“..that sanguine expectation of happiness which is happiness itself.” ― Jane Austen, Sense and Sensibility
Today is Dan and I’s anniversary. We are leaving for Tucson, Arizona early tomorrow morning. I can’t remember a time in our life together, even waiting for our babies, when we have longed for something in this way. The past few weeks have been full of wistful conversations about our upcoming trip. We have been flirting. We have been writing love notes and texts. We have been aching in anticipation of eight days of vacation from the long hard here. I am excited to take Dan back to a place I traveled a year ago following my shunt revision. I healed and tasted wellness there. I want him to see me this way. I want to be only one thing during this time. I want to be his Monica.
Song of Solomon keeps coming to mind. It is a book in the Bible I have mostly skipped over. Since I was a child I felt like reading it was akin to sneaking into the 612.6 section of the library to learn what I could about sex. It’s full of strong erotic imagery telling a story of lovers. Chapter two explores the expectation of them running away to be alone together but also speaks to restoration after a bleak time in their relationship and lives.
The voice of my beloved!
Behold, he comes
Leaping upon the mountains,
Skipping upon the hills.
My beloved is like a gazelle or a young stag.
Behold, he stands behind our wall;
He is looking through the windows,
Gazing through the lattice.
My beloved spoke, and said to me:
“Rise up, my love, my fair one,
And come away.
For lo, the winter is past,
The rain is over and gone.
The flowers appear on the earth;
The time of singing has come,
And the voice of the turtledove
Is heard in our land.
The fig tree puts forth her green figs,
And the vines with the tender grapes
Give a good smell.
Rise up, my love, my fair one,
And come away!
O my dove, in the clefts of the rock,
In the secret places of the cliff,
Let me see your face,
Let me hear your voice;
For your voice is sweet,
And your face is lovely.
When I think back over the last sixteen years of my life there is one constant thread binding the story. Before I really knew what Calvary love was; Before I had tasted real Grace that changes you from the inside out; God gave me Dan. I separate my life into chapters easily. I know telling the whole truth out loud about those years before Dan will someday be important. For now, I can only tell you Dan’s love saved my life as surely as God’s love saved my soul.
On a one night anniversary trip in 2012, two and a half months after my brain surgery and fusion and a month before I would head back to Maryland for my tethered spinal cord surgery and Tarlov cyst removal, I laid on Dan’s strong chest, my happy place, in a beautiful room at Gervasi. I was feeling ever discouraged with the never ending pain and suffering. I listened to him talk of his dreams for our family. He shared his new found peace with where we were. He asked me if I believed we would really move past all this in the future. He told me why he did.
My heart trusted him. To hear him verbalize something about our tomorrows besides being “stuck” gave me the very hope I was needing to move forward. He rescued me and faithfully loved me when I was so unlovable. He has always believed in the promises we made. He has laid down his life, his wants and his needs over and over again to care for the girls and I. He’s shown me Jesus when I couldn’t see Him anywhere else. I look at my husband, Dan, and see more than human love. I see Calvary love.
We will keep dancing.
We will keep sailing.
We will keep doing hard things because we promised, and His promises are true.
We will keep dreaming.
We will keep expecting good things.
Our Hope remains.
(Thank you to those who generously made this trip possible. You know who you are. Thank you to those who are genuinely rejoicing with us. God has been so good to continue to give me a measure of health since my December plasmapheresis. Will you please pray I will stay well and be fully physically present during this trip? Will you please pray for safety in every way for our sweet Delaney and Danica as they remain here? I will be offline except for sharing photos on social media because so many of you have asked to see glimpses of our happiness. I will return writing here soon and will resume my “If” series and giveaways. LOVE.)
This is one of our favorite love songs by Andrew Peterson. It plays often in the soundtrack of our lives.