Hold it high.


Lanterns by Amaury Henderick. Shared through a Creative Commons license.

After I mentioned the Great Target Wedding Registry Incident of 2000, Mike came to me and said, “I have no idea what you are talking about.” Apparently he has blocked out the meltdown we had in the middle of Target because one of us wanted to have a plan and one of us started scanning things without any rhyme or reason. Probably he has PTSD about the whole thing.

So I was nervous about registering for baby things, to put it mildly. For one thing, meltdown. For another, when I said that cribs were making me hyperventilate, that was not actually an exaggeration. So Mike and I armed ourselves with lists and recommendations and a plan. Since we were doing it my way, I did let him use the scanner. And we managed to get through it, all those decisions and all that stuff that the stores insist we need that we are pretty sure we don’t.

I suppose it’s true for registries as well as vacations: when you return to something 10 years later, it’s easier to see how you have changed. I had done a fair amount of research (which means I sent my friends annoying emails saying things like, “HELP ME!”), so I was reasonably confident that we could figure it out. Mike was comfortable trusting my opinions and decisions. It was calm and even though we were confused and overwhelmed a few times, we got through it.

This summer, Mike had a radio show again at one of the local colleges, and one of the songs that he played a lot was by Josh Ritter, a favorite of mine. The song is called “Lantern,” and it’s about supporting one another within a relationship. While I, sadly, cannot actually keep Mike safe from harm, I love how the song describes first being supported by and then supporting a partner. It’s been like that for us. Sometimes I am the one in need, and sometimes Mike is. (Right now, he knows he’s not allowed to have a baby freak-out, because I still have dibs on that one.) I especially like the idea of holding up the light for the other person: helping them see clearly, helping them to take the next step along the path. It also echoes the Quaker sentiment that I love: holding someone in the light when you are praying for them.

Here are the lyrics for the best part:

So if you’ve got a light, hold it high for me
I need it bad tonight, hold it high for me
‘Cause I’m face to face, hold it high for me
In a lonesome place, hold it high for me

With all the hurt that I’ve done, hold it high for me
That can’t be undone, hold it high for me
Light and guide me through, hold it high for me
I’ll do the same for you, and hold it high for me

I’ll hold it high for you ’cause I know you’ve got
Hold it high for you, your own valley to walk
I’ll hold it high for you though it’s dark as death
I’ll hold it high for you and then gets darker yet

I’ll hold it high for you though your past seems lost
I’ll hold it high for you through the thieves and rocks
I’ll hold it high for you, I’ll keep you safe from harm
I’ll hold it high for you, until you’re back in my arms

It makes all the difference in the world to know that Mike needs me, and it makes all the difference in the world to know that I need him. We have walked through some dark valleys together, and it’s easier to walk through some slightly daunting (but still lovely and exciting) things like registering (and even those incredibly daunting things like having a baby) when you know that you have someone by your side.

And while this is not the best possible version of “Lantern,” I would be remiss if I didn’t post this video of fans surprising Josh Ritter during this song during a recent concert. He and the band look so happy that I have to share it.

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