The Great Exchanging
I stumbled across one of our old engagement photos today and immediately thought, "Wow, we were completely different people back then."
I say "back then", but really it was only three years ago.
It's funny how marriage can change ever so much about you, but you are also the very same person who awkwardly started dating in the first place. You change and you remain the same.
Three years ago, I was so regimented, so ordered, so driven. I scheduled my college days down to the minutes. I still have my planner from my senior year when I juggled eighteen credits and training for worlds and two jobs and everything under the sun...and it really was planned down to the minute. I was such a blunt human being, blurting out whatever came to my mind without pause for reflection. I was passionate about making a difference in the world and being productive and I felt such blazing pride in accomplishing so much.
Three years ago, Garrett was probably at a party, not knowing what classes he had in the morning. He skateboarded his way to school and was the life of every party. He hated planners, even though I bought him one, and insisted that life was better lived in the spur of the moment. Spontaneous and free-spirited, Garrett was totally in tune with being in love and caring deeply about friendships. He was as colorful as I was black and white, as emotive as I was calculated.
Marrying each other was like a tornado meeting a hurricane.
We were so different from one another, although we knew how to talk for hours together and how to laugh.
I didn't think that marriage would take such opposite human beings and slowly extract the best parts of us, gently and gradually giving over some of the best stuff over to the other. I knew that learning how to understand Garrett meant learning how to love him in a way that was so radically different than what I knew. I knew that we complimented one another. I was weak where he was strong, and vice versa.
Now, in this moment, I'm not so sure that we're not as opposite as we are more complete. We are more...whole. There is beautiful exchanging.
I never dreamed that I would start to bleed a compassionate heart. I feel empathy for my friends and students and acquaintances that moves me. I still feel the rush of doing and thinking, but I now value the inner strength it takes to feel something heartfelt. I look forward to simple days not accomplishing anything, but resting. I find myself savoring the simple joys in life, and feeling an almost transcendent contentment with exactly where I am, in the present moment.
I never dreamed that Garrett would be a person that read religiously for thirty minutes a day, or wrote down his entire week scheduled out ahead of time in a planner. He spends his days endlessly devouring his work and planning his future. His office is adorned with vision boards and dry erase lists packed full of dreams. He is contemplative, calculated, and intentional.
It is one of the most profound delights of this sacrament to witness the intense good that we are for each other, from the lofty goal setting to the spontaneous drives for wine and cans of frosting.
It is a beautiful thing to witness and experience how utterly good life together really is.
"Chains do not hold a marriage together. It is threads, hundreds of tiny threads, which sew people together through the years."
My goodness, are we better for it.