To My Husband, Again
You can physically read my old diaries for proof that I was obsessed with the idea of love, finding love, living in romantic bliss.
As I grew older, I just knew that I was destined to find an old philosopher type like myself, steeped in historical theology, who probably enjoyed hot coffee and political debates, who probably worked as a professor and a youth minister on the side. I was extremely determined to find this individual at college, never straying from this all inclusive vision that I had conjured up in my mind.
I never imagined that I would end up marrying, almost on a whim, a boy next door that I had casually met at the age of thirteen. I didn’t expect to marry someone of a different faith, with a crazy outgoing personality who reminded me of my dad in the worst and best ways all at once. I didn’t think that I would enjoy dating a boy with tattoos and long hair who painted and experimented with electronic dance music and partied to his heart’s content. I didn’t think I would be in a relationship with someone who didn’t automatically appreciate the brilliant intellectual workings of my mind or intuitively grasp the genius of Aquinas and Boethius, or who didn’t know what holy water or Holy Days of Obligation were.
God, I am so glad I took a leap of faith outside of my comfort zone. There’s not a day that goes by when I don’t stop and ponder, how could I have been so hopelessly surprised by the sheer glory of what this marriage has made me?
I was and am still hopelessly surprised by how extraordinarily wonderful doing ordinary life with Garrett has been.
In all of those days of single-minded agony and despair, I almost wish I could go back and tell my former self that all would be okay in the end. But honestly? I don’t wish that. I am pleased with exactly how life took me, because all my many hours of planning and scheming for my future only made me so much more disposed to the sheer joy of what it has meant to be married to this man.
I have been surprised by trips to London to watch me dance at the World Championships, lifting up broken tiles in an Austrian Carthusian monastery because I had been left letters underneath them. I have been forced to reckon my intellectual pride and abilities against the growing mind of a human seeking faith in ways opposite of myself. I have been called out and broken apart for all of my old wounds that I denied were wounds in the first place. I have been challenged by living with a person opposite me in so many vast and gloriously annoying ways.
I have been stunned over and over again by the thoughtful but short notes that mark the passing days and milestones of our life together. I have been held up by a sturdy shelter that only God could have planned when I got the phone call that they had found my dad for the last time. I have been hugged when I don’t want hugs but need them. I have received an endless supply of support when I didn’t deserve it or was doing stupid things, undying patience when I deserved that even less. I have been called out when I didn’t want to and changed in ways that I revolted against for many years deep inside of my soul.
I’ve been so wonderfully content being surprised by the pure happiness that watching someone becomes a father brings. I’ve been hopelessly not grateful enough for the never complaining, always helping hand in the middle of the night. I’ve been so used to the giggles and wrestling with a toddler, the tender kisses goodnight, the loving sacrifices made day in and day out that go unnoticed more often than not, the constant dying to self that I take for granted unless I remind myself to look for it.
I almost wish I could tell myself marriage was easy, but it’s not: it’s better than easy. It’s an unrelenting, deep and profound, unabashed feasting at the source of love and suffering and all the best things in life magnified.
I’m so glad I made the choice to do it with you, Garrett. My life has now taught me not to take a single person or day for granted, so even if this is your last birthday here on this earth: it doesn’t matter: what you’ve given and lived for me is more than I can ever deserve.