Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Tomorrow marks two months of marriage.  We're celebrating big: Cori is going to work, I'm going to look for a job, then we're going to make dinner, eat it, and probably play the Wii some.  Exciting stuff! ;)

Alright, so I'm mocking us a little.  But, I realized an anniversary that is almost more significant than the two months of marriage mark.  Right around this time last year, Cori and I had our first serious marriage conversation.  We'd been dating for about 8 months and Cori had recently returned from 2 months in Ecuador.  Those first weeks having him back were wonderful; it was a difficult summer being away from each other, and after making it through that, we were both beginning to think along more permanent lines.  After several casual conversations about the 'if' of marriage (can any conversation about marriage every really be casual for a girl?) I realized that as much as the giddy, girly part of me enjoyed it, we were going to a place where I would be devastated if our 'if thinking' didn't turn out to be a 'when.'  So I told Cori that I couldn't have any more conversations about marriage until he was sure he wanted to marry me.  Cori said, "What if I'm sure?"  I believe my response was something along the lines of, "Well, then we can talk about it all you want!"  (Insert giggly, blushing Rebecca here)

That was the beginning of a very fun, if not sometimes scary and new, season for us.  We dated for the next 3 or 4 months before getting engaged, intentionally talking about marriage and the future.  It was such a crazy season to be in, being fully secure of Cori's feelings for me as we moved towards a place in life neither of us had been before.

Right around that time, my friend April posted a song on her blog, dedicating it to her husband of 6 months.  I immediately fell in love with it and played it for Cori, who loved it too.  It became our song and was our first dance together as husband and wife.

Dancing in the Minefields, Andrew Peterson
I was nineteen, you were twenty-one
The year we got engaged
Everyone said we were much too young
But we did it anyway

We bought our rings for forty each
From a pawn shop down the road
We made our vows and took the leap
Now fifteen years ago

We went dancing in the minefields
We went sailing in the storm
And it was harder than we dreamed
But I believe that's what the promise is for

"I do" are the two most famous last words
The beginning of the end
But to lose your life for another I've heard
Is a good place to begin
[ Lyrics from: ]
'Cause the only way to find your life
Is to lay your own life down
And I believe it's an easy price
For the life that we have found

And we're dancing in the minefields
We're sailing in the storm
This is harder than we dreamed
But I believe that's what the promise is for

So when I lose my way, find me
When I loose love's chains, bind me
At the end of all my faith, till the end of all my days
When I forget my name, remind me

'Cause we bear the light of the Son of Man
So there's nothing left to fear
So I'll walk with you in the shadowlands
Till the shadows disappear

'Cause He promised not to leave us
And His promises are true
So in the face of all this chaos, baby,
I can dance with you

Please, listen to it, and get caught up in the sweet simplicity of it.  Cori and I love it because it not only talks about the sweetness of love, it also talks about the reality of being in a relationship in a messed up world with messed up people.  I adore Cori, but not every day of our marriage has been easy.  We've fought and cried and gotten frustrated.  As my pastor said at our wedding, "Not every day will be as happy as this one." 

Often, when I'm feeling like a complete and total mess, Cori will remind me that he's dancing in the minefields with me- even when I'm the one who put the mines there to begin with.  And the even more beautiful part is that we've got Jesus dancing with us too.  And He promised not to leave us, and His promises are true.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

...wherever you are.

I miss New Orleans.

Don't get me wrong; Tampa has been great so far.  We've got a cute little house in a great neighborhood, we're getting plugged into a fantastic church here, and we've even hung out with people a few times.  Not bad considering we got here 11 days ago.  I feel confident that Tampa is going to be a great move for us as a newly married couple, that Cori's job will be a great fit for him and that God is going to grow us in new ways in this different season. 

But New Orleans was my heart and soul for 5 pivotal years, and when we left, a piece of my heart stayed there.  I miss the friends who were family, I miss driving down St. Charles Avenue, I miss our favorite restaurants, I miss the familiarity and the settled life I had there.  It's been so weird to realize that school has started back up in New Orleans and that there's this rhythm that I lived and breathed for 3 years as a teacher, going on without me.  New Orleans is where I became an adult, where I learned to delight in who God made me to be, where I made some of the best friends ever, where I ate some of the most amazing meals in existence, where I ran a marathon and became a teacher.  It's where I met Cori, where I fell in love with him, where he asked me to marry him.

Things weren't perfect there, and the truth is, for as much joy as I experienced in New Orleans, there was heartbreak and pain as well.  But it was my home, and I love it, will always love it. 

This week, I've been reminding myself how I never could have predicted the beauty that God brought in my life these last 5 years, and I have to trust that He's got good plans for me in this new season as well.  When I miss New Orleans, I try to turn it into a prayer of thanksgiving, because how blessed am I that I have so much to miss?  My sorrow reflects the joy that I was given for 5 years, so I take my homesickness as a reminder of an amazing season of life.

There's a popular bumper sticker in New Orleans, particularly after Katrina, when so many New Orleanians were displaced across the nation.  It said, 'Be a New Orleanian, wherever you are.'  And so I will.  Just as I left a bit of myself behind in New Orleans, I'll take a bit of New Orleans with me... in my cooking (Cajun spices, shrimp creole, and jambalaya!), in my obsession with fleur de lis and the New Orleans Saints, in the phone calls and visits and pictures, in the way I'll always honor August 29th as the Katrina anniversary, in my fondness for Mardi Gras beads, and in my heart.  I'll always be a New Orleanian, no matter where I am.

Be a New Orleanian. Wherever you are.