We need a witness to our lives. There’s a billion people on the planet… I mean, what does any one life really mean? But in a marriage, you’re promising to care about everything. The good things, the bad things, the terrible things, the mundane things… all of it, all of the time, every day. You’re saying ‘Your life will not go unnoticed because I will notice it. Your life will not go un-witnessed because I will be your witness’.
I watched the movie “Shall We Dance?” a couple of years ago. I was mildly entertained (at first annoyed, thinking this movie is going to really make me mad)…. no Grammy nominations there. I watched it again a week ago and found myself quietly crying (the kind where you don’t want everyone in the room to know you are sobbing).
The truth in the quote above just sunk in so deeply and I was struck (again) by how thankful I am to have someone to witness life with me, to care about things that no one else in their right mind would care about and to care about the enormous things that seem insurmountable alone.
The struggle and heartache that comes with choosing to be committed to one person for life is great. It is so much harder than I ever imagined. In fact, when it got hard, like take-your-breath-away kind of hard, I thought it was happening in a vacuum. Everyone else around seemed in pure bliss or at least content with sheer mediocrity. No one talked about their hard times and if they did it was so trite. Their phrases so scripted I wanted to puke.
Instead of the movie ending in the way I’d thought it would (where he runs away with the super-hot Jennifer Lopez character), he finds his way around to happy in an unusual way but he finds it with his wife, the mother of his children instead.
The one thing I am proudest of in my whole life, is that you’re happy with me. If I couldn’t, if I couldn’t tell you that I was unhappy sometimes, it is because I didn’t want to risk hurting the one person I treasure most. I’m so sorry.
When babies came and life seemed to turn upside down on many levels. My assumption that everyone around me was peachy in their relationships continued. I couldn’t verbalize my lack of ‘happy’. It would disappoint everyone. I knew there was so much to be thankful for. I knew I just needed to get over one more ‘bump in the road’.
In a way that I believe only God could have orchestrated, after many more big bumps (one being a 9 month long bump named Audrey), we are finding our way back to ‘happy’. Back to spending our energy loving each other instead of finding fault. Back to biting our tongue instead of biting heads off with our words. Back to toes touching under the sheets at night instead of going to bed angry and (gasp!) sometimes sleeping on the couch.
In September of last year, Chris’ long time employment ended. We would need to walk through leaving a community we’d been a part of for decades. We would need a new job in a horrible economy. It was a shock and I remember thinking “How will any good come of this? This must be the worst thing that has ever happened in my life.”
About that time, I wrote this post. In the weeks that followed, we experienced encouragement and love that astounded us. We began putting one foot in front of the other. We held on to each other for dear life. The word that kept coming to my mind was freedom, I felt God whisper to my heart over and over that He was giving us freedom.
What felt at the time nothing like freedom and nothing like a gift but more like ‘my-life-is-completely-falling-apart’ began to make sense and out of it has come nothing short of miraculous beauty. I sit in wonder of what God has done in the past (almost) year. What most is beyond my understanding is that it hurt so much and that I’m quite sure we wouldn’t be here (married, children, in LOVE etc.) if it hadn’t been so hard.
Life is a mess. Life hurts a lot. Life does not make sense most of the time.
But witnessing life with someone you love sure makes it better.
And knowing the One who gives life brings meaning and beauty into every single moment.
For that and for a million other things, I am thankful today.