I told my sweet that I would probably never write about our relationship very much online because of a lot of really good reasons. Relationships are private, big, hard, private, special, unsuitable to be reduced to words, and did I mention private.
But I’m going to break that rule a little bit. Not to be mushy, but to share something I learned. Who among us couldn’t write books after books of lessons learned from relationships? Relationships of all kinds are nothing if not hard and tricky and lovely and FULL of lessons.
A year ago exactly – 365 beautiful days ago – I met him. I shook his hand, told him I liked his tattoos, and then my life got better.
When I say that at that point in life I didn’t want a romantic relationship, I mean that the THOUGHT of one made me exhausted and I would have rather been dragged to Kroger by Justin Bieber than tie myself to another human being. I had spent all of my life pretending I didn’t want one (as we all foolishly do, “Oh, I won’t find love till I’m not looking for it? What a coincidence, I’m not looking for it now !” don’t make me laugh) – but this was the first time it was genuine. I ached and was broken. I was new to a city I wasn’t entirely happy to be in. Therefore, it was a beautiful thing when I didn’t meet a boy I wanted to date, I met a boy who was my friend immediately. Who made me feel comfortable. Who asked me questions about the place and people and food I left behind (I specifically remember one of the first things we talked about was Taco Bus) (and at the time I told him he should visit Tampa cause he’d totally dig it)(which is crazy because 365 days later, he lives here. AGH). Who made me feel safe.
We truly began as friends. There were no intentions at the beginning. There weren’t late night texts, weird one on one hang outs immediately after meeting each other. There was a really nice guy who recommended bookstores to me.
After some months, feelings changed. CAUSE DUH, he’s so handsome. And because of other reasons. With those new feelings came dates. With time, we witnessed first hand the beautiful ebb and flow of change and suddenly we were drenched in love.
And the interesting thing is that falling in love with him wasn’t BIG AND LOUD AND FILLED WITH FIREWORKS AND AVETT BROTHERS SONGS (the title of this post is actually an Avett Brothers lyric, cheers to those wonderful brothers). Falling in love felt like coming home. Like a sigh of relief. Like I could rest. I’m sure sometimes it is big, bold and like getting punched in the heart but you know, in a good way, but for me, after all I had endured, it felt like rest.
I felt like being with him was the first easy thing in my life.
Not because it’s easy to commit to someone, let it be known that relationships are not what they seem in terrible Cameron Diaz movies. Carrying another person’s feelings along with your own is really difficult. Especially when you’re as conceited as I am. In the past when I would hear things like 1 Corinthians 13 (sigh, beautiful verses tainted with out of context and annoying references..) I would think, “Yes, THIS is what I want! This is how I want to be loved! And how I want to love!”. But now, my thoughts are a little different. Now when I hear that love is patient and kind, I think “I AM NOT PATIENT OR KIND LITEREALLY EVER. I AM PERHAPS THE WORST”.
But if you notice, it was selfishness that made my heart flutter at the words of what love was like. It was wanting ME to feel that way. Wanting someone to love ME with such tenderness. Once I was loved perfectly, then it would be so easy to love him perfectly in return.
That isn’t how it works. He loves me so well and so fully and I STILL micromanage him and put myself first. Being loved well doesn’t make you automatically love well in return. It shows you how to love better, it convicts you of your grumpiness, but the work is on you. Letting it go when he drives a perfectly good route that is different than how I would drive isn’t something I was magically good at once I realized I loved him. It’s something I still suck at. But am working on. Fingers crossed.
A beautiful friend of mine said something amazing after getting engaged. She said, “that relationships even exist makes zero sense. It is crazy that we take two people with entirely different pasts, families, likes, dislikes, and then tie them together. Like, here! Exist harmoniously together even though there is absolutely no reason why you should! It seriously blows my mind that we do this. Even more so that God somehow makes it work!”
She’s right. It is crazy. Relationships are crazy. And what’s craziest is how restful it was to my soul to sign up for this madness with him.
It’s only been a year. Only eight months of loving each other. Really, anything can happen. I know what I want our future to look like, I know the plans we have tentatively and hopefully and blissfully made with each other, but anything can happen. So I don’t write this with immature confidence that I know what lies ahead. I can’t say what will happen, but I can say what has. What has happened is my heart finally came home when Christ put him in front of me 365 days ago. He isn’t my end-all or the reason I was created, but he is an incredible and rather spectacular gift. Home.
If your heart still feels homesick, I understand that really well. If I could, I would hug you all day long and make you apple pie. I am well versed in heartache (of all shapes and sizes – there are an unfortunate number of things that break us) and I know it to be the worst. But when you’re mistakenly thinking that perhaps heartache is your home, let me remind you that it isn’t. God meant what he said in Isaiah 16, “I will turn the darkness into light before them and make the rough places smooth. These are the things I will do; I will not forsake them.” This doesn’t mean God will bring you a spouse (I assure you, I fancy myself a feminist so never in my life will I tell you that a spouse is the ultimate gift from God), it means he will make your rough places smooth. That can look like a million different things and feel a million different ways. But take heart, God does not forsake His promises.