forgive frequently and genuinely, knowing that is the recipe for enduring and healthy relationships with the people I love. I vow to release people from my life who no longer benefit me, but never let that give me permission to think ill of their character. I vow to continue to be the girl you fell in love with and grow to love myself just as much.
Forever and always,