As I sit down to write this letter to you it is the day before our eleventh anniversary. It’s a Thursday, my least favorite day of the week. Already this morning I’ve followed behind Cassidy to clean messes both toothpaste-y and littered with glass shards. And then there was the black bean soup incident. You don’t know it yet but I mistakenly grabbed cayenne in place of paprika and rendered this evening’s slow-cooked dinner practically inedible. It will come as an unpleasant surprise tonight when we sit down around the table. That, together with an otherwise crummy progression of the morning, left me cranky and curt and I locked myself in the bedroom without giving you a proper goodbye. I’m sorry for that.
We went for a quick walk last night–if only because we could. If only because it was the one night of the work week on which we are not weighed down by the burden of the boy’s demanding soccer schedule. To nobody’s surprise, our conversation drifted to what is to come: home.
When we’re gray(er) and wrinkled I suspect we will think back on this as our simmering year. Right about this time last year we went to Hawaii and we stood on the rim of an active volcano. Do you remember driving there that night in the rain? And then dashing along the walk with coats pulled up over our heads to see what we saw and stand in awe? They call it night glow for good reason–darkness interrupted by the steady blush of toiling, molten lava just below the surface. It was fitting that we stood on that rim last year. Fitting that at the close of that trip you got the work call with an opportunity that would change the course of our lives. So brilliant–so funny–a God we serve, setting us up on the rim of that volcano at the start of this, our simmering year.
Just below the surface of our average everyday us-ness this year there has been the gurgling presence of something like lava. Something active and bubbling and always in forward motion. It’s a God thing. He’s churning something that we can feel but not exactly see. It’s evidenced in the tug, the pull towards sweeping change both outwards and in.
Meanwhile we wait.
If we could read this year in review it would be a story of work. Laborious days of sorting and purging, cleaning and packing. Clearing ground and space both literally and figuratively–space for what is to come. And doubts. Lots of doubts this year. We’d walk our three miles, scorched by the Arizona sun, and we’d talk circles around the showings and the agents and the utter absence of even a single offer. We’d talk it frontwards and backwards until we were so sick at the fruitlessness of it all that there was nothing left to say. And so one day I wrote 1 Thessalonians 5:17-18 on a 3×5 card and folded it in half and slipped it into the pocket of my running skirt. I pulled it out on our walk and we learned it together: Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. That’s what we tried to do from there on out, succeeding sometimes and sometimes not.
All along He had a plan. Our house sold. It sold and closed on so perfectly-orchestrated a timeline that we were able to sign a short-term lease and move into Tim and Stephanie’s house. So now here we are in a situation that benefits two families. It’s so like Him to use all the things for our good, and for theirs.
You and I are in limbo–not the foundations of us, of course, but the physical and emotional and spiritual transition of our lives from here to there. We don’t have a such the spot where we can sit and be. We feel the rumble of the underground motion and we try to just breathe out the pent up steam. It’s working fine but neither of us have ever been okay with just fine.
In the absence of any other choice we lean on trusted wisdom: give thanks in all circumstances. We try.
I don’t know what He has planned but the anticipation for it is enough to carry me through. Alongside you.
Here’s what I want to say to you as we pick up our shovels and prepare to dig into our twelfth year: I know no better earthly company for the journey set before us. We rise up and complete our duties and eat meals and play Scrabble and slip into bed surrounded by boxes that store our things. Fragile, they say. The comforts we’ve known for so long are lost to us but yet there is found-ness when we come together in one of many ways. Like when we sit inches apart on the couch to eat pumpkin cake and watch church on Sunday mornings. Or when we wash and dry dishes by light of the sink lamp. And when Kris wakes us up and I break down the pillow wall and How Long Will I Love You plays twice through–sometimes three–while we just lie.
When we talked about getting married I was nervous because of what life had been like to that point. As we made our plans I voiced every one of those what-ifs and you met every one of them in your casually charming way with a just trust me kind of non-answer. I was hopeful, but not convinced. Do you remember the what-ifs? What if an unspeakable accident steals away with my me and leaves in my place a shell? What if there comes along someone lovelier? Smarter? Prettier? What if we fall out as easily as we fell in? It’s hard to say exactly the point at which you convinced me but it doesn’t really matter anyway because what matters is that you did. You were right: love doesn’t fade. It grows. It roots and it multiplies and it strengthens. It gains perspective. It adapts. It learns. It turns from a promise into a truth. It stays. Always.
There is–in our immediate future–so much change. You know how I feel about change. But then there is this, a quote I came across just this week:
I have loved the stars too fondly to be fearful of the night. -Sarah Williams
My dear husbandry, night is falling fast.
Let’s go all in.