How Much The World Changed

**Rain falls soft, mist-like, over the moon, shrouding the deep navy sky. I sit on Eric’s couch, Cider Lane candle lit to fill the apartment with the light scent of caramel, crunched leaves, and harvest moonlight. He is in his office doing work, and I am in the living room working on a freelance blog post. It is enough to be under the same roof together. This begins to feel incredibly good, routines with him. Sunday nights at home. The subtle warmth of falling in love. I allow myself to imagine what it could be like, if this turns into an everyday occurrence.

                How much my world changed in such a short amount of time.**

**I knew, back in that September, that I wanted this everyday occurrence with you for the rest of my life. I wanted that more than anything I’ve ever wanted. You were gently teaching me the boundless outpouring of love, what it meant to give of myself for the sake of another.

Eight months later, I walked to you over the water and we stood face-to-face, promising to give ourselves to each other, in all the struggle and softness this world would offer. This past year has been full of adjustments, surprises, and growing pains that have stretched us both into new people, fused as one. My eyes are open to the world with you, and I find myself pausing in the middle of a moment, grateful to God at the great gift I have been given in loving you.

Thank you for being my husband for one year. It’s a chasm that keeps growing, the years of our love. Here’s to the ones to come that draw us deeper, tighter together. You’re my favorite.

 

Elements of Silence

Today’s the kind of day where the damp goes straight to your bones.

Where the wind laughs wildly and slaps the waves of Lake Michigan and makes them jump ten feet in the air.

Where rain and snow merge amidst the clouds and storm to earth as slick and sharp sleet. Like your skin’s stitched with daggers.

The boards of this house creak and rock like a ship sloshing through the mass of water. Cold filters through the windows as if there are no panes at all.

I keep the lights off and let the muted gray move its way through the halls; pace the room and collect the silence, save the howl.

Howl.

Is that what this noise in me is doing?

Looking for you in all the wrong places and lashes out in frustration when you’re nowhere to be found? When the truth slips my feet from under me and turns me upside down?

Wind rolls sideways, upturning the tree branches. The sky is turning slate quicker than I would have thought. Can I light a candle not in remembrance, but to forget?

Let the elements roll in. Limbs become submerged in ice and face turns to the tide. At breakwater’s edge atop this hill that holds these howls for what has been, I drink the mist into my eyes, translucent fuse of fog and dusk, become a myth, the silence.

To Always Have Hope

You have taught me that much, to ask without doubt, look to joy, to always have hope.

But as for me, I will always have

hope;

I will praise You more and

more.

-Psalm 71:14

I don’t like being up early. But here I am, on the couch as the world out my window slowly unveils itself from the misty charcoal. All week, my right arm has felt like a nerve pinched; I still have tiny doses of fear that I’ll fall apart from my health trauma.

God, You have been so good to me.

Sometimes, I am still afraid.

Sometimes, I still don’t see this world as You want me to.

Sometimes, all I see is myself.

You bring me from the barren places and set me high on a steady rock; my feet firm in Your truth. Perhaps I will always falter at points, but I will always have hope. You have taught me that much, to ask without doubt, look to joy, to always have hope.

Banana cream oatmeal this morning. Here’s to being healthy, in habits, action, and thought.

God, You have transformed the patterns of my mind.

Sometimes, I wish I were more.

Sometimes, I want to be fearless.

Sometimes, I believe I can use my life to make a difference.

You have done deep healing work in my heart—literally, with closing the holes in my aorta, and also emotionally, binding up my scars and wounds and restoring me to my first love in You. Surely, You have shown me great goodness in the land of the living.

Now, light has opened to a pale gray, brush of clouds low in the sky. The street is seeing more traffic—here comes the world awake in my little area of the world.

God, You are my sustenance and strength.

Sometimes, the dreams in me beat against my chest so loud I fear I’ll tear in two.

Sometimes, I wonder if they are enough.

Sometimes, I settle.

But Your voice calls reminds me who I am in You and who You have formed me to be. You have brought me this far not to settle but to live my life in full. For abundant joy, and I am beginning to know for the first time what that looks like, and that it is OK.

You claim more than OK for me, for all who lean into You. Help me not to forget.

Oh God, help me not to forget Your beauty is my breath.

Commit To Another

When you commit to another, you speak loud your promises, look deep into irises and bind your soul to theirs, life to life. Testing will come, and you stand ready, bright and eager to light the dark ahead. Never to imagine that 38.5 hours into marriage you’d wake to a husband’s inflamed organ, dial 911, and set off on an emergency ferry in the middle of a snowy night, waves rolling five feet in the air, to an ambulance transfer and hour drive down twisted roads of tiny towns. Nor do you consider the strain of his stomach rushing him off to surgery to extract a decaying appendix quickly setting itself up to burst. Bleary-eyed and on the floor, you pray in the corner of the windowed waiting room, text your prayer warriors, run on fumes, wait. Or after successful surgery, you cannot see or stay with him because of COVID so you nap in the back of your Jeep in the parking lot, drive around town looking for a place to stay the night, and constantly call the nurses station to get an update on your new husband’s recovery. And when he’s finally released and you are there waiting by the door to help him into the passenger’s seat, you’re just so thrilled to touch him, breathe him in, you ignore the flurry of fear that had you gripping the steering wheel and praising God for victory on those barren country roads as you lost sight of the ambulance and counted down the miles to the emergency room. The next days are filled with preparing food, helping with clothes, washing and changing gauze on stitches and stilling your own breath at night to make sure you hear his. For better or worse, in sickness and in health. Where the rubber hits the road in marriage, so soon out the gate you exhale, “You’ve got to be kidding!” But you wouldn’t trade it for the world, for God is good, clearly present, and full of grace. This is what you said yes to, a mere days ago, for the rest of your life: serve one another, love each other deeply, for all that comes.

This is marriage week one, and I am so glad for it. So glad to be journeying this crazy adventure that is our life, that has been since day one. We have quite the story, you and I, such a unique love.

*

As always, the delightful and breathlessly talented Hannah Toldt Photography did what she does best capturing our special day.

Recluse

I started out lonely, a fern among flowers. I hid deep in the shadows’ underside of woods, where the fingers of the sun never stroked my face. I craved corners, deep crevices where I huddled in the underbelly of obscurity. I was a recluse. I bathed in new moons where my face was sheltered in an enveloping ink of black velvet. I was far away from life. I was far away from you.

Anguish

It is a crushing pressure,
to hang the weight of the world
upon one’s shoulders.

An overwhelming anguish
that snakes its way
along the spine and
coils around the heart.

When sweat becomes
drops of blood that pour
down your skin,
you know it’s serious.

But surrender is sacrifice,
bend of knee and will.
He broke bones and flesh
to burst forth
new beginning
for us all.

Same Verse, Separate Song

Scenes of choices I didn’t know were wrong or right plague my past with pictures I can no longer stand to see.

Deep early hour conversations that sock the air out of my gut when I learn things have never been quite right, pushing past red flags with excuses to validate my desire for love.
Curled up in a knot beneath the covers, full of a cold that goes deeper than my bones.
When the phone goes silent, no matter how I will it to light with words to tell me we go on.
Hope stretched for years, quietly wishing for truth to unfold and him to choose me.
Realization wiping empty my heart when I land alone, ardent actuality unveiled of an incomplete desire becoming ash and smolder, embers of my envisioned life grown cold.

Waiting, always waiting, on the one with galaxy eyes and a canvas-painted view of the world.

I wish to wipe away the twinges of guilt, paths chosen that I believed would turn out right, and youthful hope within my heart for an elusive love I dared would come.

We can try all we want; still, when the world we fashion in our hearts isn’t meant to be, there is no amount of effort or well-meant surrender of our destiny that can breathe it to life.

Regret is a fresh fruit plucked repeatedly from the branch.

I regret the way I opened my heart, tentative as always to break beneath the surface of my scars once more, and yet the smile of him who set my hopes ablaze sprung wide across the expanse of sky in my dreams.

I had tentatively stepped into the wonder that is what if, and tumbled head over feet in lost dreams and sharp edges that sliced me in places I had carefully left exposed.

To regret my paths is to doubt God, that He can take my mess and make it clean. That He cannot come so close to what I have destroyed, what I wish was not, the acts of life that still roll over the film-strips of memory, how I long to change some of the parts of my story I opened myself to in attempt to find belonging. I cannot take back how naïve I was, how jaded I became when the pulp of my heart was ground and slain. And how it took forever to begin to try again, and what became of the same verse, separate song. ///

Regret is an old wound that festers, spills and refuses to heal.
These wounds remain intact, raw, callous. And I keep slicing myself on the same shard, reopen the same gash, watch tiny red pools swell and drop, swell and drop. We all have the capacity to never fully heal.

I can let these scales of sadness dry and tighten on my skin, encapsulate my decisions and see them disintegrate as one by one, I lose my happy ending, invite an endless mass of gray I cannot understand.

I could berate myself forever with questions that dig under what I most crave, itching at what is just beyond the reach of my soul’s hands.

How do I live with the constant pang of alone?
Why do I keep coming up short?
Am I never enough to make them stay?
Am I too much, my past too twisted, to truly be seen and chosen all the same?

This feeling of inadequacy sinks me low, takes air from my lungs and pushes me dangerously closer to the bottom. If I continue to store the what-might-have-been miseries within my glass breast, the weight will push and surge to burst my chest clear apart. Doubts assail my most sensitive bits, and I fight with every ounce of faith I have to prove myself worthy of love. That I am enough.

Please tell me I am enough.

Enough to find.
Enough to see.
Enough to give a happy ending at last.
I can be seen. I can be found.

And someday, these regrets will lead away from the ache to a burst of joy, as if seeing the sun after months of continuous night.

I blink, adjust my gaze, and unlatch my heart to take in that for I’ve waited long and true, unable to contain the wonder.

 

***

Continuing my attempt at the Five Minute Friday weekly writing challenge. Five minutes to write on the assigned topic. Raw and unedited. (Yikes!) This week’s topic: Regret.   /// symbolizes where five minutes stopped, and then I continued writing.