Saturday, September 13

What We Signed Up For

It was tougher than I imagined it would be, you know.

My handsome Presbyterian man took his boys up to the Communion cup (juice, not wine *sigh*), and I watched, pew-bound. I am Orthodox Christian. We will share our lives in every way imaginable, but we will not commune together.

It's what we signed up for.

I was always the lone wolf, I never had to think of anyone but myself. In four months, I will marry, and that will all change. It is already changing. I've known myself very well, I know "who I am." I think that knowing who we are has allowed my Handsome and I to awake easily inside the smile that we fit together, that we are good.

I will be learning to live in a wolf den, not alone. It will be full of the soft coziness of other fur and the warmth of other breath. But there will be a sharp tooth once in awhile, an accidental claw scrape on the skin. I don't know who I am with others, with these SPECIFIC others, because families are unique as fingerprints.

It's what I'm signing up for.

And I think that "signing up for" seems simple. You do your frightened best to hold your heart out like a flower toward the other, to be honest about who you really are. If you're lucky, if you're lucky... they will take it with joy. They will ask to hold your heart forever.

But the years go long, and even through honest, brave means, sometimes even a clear-eyed "what I signed up for" can seem too heavy to be borne. I've seen it in other wolf packs. I've seen it in some of my favorites.

I've even started to see it in me. During Communion. During moments where my baggage springs out of its clasp, and everyone has to deal with the dirty old laundry. It seems that laundry THAT old should have vaporized by now, become inapplicable to every current situation. But no.

I don't know how to do this. I don't even know how to write, so elemental to me, because the writing no longer involves just me.

And I'm not sure that knowing how to do this is an appropriate prerequisite, anyway. I certainly muddled my way through single life; maybe it is the same in a wolf pack, muddling the way through. I think the prerequisites here are bravery, honesty, grace, and purposeful, tenacious love. The kind of love that figures its way through the muddling. The kind of love that really only God's grace can give us on loan to give to others.

So friends, be strong in what you signed up for, if you can. I will meet you on the plain of common experience, I and my wolf pack, you and yours. Under the harvest moon, we will run and romp, cavort and wrestle, nip and play.

We will howl the howl of lonely togetherness.

It's what we signed up for. 


  1. Powerful post. We haven't met yet in person, but I have to say I am SO glad that Jim found you. God has a plan, Nyleen. Hang on to that in the journey ahead. We can't always see around the curve or through the trees in the forest. Sometimes we have to climb ladders to get over walls. But always remember this: you are loved, and you are a treasure. Blessings on your journey with your new "pack." (Love the analogy by the way!)

    1. Thanks, Shauna! I feel like I am just taking the next adventure that God has brought into my life... So very blessed and grateful to walk through this world with Jim.


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