this person I get to marry.

My heart and my soul walk outside my body. My best friend and my dreaming partner become my future and my hope and I’m a blubbering mess when he places that ring on my finger, while the knee of those prized Levis muddy on the riverbank. I look up at him across the room and we know it in an instant, we share a smile that speaks to this incomprehensible joy of togetherness. In that moment, it’s the thought of forever, the hope of everything beyond this moment in time that plunges me headfirst into deeper and greater love with him.

I’ve been saving this one. I knew when Jesse eventually asked me to marry him that I would want to lose myself in the writing of all he is to me. I knew I would want to have these words still hidden that I might express the wonder of his person. This person I get to marry.

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Jesse is truly the kindest person I know. I’m hard-nosed and stubborn and lay claim over the resident sass-pot title. I’m crazy and I drown myself and those around me in words upon pointed words and for some confounded reason, he chooses me. I lose my grip and he helps me to breathe. Jesse is sensitive and affectionate and when he’s not feeling too shy, he’s funny and clever. He begs me to sit and listen to a paragraph from an obscure book and I say yes just so I can see his eyes alit with passion about people and places most of us don’t know exist. He’s smart and passionate about unconventional education – systems that honour the (so called) “dumb” people who don’t have a chance in this exclusive and academic world. He’s concerned for the marginalized, though he’d never admit that to anyone. He preaches open-mindedness to all things minuscule and all things life-changing, balanced thinking towards the pieces of life that beg for misplaced extremes. I used to think he was too passive but with each deep breath he has me take, he shows me how slow responses allow the mind to think clearly, justly, rationally. He shows me how to think first. He is everything I am not and could never hope to be.

When Jesse taught himself piano, he put my skill from years and years of lessons to complete shame. Every note he plays is laden with soul. Every step he takes in our day to day, he carries with him compassion for the broken because God knows he’s been broken himself. And yet, I see diligence and perseverance where many might crumble. The hand he was dealt screamed at him to forget Jesus and he decided to search harder. He bled to search harder. Even now, when it’s hard to understand and God is far away, he holds on and waits for the promise of knowledge that surpasses understanding. He waits for Jesus because above all else, He believes in a Jesus who dines with the lost and outcast, the directionless loners. He believes in a Jesus who obliterated the box we put Him in when He called that man Zacchaeus to climb down from his tree of isolation and said to him, I came for YOU. With that understanding, Jesse holds Jesus outside the confines of the box, choosing to perceive this world through the eyes of Him who loved that man up in his tree, that man so very short in stature. The Jesse that will give me little ones running around in diapers loves that man too. He sees that man, people like him, and so very much more. He sees this world in a vast array of colours, lines, patterns, spaces, that are filled and yet empty – empty and yet overflowing with unbridled life. He see beauty and meaning in the mundane. He opens my eyes, my stubborn, picky, eyes. The Jesus we believe in uses his soul to quiet my own and that is a gift most generously given. He is a gift to this ornery, bullheaded woman who deserves far less than his patience.

Marriage. I know my fair share of people who shudder at our 21 year old selves running headlong toward marriage. Life begins when I become his wife, though. I want to face this world together, face growing up together – whatever that may look like. I want to see the world but I want to see it through his eyes. I want to be dirt poor with him, to figure out how to survive together. Because if there is one thing our parents have taught us, it is that you don’t figure out how to survive just once. You do it over and over again, every day, every decade, because every season in a marriage is wrought with challenges of its own. Every couple says this: that we have survived so much more than most couples our age. Let me join the masses in saying the same. We have challenged each other to our uttermost breaking point. What’s more, the Lord has had His hand heavy upon the two of us – much more intensely than I thought would be possible for a relationship so young. The soul-wracking despair and the desperate need for forgiveness for the baggage we bring to each other or the present pain our shortcomings cause are radically overpowered by the steady unfolding of joy in our beings. It’s awe-inspiring, truly, how God strengthens our souls to bear with one another and find contentedness in our partnership.

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What of our dreams, some might say. My every dream has been tied up in him since the day I met him. I don’t want my dreams if he’s not there with me.

I love him. With all my being. And we have waited patiently for this season, for true togetherness. I want to set out on this pie-on-the-windowsill dream with him, the one who inspired it all in the first place. My modern city boy. The irony is not lost on me. But the more I think on it, the more I see how your partner may be the truest source of tangible balance in your life. Indeed, he balances my country side dreams with dreams of his own and beauty is found in the coming together of it all. For this feeling right now, the word is delight. The word is euphoria. Sheer joy.

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