On finding freedom

Hey folks, Maeve here. The ladies over at Happily Hitched asked me to write about marriage. I'll admit, I was a little intimidated because I am so new at this thing. Although, the word "freedom" kept pounding in my heart so I decided to write about that. And how the very thing that terrified me about marriage was the exact thing I really needed.  I hope my story brings you encouragement, in whatever season you might be in.



HH Blog

This isn’t your typical love story friend. It isn’t a tale of girl meets boy, girl falls head over heels in love with boy, girl can’t wait for boy to propose and spend the rest of her life with him.

My story looks a little different.

We all have those pillar moments, the memories that stand out like bold font on a page.

One happened for me six years ago in my parent’s backyard. I was sitting on the deck, wearing a dress from an overly expensive boutique in London, where I had just spent 3 months studying [playing] abroad.

I sat with my sister, showing her the tattoo on my foot [the one my parents hadn't seen yet] and said, "I can't be ordinary Jess. I want to do things differently. I want more from this simple life."

I didn't know how much those words would wreck me. How much they would shape and alter every decision I made.

They were the push to seek different and cool and interesting. They were the pull to go against the grain, to be bold and brave.

They also had me chasing after things in the darkest of places, because I ached for someone or thing to fill the emptiness. I couldn’t stop running. I refused to be tied down. I didn't want anyone telling me what to do.

Head on over to Happily Hitched to read the full post! 

Our Adventure

"It was such a joy to meet you."  That part I kept.  Because it was, it was such a joy to meet her. "What an adventure you had."  This part I wrote and quickly deleted.

I'm fairly certain this sweet girl would have thought nothing of it.  She would have taken my words for what they were: a heartfelt response to her sweet message.

And not a thing more.

She wouldn't have become all bent out of shape, all fired up, just because of the way my words strung together.

Had?  She had an adventure?

She was living one right now.  

You see, I used to be that way.  And by used too, I mean I still struggle with this.

When I think adventure, I think long flights, airport terminals, and biscoff cookies.  [Quick thought bubble: These precious, delicious cookies are for sale in most grocery stores. Get some and dunk them in your tea.]

I think of waiting at a "bus stop" alone in Nicaragua and politely [and fearfully] declining a kind mans gesture of offering me some peanuts.  By bus stop I mean random tree on the side of a road.

I think of camping in Washington State.

I think of a van breaking down in Kenya and letting girls play with my hair as they chat in Swahili.

I think of elephants and hippos and eating without utensils.

I think of a heavy backpack cutting into the sides of my hips, hiking in flip flops because my feet are covered in blisters, eating cold soup from a can.

It's so easy to think that these things are the grand adventures of my life.  And that adventures are this thing you do, and then they're gone and you're left to wait.  Waiting to live your next grand adventure.  

But I want to fight back y'all.  I have to believe my greatest adventure is today. It's right now, sitting at my table, eating my oats, and drinking tea.

It's choosing to get up a little early, do yoga, and sit here with you to write.  Because Lord knows I need it.

It's sitting at work on the computer, and choosing to drop everything to help a student who needs someone, anyone, to just listen. To look into his eyes, full of worry and sadness, with all my deepest compassion and say, "I'm so glad you're here.  I'm so glad I got to meet you."

Maybe we need to hear that more.  Maybe, we need to say that more.

My adventure is folding newborn onesies and blankets and figuring out how to set up a pack and play with my sister.  Side note: Who invented those? Because you are genius. That thing is the coolest.

My adventure is realizing that when Matthew is gone, I really, really miss him.

I miss his hugs and kisses and smell.

I miss the space between his shoulder and neck.

And I never, ever, thought I'd be like that.  I mean, I've been single wayyyyyy longer than I've been married.

Independence is my jam.

But in all honesty, when he's gone, it feels like something really important is missing.

I have friends caught in the middle, smack dab in between choices and dreams, wrestling with where to go and what to be.   And the stress and anxiety of it all can be heavy [I know this well].  But friend, you're also smack dab in an adventure.

An adventure of discovery and knowing and wanting to be known.

I have friends who are newlyweds, navigating the joys and trials of that first year.  Paying bills, sharing chores, switching between being the little and big spoon.

It's a love adventure.  One of growth and vulnerability.

It's easy to compare adventures.  It's easy to think that maybe we're missing it, that maybe it already happened, and now we just wait patiently impatiently.

But this life, each itty bitty moment, each meal, cup of coffee,  and fight is our great adventure.

It happens when I'm buying groceries and when I say good morning to my neighbor.

When I fall into the soft spot on the couch, wrapped in a blanket, with someone or thing I really, really love.

Maybe this is it.  Maybe the grand adventure isn't a long flight or foreign city.  Maybe it's this life, in all it's routine and simplicity.

I'm going to try and fight for that y'all.  Maybe we could do it together?