Fidelity is not a cheap word, and it is not an easy word. Its hunger to consume every morsel of life grudgingly offered it — to yield abundance in return — is insatiable. There is no doubt that fidelity includes our sexual habits and behavior, but at the same time it becomes lost if we confine it only to sexual behavior. Fidelity invites us to better understand our relationship to everyone and everything, to enjoy the blessings of rootedness instead of enduring disorientation, and ultimately allows us a better perch for seeing and engaging reality.
One cold and sleepless night I was suddenly overtaken by a thought that gave me such a panic that I immediately got up, wrapped myself in a quilt, and went to the kitchen to make myself a cup of tea. What if this was it? What if my mother never came back to us? What if all the stories I had heard my entire life went with her?
I know that I can never conquer the yoga mountain. I can never do enough to have ever arrived. I can’t fix all the problems and have an incredible, pain-free life. And at the end of my days, no one will tally all the items I crossed off of my to-do list and say, Look at all she accomplished. Because none of that is truly important.
For two women who had plenty to be angry about, nothing was more cathartic than jumping up and down over a ninety-yard punt return. For a woman filled with rage over the slow disintegration of her husband, screaming at the ref for missing another obvious face mask was therapeutic. There had to be justice and fair play somewhere. Couldn’t it at least be found on the gridiron if nowhere else in our lives?
Sometimes it seems that I woke up and found myself here all of a sudden, living this middle-aged version of myself. I catch sight of this body, this secret garden, in the mirror, and I am surprised. It is wild and untended but alive, so very alive. This is the key, unearthed. The decision to love this one body I’ve been given, the decision to care for it well.