As a photographer, it's important for me to preserve the memories of not just other people, but my own life. In a small way, these blogs are a means of doing just that. I know I won't have the same job for the rest of my life, and some day I will be able to look back and know myself - both the good and the bad - through my writings.
Each year for our anniversary, I put together a collage of the past year of marriage. There are usually a lot of pictures, way too many to fit, and I have to pick and choose. In the middle years, though, particularly the third year of marriage, I could barely find any pictures at all. I mentioned this in last week's blog, but in a lot of ways I didn't know how good we had it in year 2, because years three and four hit us like a ton of bricks.
In the middle of wedding season I was in a longboarding accident (yes, I board!) and dislocated my shoulder - which is sadly a lot worse than it sounds. This led to a surgery and four months of intense recovery. Two years later, I still feel pain from time to time and have to be careful. This was just the first blow of many to come.
Three days after surgery, while I sat on the verge of hallucinations from the pain and my medicine, we drove back to the emergency room - this time for Nathan. At the time I wasn't fit to stand up by myself, let alone drive, so Nathan drove himself to the ER while I rode along and prayed he wouldn't pass out on the way because I would not have been able to help him one bit.
Over the next few years, we experienced everything from kidney stones (Nathan) to extreme stress (me) and lots of other struggles in between. The hard times were thankfully padded with some bright spots - our vacation to the West Coast and our trip to New York were both once-in-a-lifetime trips that we immensely enjoyed. On top of that, the first baby was added to my immediate family when my niece Grace was born - and trust me, you don't know joy until you have a niece to dress up, play with, and snuggle!
Here I have to take a brief aside and talk about a word I learned when I had spent a summer of my college years in South Africa at an orphanage - redemption. Though I knew what it meant, it took a personal meaning that summer and ever since. Redemption means more than just seeing something fixed that used to be broken. It means that the thing which was broken is not only fixed, but completely healed. It is redeemed in such a way that while you never forget the hurt and brokenness, the end result is better than it could have been without the pain in the first place.
The middle years were years of redemption. My shoulder was broken and thus, my marriage became stronger because we needed each other. Nathan's struggles with anxiety led him to seek help and eventually a very positive life change we never would have jumped into otherwise. So every day when my alarm sounds at 5:30 and I lace up my tennis shoes, I am thankful. I can run because I am healed. I can run because right now, for however long it may last, I am healthy. I can run because I have a home to run back to and a husband waiting with a cup of coffee made just for me.
That, friends, is redemption. What does that word mean to you?
10 Things You Didn't Know about Nathan
10 Things You Didn't Know about Me
Before We Met
How We Met
The First Date
The Struggles of Dating
How We Fell in Love
Our Wedding Day
The First Few Months
Living the Newlywed Life
The Second Year