In uni, or college if you’re in America, I had this REALLY hard professor for Sociology. In fact, I remember when I finished my final exam I cried the whole time I drowned my sorrows in a tuna melt with cheese with a side of fries. We talked about the whole notion of ‘nature v. nurture‘ (also in my Ed Pysch classes) and I’m damn sure that part of my genetic code has been passed down for generations via the female lineage of which I was born into. Highly motivated, type A, over-tired, over-committed, impulsive, ‘doer’. We can also cook and make really good pie crust, again for another blog post.
When I decided to be part of the relationship with Andrew I had my life planned out for me. I was going to go ‘out Bush’ and complete a graduate program for Nursing. I had dreams of being an RN in the bush, red dirt, 4WD, and live on a cattle station and ride horses. All of that hasn’t happened. I have had to to grieve that dream gone for now, and admittedly at times I find myself mirroring that of a tanturmng toddler.
Relationships are funny, fickle, life-giving, and if you let them, life-sucking things. I have a friend who refers to getting engaged and married as ‘the golden ticket’. I’m not sure I agree with that. Relationships are hard work and they require a lot of consistent evaluating of one’s own personal space, desires and the meshing of them together into a cohesive and functional unit.
I love when my friend’s marriages are awesome, but sometimes when I ask my friends how they’re doing – I want to hear the gut honest truth. Mainly, because I’m a vulnerable type gal and I want to share the honest truth back so we can pray for one another and walk together. However, I was a little shaken by his 10% answer and I started staring intently at Nick wondering what he thought about it. Ten percent? Only 10%? I was pretty sure we had 40% left ourselves. (source)
Sometimes I feel as though I’ve got about 95% I need to work on and contribute to a higher percentage of our relationship uncertainty then I’d like to admit to. I’m a ‘racehorse’ by nature (as my friend correctly identified over an angst filled conversation). Seeing Sarah, Racheal and Jenna serving in far-reaching places where their deep seated desires of their faith, soul and opportunities align to give back to those around us, saturated the blog world I couldn’t help but become overwhelmed with my own desire to get out there. I went on a trip to East Timor, but that’s been 4 years ago. And I can’t help but shake the feeling that I have to get out there and do something bold like it again.
I wrote this upon returning to Australia after 1.5 weeks in East Timor:
I am so intensely happy it’s overwhelming. So intensely at peace with who I am. I am learning more about the strength of who I am, what I want, where I want to be, what I need from the world and what I want to give back.
I have to admit that when I got back to my little studio flat it felt nice to be back ‘home’. However, the endless search for the capacity to give back and feel fulfilled is what I am in search for.
I became a nurse so I could go gallivant around the world combining my need and desire to serve with medicine. I sobbed for about 1/2 the morning on Friday, and God Bless my friends who listened and re-assured me that YES there is a plan and even though it DOES feel like torture right now…something will open up.
This brings me back to relationships. It’s so easy to point the finger at another person for YOU not being able to fulfill dreams of your own. It is work to sort through feelings of angst, change, sacrifice. It demands a high level of patience which doesn’t afford itself sometimes when going through the committed adjustment of engagement and marriage. I think it’s actually dangerous to look at marriage at ‘the golden ticket’ because I don’t think that it is. What I can say, is that Andrew has made me a more calm, generous, kind and patient person. His desire for stability, predictability and contentment don’t always mirror my complete opposite desire of ‘pack up and go for it!’ It’s not always easy for me to be appreciative of those fabulous qualities of his, because I feel trapped, angry and frustrated because ‘I WANT IT NOW!’
I’m learning to be really honest with my drive and desires, because that’s what is required in relationships.
And I am so grateful. But one night after we identified our 40% status, we cuddled up and got real quiet and honest with one another and used our whisper voices to name the things that filled our marriage to do list. We didn’t argue or try to work it out, we just laid our cards on the table and cuddled.And I’m celebrating that. That there is so much redemptive work left for the Lord to do. There is ground left to take. There is sacrificial love to experience. There are two me’s that are slowly becoming a we. (source)
I think that perhaps ‘the golden ticket’ of the relationship is that it forces you to really drill down into our own soul and figure out how to compromise individualistic notions and meld them together into a sustainable rhythm. I’ve began to see the shear and raw beauty of being totally honest with each other. Of ‘laying the cards out’ and not deciding to argue or purposefully hurts another feelings. But saying ‘this is what my soul is aching for, this is what I’m scared of, this is REALLY how I feel’…and letting it go.
So maybe marriages are ‘the golden ticket’ to something bigger, but it’s a golden ticket that is panned for together.