SO….I realize it’s been a REALLY long time since I posted. And the month went by so darned fast that I can’t even remember the multitude of excuses as to why I didn’t post. We’ve had car issues, illness, a wedding and the related pre-wedding events, furloughs, car issues, more illness, and car issues. Oh, and friend issues. And while blogging should have been my first stop, I was also so lost in some stuff that was going on between H and I, writing just wasn’t where my head was.
It’s funny, because I’ve really had the kind of month that has tested every ounce of who I am. I’ve questioned everything from my parenting skills, to my job, to the strength of my friendships, all the way to whether H still loves me. It’s been THAT kind of month. But a corner was turned this weekend. And it makes so much of the last month feel like a necessary struggle to get here, but not nearly as scary as it seemed while in the midst of it all.
The reality is, my wife and I have had our share of struggles in the 5 1/2 years we’ve been together. We’ve dealt with infertility, financial struggles, family issues, raising twins, layoffs, furloughs, and the list goes on. And the past year has brought a lot all at once. And we’ve survived. But we’ve done a lot of just surviving. And we didn’t take good enough care of ourselves or each other. And that takes its toll.
But a few things happened, not just this weekend, but over the last week, that brought me peace. First I listened to a sermon given by the Dean of our church, and it was basically about remembering that there will always be struggles, but you have to keep in mind that there is something bigger than the struggle out there. If you’re interested in listening (and have about 14 minutes), you can find it here. But as much as that spoke to me, I was still uneasy.
This past weekend, a very good friend of H’s, and someone who I’ve also grown close to over the years, got married. H was the Matron of Honor. Because the wedding was over an hour away, and on the 4th of July, we made plans to stay overnight. The kids stayed home with their Nana D and were spoiled while we drank wine and danced the night away.
Now let me tell you something. My wife loves her friend C so much that she reluctantly wore a dress, heels, and an updo to this event. And she bitched and moaned and stressed about it. And people teased her. And it bothered me so much that people teased her, because I knew it was feeding her reluctance about the whole deal. But I had to deliver a safety pin to the bridal suite prior to the ceremony and was not surprised when I saw how beautiful my wife looked. After a quick fix of her hair (curl fell out), and a re-pinning of a safety pin, I headed back down to join some friends to wait for the ceremony to start. And from the moment she walked in (my wife, not the bride, although she was beautiful too), I couldn’t take my eyes from H. I watched as she wiped tears from her eyes during the groom’s vows (while I did the same). I watched her make sure the bride’s dress was fluffed and her bouquet held. I watched her later toast the happy couple, again with tears in her eyes. I danced with my wife to the one and only slow song (after the requisite 1st dance of course). We laughed and held hands and remembered what it was like to be us.
And then we got home. And argued. About something stupid, that’s not important. But there was something different about yesterday, that allowed me last night to bare my soul to my wife in a way that I hadn’t been able to do in months. There was something about finding us again at that wedding that put a key in a lock that I had hidden away. And we talked. And I cried. And cried. And cried some more. And we found so much more in each other during that conversation.
Today I woke up rushed, but in a really good space. And I felt like something had changed – for the better. More aware of each other, more in touch with each other, happier to be safe in the uncertainty. And then, the sermon we missed from yesterday felt so apropos when I heard it today. It was about how we fail to see God in the common things, in each other, in ourselves, because we think we know who people are and what they are. And we get in the way of our own truth. We fail to find more than we think there ever could be, and as a result we miss so much. If you want to listen, you can find it here.
It’s funny, the last month has found me spending a lot more time listening to Dean Baker. We belong to church but don’t go every week, even though it’s always a nice way to spend a family morning. When we do go, I always try and find a way to schedule our attendance around whether Dean Baker is giving the sermon. Yeah, that’s probably not the way you’re supposed to do things, but Dean Baker (clearly) has a way of speaking and making sense of things that touch me really deeply. I’m not sure if it’s just odd timing, but the things he’s had to say recently have resonated so strongly with where we are – as a couple, as a family, as individuals. I find more and more that I’m drawn to the Church to provide my family the safe haven we deserve.
We’ve talked recently about leaving California. The economy, the cost of living, the recent issues with Proposition 8. Friends of ours are considering moving, and I’ve talked to more than a few others who, while maybe not in the planning stages, are definitely keeping their eyes open. Having grown up 500 miles from where I eventually put down roots, I know that it’s really attractive to move to a new town and make a new path for yourself. It’s a lot like starting a new relationship. Everything is shiny and different and exciting. Each new turn brings new discovery. Once it becomes home and routine it’s easy to find things that aren’t dazzling anymore. So what’s the solution? Pack up and leave again? Or try to find more and make more of where you are? (For our friends who are considering moving please don’t take offense, this isn’t as much about moving as it is about relationships).
I choose to find more. I choose to find God in the unlikeliest place. I choose to put away what I think I know and open myself up to a greater truth. And I’m so grateful my wife has done the same.
I love you H, with all my heart and soul – to the end of time. You are my everything, and no matter where we are or what happens in our lives, I want you next to me. Thank you for loving me enough to find more in me too.