A Few Things I Know

“What do you feel like you know, on that side of marriage?”

On this side of marriage, I do think I know a few things I didn’t know before –
before I married him,
before he died,
before I found air to breathe again.

I know it’s harder than you think it’s going to be.  And it’s worth every investment you make together.

I know you’ll never know everything about him.  As soon as you do, it’s time to ask more questions.

Don’t marry him because he’s handsome.
Don’t marry him because of his career path.
Don’t marry him because of his money.
Don’t marry him because of any promise, except the promise of himself.

Don’t marry him to complete you.
Completion is an illusion, a tall order for anyone to fill.
If you want him to complete you, you’ll only become disappointed and frustrated,
disappointing and frustrating.

When you free someone of the expectation to complete you, your day, or your life,
then you free yourself to simply enjoy the gift and presence they are
to you, your day, and your life.

Imagine that: the gift you can give by simply enjoying someone.

Marry him because you enjoy him so deeply,
so deeply, that you want to spend the rest of your days
laughing, thinking, talking, and breathing next to him.

And then, love him with all you’ve got.

Perhaps you’ll realize you loved him even more than you ever knew.

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Passion is Tricky

“If you believe something, passionately, people will follow you.

People hardly care what you believe, as long as you believe something.

If you are passionate about something, people will follow you because they think you know something they don’t, some clue to the meaning of the universe.

Passion is tricky, though,

because it can point to nothing as easily as it points to something.”

~ Don Miller, Blue Like Jazz

Lazy, Slow, Golden.

I love Sunday mornings again.

And I love them differently than before, because they’re different from before.

The boys and I go to church on Saturday evening, so our Sunday mornings are a lazy, slow, golden bliss.

This last weekend, we rolled out of bed – a tumbling mess of knees and elbows.

We made the rounds: one stop for coffee (and hot chocolate) and then a second stop for donuts.  (We couldn’t get them all in one stop, because apparently I have certain standards on all of the above.)

We packed up our goodness and had a breakfast picnic at the park.  Then Tucker threw his football, Tyler waded in the creek, and I watched while the sun warmed my shoulders.

I realize this sounds a little ridiculously good.  But for real, it was a good morning. I like these.  They’re worth writing about.

We strolled from the park to our favorite toystore.

(Right now, I would just like to give a public shout-out to toystores who will gift wrap birthday presents while I wait.  I used to be a gift wrap hoarder with a bin containing all the toppings.  I still have said ingredients, but I seem to frivolously waste my time making separate stops for choosy breakfast items.)

Somehow, on our walk, I lost sight of the goal: slow, lazy, joyful bliss.  I became a mom on a mission to the toystore, and I was pretty focused on keeping this train moving.

“Mommy, can we smell those lilacs?” Tucker pointed off the paved sidewalk, to a blooming bush in someone’s side yard.

My instinct said no.  We’re on our way to the toystore, for crying out loud.  We’re not here to smell flowers.  Appreciate creation?  Please.  Take me to the commercialism.

Excellent perspective, Trish.  Well done.

Honestly.  Of all the things I’ve learned in the last year and a half, wouldn’t one of the greatest lessons have something to do with the cliche of ‘stopping to smell the flowers?’

Especially when this is a real deal opportunity, not a picturesque cliche?

“Yes.  Yes, please.  I would love to smell those with you.”

We smelled the lilacs, we blew dandelion fluff in each other’s faces, and we kicked rocks.

It was one long walk to the toystore.

We almost forgot where we set out to go.

Credible Witness

The line of women stretched long and with meaning, people who wanted to talk with me.  I had just finished speaking for 90 minutes, followed by a brief Q & A, and yet they welcomed more of me.

This is my heart’s honor.

There were three groups of women, interspersed among each other.

There was the group of friends: old friends.  Girls from high scool or college.  Youth ministry or marching band.  Camp staff or kindergarten.  People who have long known me, who wrapped me in a gracious hug of knowing.

My first grade teacher was there.  She said she always knew I would be a writer.  I thanked her for teaching me how.

There was the second group of friends: new friends.  Blog readers, members of the invisible community who have coffee with me every morning.  People who say, “I know we haven’t met, but we are friends.  I promise you, we are.”  I matched faces with screen names, laughter with comments.  They wrapped me in a gracious hug of meeting someone you’ve known a long time.

And there was a third group of friends: the fellow broken hearts.  They waited to talk to me, their tissues close and their tears spilling.
“My husband died three years ago.”
“My husband died six weeks ago.”
“I have two children, one with a chromosomal disorder, and one with cancer.”
“I’ve lost a baby.”
“My husband suffered a brain injury that has changed him entirely.  He’s not the man I married.”
“My winter is still here.  There is no sign of spring.”
“My life has shattered, but I can’t tell you how.  I can’t say it out loud yet.”

You let me come near you, you with the broken hearts.  Your wounds are fresh, tender, and exposed with road rash.  I tread carefully beside you, knowing that a quick movement will send you flitting away like a frightened butterfly.

Your courage astounds me.  When my grief burned hottest, I didn’t let anyone in.  I didn’t want to be in a room with anyone else who was hurting, because I couldn’t imagine the space could hold us both.  Sunshine violated me, and hope burned.

You choose another path.  You let me come beside you.

Thank you for believing me to be a credible witness to your heart’s deepest sadness.

* * *

“Only someone who has been there, who has drunk the dregs of our cup of pain, who has experienced the existential loneliness and alienation of the human condition, dares whisper the name of the Holy to our unspeakable distress.  Only that witness is credible; only that love is believable.”

~ Brennan Manning, Ruthless Trest