IN THIS TOGETHER ◽ MARRIAGE
by Bekah Holland
Oh good! It’s February.
Last year about this time, I was writing (whining) about my disdain of Valentine’s Day and blissfully ignorant of the terrible, horrible, no good very bad year that we were about to embark on. I still thought that griping about a commercialized and highly marketed “holiday,” hell bent on guilting people into spending money on overpriced and overrated gifts (okay, maybe I still have some feelings about it,) was the biggest problem I had that day. Little did any of us know how completely upside down our world was about to turn.
And while I’m not at all superstitious, I think I’m going to go ahead and try to look hopefully toward this February, just in case. Because this time last year, I had no idea that it was going to be my last time to hug my parents or be held by my momma for months! I had no idea that driving my daughter back and forth from youth group would be the last time she was able to be connected to her friends for going on a year. I had no idea that the last time I had breakfast with my friend at the office, encouraging each other and pushing each other would be the last in person visit we would have for ages. And now that we’ve made it this far, through fear and frustration and loneliness and heartbreak, into the beginning of a new year, I see how much I took for granted.
Now please don’t get me wrong. I have been a hot mess for the last 337 days, 14 hours and 11 minutes since we first began quarantine. And when I say hot mess, I mean no hot, all mess. So obviously I haven’t completely changed into someone who skips merrily through the chaos without missing a beat. If I appear that way, please feel free to call in reinforcements, because I’ve been replaced by a pod person. However, now that I’m not melting down in the kitchen every single day (and if you do, I totally support the crying, no judgement, carry on) I can see a sliver of hope. Hope that maybe, somehow, my kids and husband and I won’t snap and kill each other (yet). Hope that while my kids won’t come out of this unscathed, maybe they will still be okay. Hope in humanity, that many people do care enough about the welfare of others to be all right with being inconvenienced. And maybe that means that I can begin to focus on the beauty in my relationships and my marriage.
Because it’s really easy to get caught up in the never-ending merry-go-round of issues and hurts and fears. Especially when we’ve gone from leaving home to go to work and dinners and get-togethers with friends to staying home, 24/7, working together, sharing an office, and a kitchen and a bed and a bathroom - every.single.minute.of.every.single.day. It’s been, um, challenging. And I am very aware that we are incredibly privileged to have jobs that allow us to work from home, and space to do so, and access to the internet and a million other reasons it’s much easier for us than so many others. I also try to keep reminding myself of these things.
However good we have it, some days it’s just plain dang ugly. Like this completely hypothetical situation: someone didn’t sleep well, on top of the fact that same someone went to bed without doing the dishes in protest because NO ONE ELSE DOES THE DISHES and not a soul in this house noticed or cared. They did, however, continue to pile new ones on top until I (I mean this hypothetical person) completely lost my ever loving mind. Or when someone has run up and down the stairs 40 bazillion times that day bouncing between work, meetings, kids’ zooms, kids not on zooms when they’re supposed to be, more meetings, letting the dogs out, then back in, breakfast, lunch, dinner, with no end in sight. This level of crazy can cause a lot of backyard screaming and rage, hitting the punching bag…hypothetically, I mean.
In spite of the real struggles, I want to move into and through this month and each one after that with more grace and mercy than I think I’m capable of. I want to stop feeling responsible for the hurt, frustration and anger of others. I want to rest in the knowledge that each new day, I get to try again to offer forgiveness and a safe place to land while taking refuge in my Savior.
Some days I’ll win, some days I’ll lose, some days will probably be a toss-up. And then I’ll get a chance to do it again, hopefully a little better than yesterday.
“Try again. Fail again. Fail better.” - Samuel Beckett