I'm listening to a lot of songs by Audrey Assad lately. They're so comforting, so full of hope, and so real. Right now, the words to this song I love start off, "I am a blind man trying to find a way..."
Yep, I can relate to that.
I'm trying to be positive. Believe me, I get it. I know things could be so much worse, and that, theoretically, I have the "rest of my life" with Ricardo to enjoy. I have had the privilege of seeing to a greater depth these past two days what a gift I am receiving in marrying this man, in the love that he so freely gives, in the love that we share. I know when we stand together, look into each other's eyes and say our vows, they will be more than best intentions, because we've already begun to experience what it means and what it looks like to live them out. A sneak preview, if you will.
However, being the honest person I am, I'd not be human if I didn't confess that this is hard. There is joy here, but not without some mourning.
I've looked forward to this day since I was at least a young teenager. I'm thirty-one years old, and I've saved myself for Ricardo alone. And while I know I'll still enjoy the day, absolutely; and while I know I'll still be a beautiful bride, there's not one woman I know who wouldn't be sad in my shoe (and boot) on her wedding day. No one wants to cancel their honeymoon and have surgery instead. We may be able to reschedule a vacation at a later date, and we'd enjoy it, but you don't get a honeymoon back.
And it's not only that. There's so much more. No running, biking, dancing, hiking, triathlons, half marathons, all the activities that I love - nada. Not this summer or this fall. Nothing strenuous for at least six months. Try telling an extremely active person who lives in a beautiful place that she can't even go for a walk without crutches or hobbling on a robotic boot for six weeks. I'm crying as it sinks in. I had hopes and plans for this summer and beyond, with my new husband, and they aren't going to happen. I'll be in rehab trying to learn how to walk properly with my achilles tendon fused back together with my calf muscle.
I've got to allow myself to grieve these losses. Being positive doesn't mean we pretend everything is ok. For me, it means acknowledging what's real - the good and the painful - and choosing in the midst to be thankful for the many gifts of grace in each day I'm alive.
There is much to be thankful for. I could rattle off a long list here, of family and friends and coworkers and customers that have shown us such great love and support. Of strangers who have prayed for me. We are rich indeed. If you ask me, I will also be honest and say that I have hope that there's something special that will come of this. And maybe not just for Ricardo and I alone, but something greater even, that will showcase the goodness of God and bless someone else. I have no clue what, but I have faith for it. Not because the universe is good or I've got good karma, but because I am convinced God is good, and this is no surprise to him. If I truly believe he is good and doesn't play dirty, I've got to believe there's something I don't see yet that is more beautiful than I can imagine. It's consistent with his character. My emotions and circumstances may fluctuate immensely, but he remains constant. Whether I feel this or not, I've learned through the death of my dad that God doesn't change even when circumstances are painful and confusing.
So please know, I'm still looking forward to my wedding, but not without some sadness. It will be a beautiful, memorable day, and I imagine in several years I'll look back on this all with a different perspective and greater appreciation than I'm capable of in this moment.
This same Audrey Assad song builds to the most powerful bridge: "Heaven is breaking, heaven is breaking, heaven is breaking through." And it fills my soul with hope. May heaven break through these clouds of unexpected circumstances and surprise us with overwhelming joy.