7/08/2010

a summer list - joy

Well, dear readers, MM proposed (so beautifully) on May 8th, and we are to be married July 24th.

Just take that in.

Yes, eleven weeks. Eleven weeks to plan and prepare for a wedding, find and move into our first home, and finish work projects.

MM and I are a team, so we are both in this together. This is definitely not the Bridezilla scenario where the woman does everything and ends up raging at everyone. But still. All of this is pretty stressful. And I'm already in counseling. For stress. Ha!

We've been intentional about staying joyous and connected and in love during all this activity, and for the most part, I think we've done alright. God has been so good to us! Stuff has just come together perfectly in all areas. And we have a wonderful community of friends and family praying for us, encouraging us, and helping us. We found a house on Wednesday, applied on Thursday, got approved on Monday, and somehow got 18 people to help us move our things on Saturday.(1) And we've been disciplined about taking time out from all the tasks and to do lists and work to play and just be together. We went hiking in Muir woods, attended a ballgame, celebrated Independence day, and made time for naps when we needed them.

We are very much in love and remain connected, but I will confess that the stress has stolen some of my joy. I have not enjoyed this season of engagement as much as I could have. For lots of reasons. And, sadly, I think that my lack of joy and increased stress has prevented MM from enjoying this time too. It is hard for him to hear me constantly freaking out about how there is "so much to do!"

And I cry a lot.

And that's hard on him too. He loves me, and it hurts him when I cry. And I mean, I cry a LOT. Just this morning I cried three times before work.

He'd come over to have breakfast and iron a shirt before heading to the office, and by 8:30 we're standing on the porch with him stressed because he has to leave and I'm crying. He can't stay, and he's worried about leaving me home crying with no one to comfort me.

I feel terrible about burdening him like that. My sweet man, who just wanted to iron his shirt, for goodness sake!

But at the same time, I can't help it. I am stressed. There is a lot to do. This is a crazy, intense season, which for us is compacted into eleven weeks and coincides with a huge (terrible) work project for me and a bunch of work deadlines for him. Its. Just Nuts.

Every spring I make a "summer list" of things I want to experience in the summer. Stuff like, "float down a lazy river in an innertube" or "eat a corndog at a county fair" or "go star gazing in the country." The list helps remind me to remember to experience summer with all my senses. To take time out of the rush of life to soak in some Abundant Life.

This year I was so busy with the rush of life that I didn't even make a list.

Tomorrow is the last day of my work project. Then I have two weeks to just settle into the house and finish the wedding preparations. And be fully present to joy.

But I need to start now. Because with all the stress and the crying I do, I really, truly have had joy. I thought that I would live out my days alone, but God did the impossible and brought me to the perfect man for me. And these few weeks of planning our wedding and our home and our new life together have been beautiful. I am thankful.

I am thankful that God gave me a man who is so good to me. Who is so kind and gentle and loving. Who cares deeply when I cry and longs to give me comfort and rest. Who will shoulder my burdens without a thought yet struggles mightily with sharing his with me, because he knows I'm handling a lot right now. But does, because he longs for us to be connected in all things, not just the happy ones.

A man who washes the dishes and goes to the grocery store and cooks dinner. A man who brings me green roses and funny "disco" lighters. A man who sits down at the table to write actual notes in the endless piles of thank you cards - wearing a superhero mask. A man who touches my freshly washed face and tells me I look beautiful without makeup.

I am thankful for this wonderful man. And I am thankful for these days. Days I thought would never come. Days of love and growth and new life with a handsome man who inspires me, makes me laugh, and rocks my world.

So, I will eventually write my usual summer list. But first. For the next few days, I'm going to recap the last two months in a list of joys. Moments and events that show the beauty of this busy time.

* the look in MMs eyes when he proposed

* the beautiful words he used that I only half heard because I immediately freaked out when I saw him get down on one knee

* the way he hugged me and said, "ok, sweetie, you have to say yes first, and then you can cry."

* Victoria's (a lady at the next table) joy at our news, her gushing and hugs, and gift of champagne!

* the tenderness MM poured out on me after I drank too much of that champagne while we called everyone we knew while sitting in the hot sun - he was so loving and kind to me in my miserable state and made the whole evening sweet and snuggly and shushed my embarrassment with words of grace

* the overwhelming rush of good wishes and congratulations from loved ones, colleagues, even strangers - their joy in our happiness made us feel so special

And this was only the first day. I will add to the list as time allows these next few weeks.

(1) Something to note. MM and I are going the traditional route. No living together - or sex - til we're married. So in the midst of all the other stuff, we've been fighting the good fight to hold out til our wedding night. So far, so good! But that has added another layer of stress to all this. Lets just say we are very much looking forward to our honeymoon. Whoa Nelly!