We know our limits, now, the choices we've made or are making. We know our spots of deep disappointment, and what is worth our fight so much better than we did in our 20's. We've wrestled in marital tension, over our individual body types or disease diagnoses for years now. Our outlines are clearer, and we navigate within them with a greater gravitational center. Even among intimate friends, each of us individually bears his or her own load these days -- some more vocally, some more deeply and quietly -- because each of us must.
There was a time when loads shocked us with their injustice and their challenge. They outraged us so that all we could do was bitch and moan and wrestle against them with ourselves and everyone else. To hold these things, to carry them near -- this is new. I think it might be maturity, even when the carrying is layered with resignation or sorrow. Disappointment is a part integral to human life, a part of compromise and growth. The grace with which each of these friends carries her own load left me inspired, left me wondering at the mystery of how complex loving another is, how deeply veined our decisions are. These friends left me thankful that though solitary, we don't travel alone.
**note to anyone who read the first draft of this post and now finds it altered: when Ben first read, he thought it sounded like the first list of scenarios -- my own musings -- was directly connected to the following group of friends, which, of course, it wasn't (would never air sacred confessions on blog). To ensure that no one else makes this mistake, and to be clear, I've edited the first paragraph to jump straight to the heart of what I was saying**