There was a night in late November. It was a Sunday, I think, and I was in Colorado at Jacob's (and soon to by my) house. Damp and smelling of snow, the air held the blue hues of dusk and I, the girl whose favorite color is the green of nature, was unexpectedly struck with the beauty of the barren landscape. At my insistence, we took a walk in the stillness, spotting three silent owls perched in the spindly, bare branches. One by one, they flew away as we got closer, their wings whooshing through the shadows. Watching them made me sad, but the good, yearning kind. Then we turned back for home and there was a fire awaiting us in the wood stove and I thought, this is what awaits me for the rest of my life.
I'm in Oklahoma for the Christmas season this year and four times I've started drafting a post here to no avail. Experiencing December without the cacophony and clammer of finals reminds me of the heart-palpitating anticipation of a boy coming to visit me two years ago on a cold, gray Saturday. Although it took until that winter's melting for me to fall properly in love, the first seeds were planted that December in a rush of flushed cheeks and a furtive grasp of hands. When I see him now, my palms no longer grow clammy, nor do nerves cause my tongue to act separately from my brain, but my heart rate still goes up in the few moments before we're reunited and I think how lucky we are to have found each other.
Soon all the awful pattern of goodbyes will be behind us and we'll be--as Jacob phrased it when he proposed--permanent roommates and lovers. If I let myself think about it, I'm terrified of starting my life over in a new city, but then I realize that people move all the time and they survive, or at least mostly. I feel terribly boring as wedding planning takes up the majority of my days, but I am overcome by the outpouring of love that began the moment we announced our engagement and, five months later, has yet to slow. As I told a friend few days ago, the days right now are both nothing and everything. I am trying to be as pragmatic and sensible as possible when it comes to putting this wedding together. I've discovered that, no matter how lovely, I'm not much one for flowery pinterest boards or mason jars filled with tea lights or wedding rituals that exist only for the sake of tradition.
People ask me if I'm excited for the wedding, and I am, but mostly I'm setting my sights on preparing for the marriage that will last the rest of our lives. Regardless of whether you are 18 or 42, there is immense gravity in promising yourself to another person until death does you part, a commitment that runs far deeper than choosing which centerpieces to have at the reception. Agreeing to marry Jacob was not an excuse to plan a pretty party, or the result of being blindly driven by hormones, or, as some would bluntly see it, the first step in throwing my life away. I'm not so naive to think that marriage will be easy, or that there won't be sacrifices--because already there have been trials and forfeits on both sides--but the thought of life without him seems impossible. By marrying him, I'm doing anything but throwing my life away. What is there to be lost when two lives join together to become one? And it is that for which my heart swells--the knowledge that as couple knit together with Christ, we are far better than either of us could be on our own. The wedding day itself will come, it will be beautiful, and then it will pass and the two of us will be left together in the quiet business of life, the place where the real excitement lies.