Monday, December 29, 2014

The Miraculous and The Mundane


I remember that age so well! Filled with potential, adventure and promise - I savored the days, wanting to make them BIG and memorable, while I nearly burst in anticipation of what was coming next. I started college, graduated from high school, redefined relationships, soared high with accomplishment, experienced great devastation, and made some decisions that, unbeknownst to 17 year old me, carried life long impact. I felt powerful but small in the face of unlimited possibility. It was exhilarating, and the age I carried in spite of the passage of many years as "truly me" for a very long time.


This morning we awoke to our seventeenth wedding anniversary. Eric and I have laughed about "seventeen years of wedded bliss", and decided our true breakdown rather includes a year or two of newlywed shock, about ten years worth of sheer gutting it out, and five of beautiful, joyful delight. What's funny is that through all of it we loved each other fiercely...but for a stretch there were many days that felt more fierce than lovely.
 Ever since Eric's diagnosis I have been thinking about our vows. You run through with such quick certainty for better or worse, for richer and for poorer, in sickness and in health - till death do us part. I am often quite the optimist, and so while there was a part of my mind that acknowledged the possibility that the less desirable of those pairings could surface, I couldn't imagine with any particular definition what anything but the more enjoyable options might look like.
We, of course, would be brilliantly happy. The potential, adventure and promise ahead was saturated with possibility and I couldn't fathom a situation that our love couldn't conquer. I was so blinded with anticipation of what could come next that I wasn't prepared for the gravity of goodbyes to what had been; I cried through much of the first night in our new home while the moving van, fresh from Colorado, stood sentinel outside.

Prior to marriage, Eric and I had never lived in the same state, let alone the same home. We spent a summer together in the Colorado mountains as camp counselors, but were both romantically entangled with others at the time. Our relationship was one of immediate and lasting friendship, quick courtship, and lightning fast engagement. We racked up $500 phone bills (remember when that was even possible!?!), and I longed for the ability to just call to him from another room and hear him answer.  In my imagined scenarios he would, of course, always answer immediately, simply enamored with his lovely new bride and be completely interested in whatever she had to share/request/require - didn't our phone records prove how very valuable we held every little thing the other had to say? How much more would we love sharing every experience in person!
But, as every single married person reading this will know, that's not quite what it looked like in real living. Occluding the flashes of wedded bliss there were real dishes that needed doing, real money to be earned so that real food could be eaten on those dishes and a real roof kept over our newlywed heads. And, to my great dismay, there were actually times that I realized that my beloved husband wasn't really even listening to me! In those early months more tears were shed, harsh words were flung (as well as a few dishes!) and my visions of exclusively living in the realm of better/richer/health came crashing down.


With seventeen comes a bit more perspective. Over the years we have finally learned to work on our own stuff. We've, with intention, acquired a few skills to make this marriage thing work a little better. We've grown closer to our Creator and understand that the only way either one of us will have anything of worth available for another, is to operate out of our overflow from a relationship with Him. And I've come to believe that the sum point of matrimonial promise reduces down to The Miraculous and The Mundane. 

Marriage is so much less about finding the elusive "perfect" person out of the world of options, and so much more so about how you become shaped in life together. This is the one with whom you will sit front row witness to brilliant interruptions of the miraculous, and the monotony of the seemingly endless mundane. How we do both the miraculous and mundane will form who we are, and through each of those experiences we have great opportunity to change.

The mundane of a daily job - and my perspective of drudgery or delight. The mundane of housework - and my perspective of resentment at the ones making the mess or thankfulness for family and abundant provision. The mundane of daily childrearing - and my frustration with the unrefined or elation at realized growth. Through seventeen years we have shared these and millions of other mundane tasks, to do's, and activities, and if I can share one secret learned after their accumulation it would be this - real joy is hidden in how you approach the mundane. Choose to find the joy tucked deep in the mundane, for these are the tasks that shape our very lives. By nature the mundane is there, will continue to be there...until it isn't, and what's wild is that the mundane everyday little things are the first to be missed when they're gone.

But we also get to experience with this one person the miraculous. Bills paid when there was absolutely no way to cover them even a day before. Children carried and born out of your passion for each other, and delighted in as they come into their own. Healing. Recovery. Transformation. There are moments when all you can do is sit tight together and hold on to one another for dear life as the miraculous happens, often when you least expect it.

At seventeen I feel we have only begun to appreciate the miraculous and the mundane, only recently uncovered a "truly us" that is powerful and strong. I want so very many more years and the chance to look at everything that we have grown into now and laugh at the silliness of beginnings. I want to continue to experience the exhilaration of a life lived well alongside of each other.
I love you, Eric Trickey. I am beyond thankful that you are the one with whom I experience both the miraculous and the mundane.

Happy Seventeen.