Sometimes I write vulnerable things on my photography blog. This is for two reasons, a) these topics pertain to other couples and photographers and b) I currently don't have a personal blog. If you want to sign up for emails for the day that I do - click here.
Last fall, I walked down the familiar sidewalk on the route from my car to the social work building at MSUM. The air was crisp. The colors were bright and bursting. Everything felt like fall.
And it brought back old memories. From struggles in high school with clinical depression to my whole family/life falling apart, October is the best month that carries the worst memories. It really isn't fair to October. It is just doing its best to fill the world with pumpkin patches, spooky costumes, cozy sweaters, and pretty leaves. It's not October's fault that people leave haunting wounds and scars within those 31 days.
It was in a moment of feeling the weight of the pain October has held that I realized I needed to get married in the fall. I needed a redemption story to play out on the backdrop of my favorite season. My demons had no true ownership of that ground. My mourning will be turned into dancing. For me, getting married was more than just about a pretty party or even about falling in love, it was a stance that love & joy will always win when up against pain & heartache.
October was when I got a phone call from my dad that forever changed my life. He told me about what he did to not only get him fired from being a pastor, but made the ground give way underneath me. Everything I thought I knew as truth instantly felt flimsy and weak. It brought weeping. Then more weeping. The kind of wails where your soul is left on the pavement where you got the news and you find yourself for months returning to the floor to choke on your own tears. While the details of this story are for another day, I will say that it was a pain that I've never felt before or since and never hope to know again.
On my first date with Caleb, we talked about weddings. Not ours. We weren't totally weird like that. We just were talking about my job as a wedding photographer and then about his brother's wedding and then it went into the territory of him saying that he always had wanted a fall wedding and was pretty sure he'd bawl through it all.
As we first started dating and I could start to see the potential of a future with him, I figured it'd be a long time. We were young. He was the first guy younger than me that I ever dated which made me feel like we were even younger. There was growing up to do. There was the family chaos of an in-process parent divorce to work through. Marriage felt a long way off. I figured that fall 2018 seemed like a reasonable time to get married... you know... IF we made it all the way.
Slowly, yet quickly, it became clear that our plans could not be trusted and there was something wilder happening. We fell madly in love hard and fast. We realized that we wanted to build a life together. This was our person. It was only a matter of time.
We spent a month before Caleb's proposal praying and debating through our options. We were either going to get married in October 2017 or May 2018. Obviously, due to many reasons, we chose to get married on October 2017.
One of the biggest reasons was that longing of my heart and inner God nudge saying that the significance of October matters.
It does. I know that in my spirit that this is not only the best thing for us as a couple to start our lives at this time, but that my own heart will heal in this place.
On October 14th, I'm going to dance upon the grave of a once broken heart.
I believe in love. I believe in marriage. That's a big freaking deal.
Despite the pain, despite fear, despite my own "ish" - I'm going to enter into a lifelong covenant with my best friend. And it will be good. Easy? Nah. But nothing that's easy has that great of a reward at the end. It's only the hard things, the ones that require a whole lot of yourself, those are the things that will reap you a rich reward.
We are in it to win it. Cheesy as it may sound. There is no 30-day free trial. There is no backsies. There is no room for regret. I'm going to death's doorstep with this guy. No matter what.
I have seen resurrection life transform the darkest places of my life. That's the same kind of power and life that's carrying me to and through marriage. This marriage I'm building is not only my safe place in the world, it's also my declaration: God is good. God meets us in our pain but never leaves us there to die. Joy always comes in the morning. God is doing a new thing and a good thing - hope lives.