Why do Evangelical Christians care about “showing christ” to the world?

"Friend"Asking for a friend…

 Why do Evangelical Christians care about “showing christ” to the world? And by world I (think) I mean non believers and maybe people of other  denominations/faiths?

I grew up Catholic. Raised an eyebrow at that whole transubstantiation  thing. Gave a suspicious side eye to other beliefs that seemed just as  magical. Followed that line of thought to, hey, you know, I’ve never agreed that gay people are bad or wrong or shouldn’t fall in love and get married. Which led me to other revelations like: maybe there isn’t a sometimes mad, sometimes kind all being, all-seeing white man chilling in the cosmos watching us like a Sims game on high free will.

In the last 3 years I’ve become horrified? intrigued? both? by the proselytizing christian scene. Especially since learning about my husband’s background as a southern Baptist and hearing stories about his evangelical writer, blogger, speaker ex wife who doesn’t exactly practice what she preaches. I really have no framework for the beliefs and ideas I keep coming across. When I try to read or understand more I feel like I’m watching a bunch toddlers let loose in an empty room. No harm meant with that metaphor, really, it’s just the best way to describe the feeling.

I searched "crowd of toddlers" and this is what I got. Still scary so I think it works.

I searched “crowd of toddlers” and this is what I got. Still scary so I think it works.

Because I keep thinking, what are you doing? Why are you doing that? And now you’re fighting! Why are you fighting? Oh my god, why are you climbing on me now? Why are you forming a circle around me? No, no, don’t grab my nostrils! Please stop trying to choke me with your well-meaning love! HELP HELP HELP-

Sorry. Got carried away.

So, yeah. That’s my question: Why do Evangelical Christians care about “showing christ” to the world? 

Whim Whams

Having a conversation about something that creeped me out.
Nancy: That gives me the whim whams.
Chris: Are the whim whams a real thing or is that another Nancy-ism?
Nancy: Yes, they are real! They’re just like the jilly jallies. Or the burr bum tickles. Or the Icky icky stickies.
Chris: I’ve never heard of any of those!
Nancy: Of course you haven’t. I just made them up.

I Have Got a Husband! Look at Me Go.

My style may be vintage, but my marriage sure ain't!

My style may be vintage, but my marriage sure ain’t!

Recently, I’ve read a few articles by the “other side”. And by other side, I mean the religious side. I know, that’s mean. I don’t really mean it. I’m actually fascinated by religion and belief. I’m equally, if not more fascinated by the sociology and societal norms of religious communities. I totally don’t agree with most of it! And I’m absolutely enthralled!

Somehow, I found my way to some articles about marriage penned by individuals who lean in the general direction of god. Man! I was so baffled. And again, enthralled! I just did not- fundamentally did not– understand the views/expectations of marriage represented in these articles. This of course, got me thinking about my own marriage.

No one was more surprised than me when I got married. More surprising was that I was the first of my friends at the tender age of 25. Now that! That was surprising. I always thought that IF I met someone I’d be AT LEAST 30 before I even considered any sort of legally binding commitment. Well, life is funny,  I met a wonderful man, and we were all “hey, you’re cute” and then, “no, you’re cute” followed with “hey, wanna get married?”. No, not really. Well. Kind of. That’s the really simple version. ANYWAY.

I never really thought wife would be a part of my identity before the age of 30. In fact, I never really expected wife to be a part of my identity at all.

And even now, married for a year and some months… it’s not.

Being married is a big thing, so I don’t mean to downplay the seriousness of the institution or the consideration that we both put into the decision to say, yes, I like you enough to love you at your worst, I understand I am going to be with you from now until wrinkles, I forsake all others because you are way cute. That’s a horrible summary of the importance of marriage, so just pretend I said something eloquent and moving and just know that is what I mean about the bigness and importance of choosing one person forever.

So, marriage. Awesome, great, important, wonderful. I am married and it is all those things. But as far as considering “wife” as a part of my identity? As a part of what makes me, me? Not so much.

I am a lot of things and a wife is one of them, but when I think about the things that make me who I am– teacher, sassy, vegetarian, funny, animal lover, educated– when it comes to my marriage I think— lover of indie music, exercise, puppies, books, family and friend oriented, and partner to Chris.

That’s what I land on: partner.

Dammit, we're cute

Honestly, it really bugs me when women weave “wife” into a descriptor of who they are. I know this is because I’m assuming they mean it in a way that is antiquated and doesn’t jive with the way I think marriages and relationships should work. I try not to pass judgement on to those women. After all, they are allowed their own relationships and views. Because, duh. That’s the beauty of a modern world. You can be with who you want and hold the values that sit right with you. Certainly, I don’t pass judgement, but that doesn’t mean that I agree. I actually vehemently disagree.

I’m not religious. Being a wife is not something I consider to be otherworldly and spiritual. I’m speaking generally here about a large group of people, which everyone is always told do not do UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCE, but, I’m going to anyway. If you are religious (please read: religious, not spiritual) and hold what we describe as “conservative” views, being a wife is a part of your religion. Your spouse? A gift from god. Your marriage? Used for god. Or does god use your marriage? I don’t know. It’s all very confusing and I don’t understand.

I don’t have that kind of pressure riding on my marriage. In fact, I still feel weird sometimes when I say, “my husband” because my brain thinks, NO! YOU HAVEN’T GOT ONE OF THOSE, YOU’RE LIKE 17 AND STILL TERRIBLE AT DRIVING A STICK. Brain slowly turns over aaaaaaand there we are: Oh, right. Yes, I have got a husband. Look at me go! So, for me, being a partner is more important than being “a wife” and that’s how I think of us in my brain. Our relationship would, honestly, be the same if we had decided not to get married. When we met and fell in love (ew, gross) I decided that he was it and I was in. I never needed a piece of paper to have a serious, functioning, and committed relationship.

I’m sure  there are women who probably think the same thing when an atheist, feminist sassbot spouts off about equality and being partners. I’ve been online enough to know that there are women who are in households who clearly embody all the things I dislike about the word wife (hello, religious articles that made me say to my computer screen, “WHAT are you doing, gals!?”). Their lives and views of marriage, honestly, scare me. I couldn’t function in the kinds of marriages that I read about. Heck, I couldn’t even function in the early stages of a relationship with anyone who didn’t understand and recognize that just because I happen to be a women means I have to or am expected to x, y, z. Excuse me? I HAVE to do what? I’m EXPECTED to do what? Ahem. Let me introduce you to these two ladies, Sucker and Punch. Those are my fists. Do you really want to tell me what I HAVE to do? A good relationship is an equal one. No fists needed. That’s the crux, for me.

Perhaps the most important part of considering marriage as an equal partnership (there’s always give and take though, don’t get me wrong) is that it allows space for each person to be an individual. We are two separate people who chose to be together. Two people who will keep making choices to be together. Sometimes, I think, when the state of being a wife becomes a gal’s identity, she can lose who she is as a person. How can you be a great pair when you don’t know who are are as the solo act?

For the women who see being a wife as part of what makes them who they are, I hope that this is truly (really, I mean it) what makes them happy.

For me, being Nancy–teacher, sassy, vegetarian, funny, animal lover, educated, lover of indie music, exercise, puppies, books, family and friend oriented, and partner to Chris– is what works and makes me happy.

Machine Gun Nancy Go!

It’s my first official day of summer.

 Summer!

For the last 6 or so summers I have had a part time job. I worked retail for 5 years and had a fabulous closet to show for it. Last summer, tired of spending most of my money on my wardrobe and dealing with people who treated me like an idiot instead of the fashion fabulous educated gal that I am, I took a job coaching a summer swim team.

Now THAT was a terrible idea. It was horribly stressful, too much work for the pay, and you know what? As much as I love kids (hello, teacher!), I really needed a break from them. We’re getting ready to buy a house this fall and I tossed around the idea of working that retail job again to get us an extra grand or two, but the husband said give yourself a break, you crazy, lady. (Actually, he said much nicer things, but I think the crazy part can be inferred.)

So, I’m giving myself a break but I have a whole list of things that I want to accomplish over these next two months.

  • Packing the nonessentials for the Big House Buy 2014
  • Walking the dog every morning and evening
  • Working out a money-saving, waist reducing meal plan
  • Cleaning/maintaining the house
  • Doing a few DIY projects… maybe
  • Reading, reading, reading (and going to the public library for the first time in 2 years to fuel my book habit)
  • Working out at least 6 times a week

I got up this morning at my normal time, made coffee, tooled around the internet, took the dog for an hour long walk, had more coffee, made a healthy breakfast, started laundry, and it’s not even 9:30 yet. I’m feeling pretty good so far and more like myself than I have in awhile. I kind of forgot what it was like to take a breath and not really have anything going on. I really want to take time this summer to be productive and unstressed.

A huge part of that will be eating right and exercising. I love working out. I love it because it makes me feel

After Machine Gun Nancy Go! Mode -- in which I work out like a crazy lady for 90 minutes 5-6 days a week.

Prone on the floor after Machine Gun Nancy Go! Mode — in which I work out like a crazy lady for 90 minutes 5-6 days a week.

strong, good about myself, and because I work out like I’ll never see gym equipment again, it lets me eat what I want. The problem with that mentality is when I am tired and stressed from a bitch ass year and I don’t want to work out AND I want to eat all of the cupcakes to bury my feelings in deep inside sugar and sprinkles. When I’m in my Machine Gun Nancy Go! Mode– or you know, my really intense work out mode– or, you know, how I imagine myself as I’m working out, which is a heroine of a Japanese Manga in which I definitely have a  machine gun/sword and an attitude and will definitely save the world from the evil ninjas/ robots/demons/ whatever–  I work out like clockwork and I can eat whatever the hell I want. But when I’m in this mode, I don’t want all of the cupcakes because I feel good, want to work out, want to maintain, and thus: healthy. Stressed out Nancy eats all the cupcakes, thinks, “well, I work out hard… most daysish… I can have cupcakes for breakfast” and then feels like a mass of sad flesh later. I don’t like feeling like that and I refuse to 1) let myself feel that way again 2) sit around when I can get back into my routine.

We’re in a wedding at the end of the month and there is a dress that I need to comfortably fit in all day long. I will not be sad, sorry, sack of flesh bridesmatron. I will also not focus on my health just to look good for that day. My goal is to maintain my skinny shorts circumference through the summer and fall, and winter, and right back into shorts season.

So, my real goal this summer is to find constants and reboot myself. Life is good and I am lucky to have the one that I do.  I’m grateful that I have a job that allows me time to take a breath every year and a spouse who tells me that if I want to, I should just go and workout and read a book already. I’m hoping that by writing all this down, I’m solidifying what I do and do not want my summer to be. I won’t always have the luxury of two months of free time and since I need it so badly right now, I want to make sure I don’t waste it.

Happy June 2nd, I’m gong to go jump on the elliptical.

 

 

Laugh When Your Celling Rains, Your New House Smells Like Cat Urine, and During Other Bad and/or Stressful Situations

It’s been a stressful few months. Today and tomorrow are snow days and it’s been nice to just sit and put off work. Yes, I could be hanging pictures or organizing paperwork, or (shudder) going through the giant stack of mail that has accumulated in the last 3 weeks, but I’m not going to so there.

Phew. I can’t believe it’s February. I feel like I’ve been in a fog since October. First there was Chris’s long and arduous job interview process. There were so many emotional ups and downs that I thought therapy was going to be needed. For me, that is. But, he got the job and is doing awesome work for a school district and is finally, finally, enjoying his employment with a big boy salary too boot.

Because we’re smart people at this time, we decided to start looking for a dog to adopt and when we found a corgi mix named Benny who looked like this: ImageI know, right? We said yes, thank you, we’ll take him please to the adoption program volunteers and two days before Chris started his new job we hopped in the car and drove two hours to get him. I can now say with certainty the following two things :

1. I will never adopt a dog that is 6 months old ever again. I didn’t kill him because his cuteness is overwhelming.

2. I really love my dog now.

Adopting a puppy two days before my husband started his brand new job was really stupid. That said, sleepless nights, stressful puppy behaviors, completely altering our schedules and plans, stressing myself out about being a good dog parent- are quickly fading. I still freak out about being a good dog parent. See “The Scarf Incident”. Dog chews up clothes, I think he eats a whole shirt, crying emergency speeding to the vet. Turns out he just ate pieces of my favorite scarf, threw them up in the middle of the night and is fine. There was still a lot of panicking on my part. This was last week. Aaaaaanyway.

So Chris got a new job and we got a puppy we were not quite equipped to handle. And about two weeks into Benny owning there was “The Time it Rained from the Ceiling”. That, dear reader, is when the tenant three floors above you decides to vacuum their utility closet and break their water heater thus, flooding you.I was sick, tired, stressed about my dog, and suddenly there was water pouring into our cluttered one bedroom apartment. I don’t think I’ve ever sobbed that hard in my life. Chris came home to me, I believe, sitting on a dry patch on the floor weeping into my dog’s neck.

This moment became the moment of “I can’t loud, tiny apartment any more especially not if it will be raining”. So we decided to break our lease and move. And move we did the first week of January. That debacle will have to wait for later story-telling. Let’s just say it was also the most effed up move/event thus far. Good news: my house no longer smells like cat urine and I actually like where I live.

But yes, it’s been a busy few months. Work for me has been stressful. Home has been stressful. And through all this my husband has been steady, wonderful Chris. I can’t say the same for me. I haven’t been the best spouse. I haven’t lost my sense of humor, so I still have a ways to fall, I think, but it hasn’t been my best 4 months.The other day I realized we haven’t even been married a year yet. Shock. Not because we’re unhappy, but just because circumstances have been ridiculous and it feels like I’ve lived 3 years fast forward.

There was a time, about a year before I met my husband, that all the stressful life stuff I detailed above would have sent me over the edge. I sat once in a psychologists office, weepy and depressed and so upset by my absolute lack of control in my circumstances that I just wanted to quit school and sleep in my room forever. I think I felt ebbs and flows of this the last few months, but when you have someone to ground you, to make you laugh, and to let you cry hysterically about the water pouring into your apartment– it helps. A lot. Knowing you have someone in your corner, that if all your stuff is wet and damaged and the house you are going to rent is a hazmat situation and you may just have to sleep on the curb but god damn you sure aren’t going to be sopping wet or curb sleeping on your own- well, that makes you, or me, see it all for what it is. Stupid. Circumstantial. Stress.

Not exactly what you want for your first year of marriage, but then again, that isn’t really our first year of marriage. It’s just stuff that happened. Nobody died. Nobody was hurt. It’s all ok. Took me a awhile to loosen the bone and back away from the metaphorical cliff, but I realize now, it’s ok.

If someone were to ask me my advice on marriage, (Ha! No one ever has. So, I’m just going to tell you because I can.) I would say be sure to find someone who will make you laugh, laugh, laugh no matter what. That, I think, can get you through anything.

Oh, and it helps if he/she is a looker, too. But that’s just me being shallow.

Image

Dammit. We’re cute.

Hope and The Closet Sap

Image

This way, sappy pants.

I’ve been thinking a lot about the future lately.

At the school where I teach, one of our new  year themes is hope. Gallup defines hope as “seeing the future as better than the present”. Hopeful people, Gallup says, believe they have the power to make their future so. Gallup also has lots of handy studies on how hopeful students fair better in school and life than their non-hopeful counterparts. Admittedly, I haven’t read all of the studies or the book about the research, but I can’t really find much to scoff about here.

After all, what’s wrong with a little hope?

I can remember, as early as middle school, telling myself that what’s next would be better. I don’t know how I figured it out or why, but I just knew that once I jumped through all the hoops of school and the sorrows of adolescent longing and drama that life would become infinitley better.

And I was right. There were some ups and downs along the way, but all in all, every year has been better than the last. I don’t see why that should ever have to stop. I’m not afraid of moving forward. The thing that always filled me with the greatest anxiety was remembering the past too vividly. Nostalgia has it’s place, but I always hated that feeling of stuck. Stuck in what was, stuck in memories (The not so pleasant ones anyway. After all, do we ever relaly get stuck, unable to budge from the great ones? No. Those have a curious lightness to them. Easy to recall and easy to file away for another time.)

I’m still looking forward to the future. It’s the little things, the big things, and the everyday things all pressed together and indistinct before me that I can’t wait for. It’s the future things like: where we’ll live next year, and when we can afford a house. What color will I paint the walls? Will I agonize over them, or will I know for sure, without a doubt that this color will do much better than this one? Our first dog will be a corgi. I’m sure summer time dog training will be hot and muggy and drooly and I’ll love every minute of it. In less than two year the rest of my loans will be paid off and we’ll be debt free.  I imagine, weekly, the last time I have to press the ‘pay now’ button. There will be traveling and cooking and probably more school at some point (but that doesn’t really fill me with hope yet, I’ll be honest). There’s the flowers that I know Chris will buy me for no reason, date nights, and throwing grill out parties for our friends on our someday huge patio in our someday manicured backyard (now there’s a hope). There’s the potential for Chris’s new and better job (and universe, if you are listening, I know you will make this so) and all the wonderful yet-to-happen times with family and friends. There are the students who will come back and visit and I will be, I know, so happy to see them happy and healthy, and thriving. There is holding my husband’s hand until there are wrinkles along our knuckles and faces because we have too, too much fun together.

The day to day can be tiring and draining, but there is always the next day to look forward to, the next year, the next decade. I may be a closet sap. I may not like to talk to much out loud about the things inside my head and heart, but the future has always made me tick, and I think, I know, it’ll be better than today.

And really, today wasn’t bad at all so that most certainly tells you something.

I Only Roast Chickpeas In This Oven

ImageI don’t know what to write about this evening. I told myself that I would write a thing a day for the next 7 days but I feel neither creative nor humorous. So I’m going to write about assumptions in this post that I have just titled Assumptions: Or, How I am Definitely, Really Not Pregnant Or I Only Roast Chickpeas In This Oven and That Oven Is In The Kitchen So Stop Alluding Already.

We got married last month in the courthouse, no muss, no fuss. It was awesome and exactly what we wanted. We told everyone we were going to do it and 26 days later we did. I guess this is still incredibly incriminating evidence of pregnancy in this day and age. Honestly, I didn’t even think about how the quick turn around might set tongue’s wagging, because, well, we just got married our way.

But damn if people didn’t start asking all sorts of questions about whether or not the reproductive plumbing was cooking a small version of us. And I mean, everyone. Teacher friends at school, pretty sure some people in the extended family, the grocery bagger at the store.

Yeah. The bagger. At the checkout. At the grocery store.

“So you guys going to have some kids now?” he asked as he expertly packed the rice and cereal.

Good gravy, man, I just got married! And what stake do you have in this anyway!? I wanted to yell, but instead said, I teach. I have 32 kids an hour. That’s plenty. Alsoareyoudonebaggingthosepotatoesbecausethisisreallyawkward.

The best, and kindest way I’ve heard this whole third degree baby thing put is this: people are excited for us, and they want to welcome us to the club: the married and usually jonesing for children club.

I just don’t know quite how to handle that exclusive offer sometimes.

Like today, when someone asked how my weekend was and it suddenly turned into IS THERE A BABY INSIDE YOU. It went like this:

How was your weekend? she asked. Simple. Not a trap. There is no way this can somehow turn to my uterus.

I said, pretty good considering I was sick with a head and chest infection.

And then, “You’re not pregnant are you!?

Oh crap! 9 out of 10 chest infections turn into babies! No, nope, that’s not right. Ok, I’m good. We’re good! No worries! Still baby free!

I’m not sure if I’ll ever quite be at peace with the unsolicited advice, interest, and questions about possible buns in ovens.

Chris assures me that people will stop asking either when we’re forty… or dead.

Big Dreams Are What You Make

Hello, self? Are you out there?

I’m going to try to write one meaningful thing on here a day for the next 7 days. So here’s the first one: I used to have a big dream, or what I thought was a big dream, and it went something like this:

Move away from Kansas, Graduate, Move Overseas, Find THE adventure and thus, find my true self.

I wanted to move to Japan. Or someplace equally foreign and exotic and not in the continental United States. I didn’t know what was out there, but I was sure there was something large and important waiting for me. I thought that I had to leave to find whatever that thing was. I thought that adventure would somehow define and shape me, into The Best Version of Nancy.

That was my plan for years and years and years. It’s funny though, how that scheme always seemed so hazy and intangible despite how it cycled through my brain from the ages of 10 to 22. When I would try to think ahead and drop myself on a busy street corner in Tokyo, or along a riverbank in Europe, it felt like I was watching someone else’s movie. To me, that hazy feeling equated doubt. It meant that I doubted myself, I doubted that I could make it happen, I doubted that I could last alone out there in the big world. I’d tell myself, nope! You are small, but you are mighty! It’s just a plane ride! And an entire upheaval of your life structure as you know it, some far away part of me would chime in all sing-songy and innocently.

Shut up, you! I would think at myself and quickly stop thinking about large adventures and plane rides and knowing no one anywhere because that was actually kind of scary, yes, and now that I think about it, it is a giant upheaval of my life and–

So, I graduated college and went right back into graduate school, partially because I had to and partially because I wasn’t ready to pack my bags and say goodbye to everything that I knew. The plan then became, finish school, try for a job, work a few years, and then leave for THE big adventure to find The Best Version of Nancy.

In hindsight, I think it was less of a great wide adventure plan than it was a parachute plan, a this-is-what-I’ll-do-when-I-give-up-plan. If real life rejected me, if I couldn’t find that job, maintain the sturdy structure that years and years of school had instilled in me, then I’d bolt across the ocean and try a new and different life.

I know that there are experiences out there that you can’t get from wherever you call home. There’s too much to see and do and experience out there to think otherwise. I know that there are people and uncomfortable situations in corners of the world that will push you into becoming a new version of yourself. I know that there are whole groups of people who insist when you are young you have to go out and either A) make mistakes or B) Travel some part of the world and possibly combine A and B together. But you see, I don’t think that living that large is for everyone. Experiences that make you grow are for everyone, absolutely, but that  huge adventure that I had planned for all those many years? That is for very few.

I think sometimes people trick themselves into thinking that they are inconsequential if they aren’t doing something just a little bit bigger– I’m not living up to my full potential if I never try to write that book. I’m not making meaning out of my life unless I experience all the art in Europe. I’m going to live a small and unsatisfying life if I don’t make it out of the country before I turn 30. I won’t be free unless I try something new, lower my inhibitions, sail around the world, jump out of an airplane, ride an elephant, throw a spear, play hopscotch with the Dali Lama, stick a flag in a mountain— And so on. I think all those things are great, but I don’t think you have to do them in order to find out who you are, and that’s what I’m really getting at here.

Because what I found out about that hazy feeling when I thought about climbing mountains or living in Tokyo, that creeping thing that I thought was doubt in myself, wasn’t that at all. It was the know-it-all part of me that knew me the best, sitting back and slowly, knowingly shaking her head. What I wanted wasn’t as big as all that. I found out that all I wanted was a place to call my own, the opportunity to teach and live comfortably, a dog, and maybe someone to share those things with. That might seem very small and insignificant to some people, but once I figured out that those were the only things that mattered, life became a whole lot easier and somehow started to fall into place.

I got hired at a school, I paid off a bunch of my loans, I met a converse wearing musician and  we liked and loved each other a whole mess of a lot and got married. And someday soonish, we’ll have a dog, and then a house, and then we’ll be able to travel the world a little bit here and there. Over summer vacations we can stop on the corner in busy Tokyo or stroll down the cobblestone streets in Europe and then come back home, and put our feet up, and pet our dog and go to work and do it all again a little ways down the road. Someday we’ll be  have an adventure or two and then come home, unpack, and reminisce through pictures on a wall.

Do I still want the big adventure, then? Yes and no. We don’t have to exist in an extended meaningful adventure for our lives to have meaning. And we don’t necessarily have to go out and find ourselves in the great wide abyss of the world. Sometimes, we’re already right here, the Best Versions of Ourselves.

I think Big Dreams are what you make of them, and you don’t always need a jet plane to get there.

I’m Glad I Hitched My Apple Wagon to Your Star

Married, married, married!Last weekend, Chris and I got married. It was lovely. We went to the courthouse. He wore a vest and a new pair of chucks. I wore polka dots and a vintage veil. Our close and local friends and family met us outside the courtroom. It rained, and we finally had to buy an umbrella. Our judge was wonderful, he kept making us laugh, and as our friends and family trickled in, I could feel that high sting in my nose, you know the one, the tell tale sign of happy tears.

The judge jested: would he have to stop the ceremony for tears? Chris said, will he? To me, of course, the one who sobs all the way through Pixar movies and youtube videos about dogs. No! I said, petulant, but then I wasn’t expecting more than signing on a line and an official declaration of “You’re married! Now get out of my courtroom!”.

But instead, “remember, love in its purest form is not a feeling, but a self-less giving for the good of the other…it may not always be easy. Most of us will surely face times of testing and trial…if you remember these vows which you make here today and how you felt toward each other as you made them… if you nourish the love you now have for each other, your marriage will endure all time and you and your home will have the peace and joy that will sustain you through all seasons of life.”

And, yes, I may have wept, not a little, but a lot, because the words were genuine and what I know we both felt. I also may have said “dammit”, whispered to Chris (twice), as I dissolved into tears. He just grinned and held my hands tighter, because he already knew I was going to be a big sappy mess. And then suddenly there were rings and kissing  and we were married and happy, happy, happy.

Nothing has changed because of a piece of paper and silver around fingers. We made commitments long ago. But we are happy, and lucky, to have found one another and to be able to celebrate thus far and all the future years with our friends and family. This happiness is a kind that words don’t quite do justice. So there you have it. Everything and nothing is different, and we are happy, married, and oh, so lucky.