This is the view to the right of me while sitting at my desk.
My living space (and 50% of my house tour).
I thought about fluffing the pillows, straightening the objects on the coffee table, and moving the charger cord so that it looks closer to perfect. But it’s never actually perfect in here, so I left it as is with the addition of a nice filter that captures the natural sunlight coming in.
When I sat down to write and first looked around, it struck me that there is always this urge – if only for a second – to depict life, whether in words or photos, as neatly packaged.
Perhaps that is because we often wish life worked that way…presenting only positive events and opportunities to us, one after another. And if we can convince others, maybe we can convince ourselves.
But you know (without needing me to draw the conclusion) that life just doesn’t work that way.
So because of that fact, I like to keep it real here as I continue on sharing my life story.
Big Fisch had a short amount of time to transition out of everything at work, prepare for Harvard, read a gazillion books (because all Harvard students are well read of course), sell our cars, organize two big moving trips, figure out housing, and yada yada; the laundry list goes on. Forget breaking and vacationing before school, every second was filled.
His mind was laser focused on completing these tasks and pumping himself up to network and mingle and study like never before. He was excited, yet drained, and desperately in need of a continual supply of energy.
Energy which I felt completely unable to give.
You know those moments in life that you day dream about for what seems like forever? You talk about them and plan for them, yet when it happens, you suddenly don’t feel ready?
That was the grad school acceptance moment for me.
Getting an MBA from a top university had been a dream of Big Fisch’s ever since I first met him. His ambition and zest for life were a few of the characteristics I fell deeply in love with, and I think I wanted this accomplishment for him almost as much as he did. Seeing my Fisch happy is one of the greatest feelings.
I was so proud, I almost wanted to buy a bumper sticker.
(Except not. Because no one under the age of 35 should ever buy a bumper sticker).
Yet I also felt like a ton of bricks were falling down on me, crumbling walls of happiness, familiarity, and dreams that I had worked hard to build in my life up to that moment.
And perhaps the worst part for me, was the feeling that in my struggle and apprehension, I needed to mask it.
Who doesn’t want to experience life at Harvard? Who shies away from an incredible new experience? Who would be so selfish as to actually feel some self-pity while their partner was experiencing the most joy they’d felt in a long time?
Of course I was proud and on-board. But I was also angry.
I knew I’d love it once I arrived. I knew I’d meet incredible new friends. I knew I’d too gain a new network and many opportunities. I knew we were blessed. I didn’t need one more person to remind me of that. In the meantime I was stuck suffering many losses – small in the grand scheme as they might have been – they were losses nonetheless.
What about me? What about my dreams? What about the life I’ve built here?
The duplicity inside me was confusing and paralyzing, and most days I couldn’t seem to muster the genuine enthusiasm I knew Big Fisch wanted and needed.
We struggled. Neither one fully understood the other, and neither one fully felt supported.
Human nature – “sinful” as I believe it is – will always raise the inner question “what about me?”
“What do I really want? What’s in it for me? Wouldn’t it be easier if I did this life thing alone?”
I don’t know about you, but I don’t have to work very hard to think about myself. It kind of happens 24/7 on its own.
And I should think about myself… to an extent. I should have dreams and goals and I should have people in my life who support me in them.
But, I also stood at the altar 5 years ago and vowed to love someone else above myself.
I vowed to decide to care about their needs/dreams/desires, even when I didn’t feel like caring.
I vowed that their joy would be my joy. Their pain would be my pain.
And I vowed to continue to walk through life together even when the answer to the question “wouldn’t this be easier going it alone?” might be “yes”.
If Big Fisch and I want to aim for a life that’s easy, then there are many things we should start doing differently.
But as a unit, “easy” is not our goal. Fulfilling the call God has placed on our lives is. And we knew the next step was in Cambridge; sacrifices and all.
It may sound crazy to you as a reader, thinking “how could going to Harvard, with parties and adventures be a sacrifice?” Ahh, my friend. Ask any other partner and/or student about their story and you will learn of many sacrifices that have been made. But that is another post for another time ;).
We’re now in week 7 here in Cambridge, almost half way through the first semester. Time is flying and from the moment we moved in, things have been a whirlwind, with little time to reflect.
It’s true what I assumed several months back; I do love it. I have met great people and no, I wouldn’t trade it. But it’s still hard in many ways some days.
Big Fisch and I (in the midst of having a lot of fun together) are still adjusting and will continue to do so (let’s be real, does that really ever end?). This time around, however, I won’t mask it.
I’ll share it as I process it, and will hope to walk alongside others going through something similar along the way.
On the days when I hear that voice inside suggest “wouldn’t your way be a better way?” I cling to this truth which has been my saving grace for the past year:
“Now I, Nebuchadnezzar, praise and exalt and glorify the King of heaven, because everything He does is right and all His ways are just. And those who walk in pride He is able to humble.” Daniel 4:37
For Big Fisch and I, it’s about God’s way, not ours. And even on the days it doesn’t feel very right and just, we lock
hands fins, and cling to what we know to be true of the God we serve. And then we pray for a whole lot of patience to survive living in 470 sq feet together ;).
To be continued…