We have been merging systems, ways of doing laundry, patterns of days, schedules for contacting family, decisions over where to spend holidays. Each coming with years of family systems, traditions, ways of being, and we’re not going to just do it your way or just do it my way, so we take the time to learn our way. The joy of being a team means not making me in charge of the home and him in charge of outside, (not that anyone who knows us at all thought we would), but I can see how that would require a lot less discussion. But we like to talk…
I’ve introduced him to my goal setting and crazy ideas and because of that we seriously contemplated moving to Boston and my going to Harvard. He participated in the crazy side that makes the decision to take the GRE a month out and does. He introduced me to his disciplined rhythms of work and home and Sabbath. I still don’t understand how he can be better at both disciplined work and resting, but it’s true, and I participated in more Slow Saturdays with pancakes, more of a routine, which we desperately needed with my crazy schedule at the hospital, and more turning everything into a song. We learned together that we make our best decisions while hiking. And together we merged tendencies into a rhythm of discipline, Sabbath, and a sprinkling of crazy ideas.
Merging into a new family can be hard though. Everything comes with a discussion — how are we going to celebrate this? What’s our way of dealing with that? How can we support one another and leave space for friends and family relationships? What does a normal week look like? Is there such thing as a normal week? (We’re learning the answer seems to be no).
If we could have picked 365 days of events for our first year of marriage I wouldn’t have picked these ones. (Apparently I warned him that he wouldn’t like me as much when I was working at the children’s hospital; I guess that was good of me). It’s a good thing I didn’t pick the events, because even though this year has contained a lot of decisions and difficulty, they were overwhelmed by joy and possibility. There were events that alone would have been challenges but faced together were adventures. There were friends who acted as family. There were travels, adventures, and quiet days at home. At the end of the day, we’ve started the process of becoming an us.
I hope as we pass from the “everything is a discussion” stage into more of an unspoken rhythm (though I’m assuming that children bump folks back to having to discuss how things are to be done) that the gifts of this season continue. I hope we can continue to grow in grace and patience with each other, seeking to ask before we assume, to encourage before we suggest, and to see the humor and opportunities for joy and gratitude in whatever circumstance the day holds. (I know there are new mercies for each day, I’m just still learning to take full advantage of these…) Through it all though, the abundance of God has always been made clear. There is enough grace, enough forgiveness, enough clarity, to go around and plenty of teachers when we look to learn.
As we head toward new adventures as a clergy couple in Kentucky, I am grateful for the process of merging systems, dreams, and prayers that have led us to this place. For a calling that is both unique to each of us but different than it would have been without the other. Knowing that we go forward with the faith and assurance that the Holy Spirit goes ahead of us as a new adventure awaits.