Today Danny and I celebrate 6 years married and 2 years of blogging. I very purposely launched our first blog on our wedding anniversary, since this is the story of us.
Several times over I have already shared how I fell in love with the blogging process and why I decided to join the ranks. It was so powerful for me to see the beauty of such simple moments shared with such love and gratitude for the gift of life and those who live it with us. Reading these blogs brought me a special gift: being present. I too wanted to capture our everyday shenanigans, our personal milestones, and celebrate our conquered mountains. There are parts of everyone’s life that is nothing short of a miracle – falling in love, building a career, having a family… but there are also little moments of lessons and growing that can so easily be forgotten, missed, or overlooked that when you do slow down to capture them …. you become even more grateful and in awe of the life God has provided. I am honored to be able to be the author of our stories, the curator of our memories, and to celebrate today our 2 year anniversary of blogging!
And what about the real anniversary today… 6 years as Mr. & Mrs. Bessette?? Wow…. Anytime there is an annual event I find myself reflecting back to where this last year has taken me, what the years before have brought…. I sometimes think about the me from other seasons of life: would that girl hanging out with a guy she sorta knew from high school one summer be surprised we made it a lifetime thing? Would the us that felt how tiny the walls would become during budget meetings that first year of marriage be surprised that we are working to build our own businesses together? Last year we were so excited to be hitting that 5 year mark, finally back out on our own, would we be as surprised at how the following year would go? It is an odd thing to discover what life has had in store for you – and to guess if the surprise factor had just as big of an impact as the whole living it part. This year I would never have guessed what we would have seen, felt, and survived…. but we did and I can say have come out stronger.
When I reflect on this year, I have found two consistent themes: grace and partnership. Prior years signify their own themes: growth, change, lessons. Through all of those we have come to better understand the person we have chosen, we have become more grateful, we have learned to better communicate, and we have discovered what happens when you aren’t doing any of those things. There is a lot of trail and error, apologies and forgiveness, and in the end the comprehension that this is love…. because that is the only thing that could make this journey last. At that five year mark I felt we had really come to understand and appreciate the life we had selected and started to figure out that success is not defined by perfection, sticking to a plan, or constant happiness. Rather, it is the decision to make that person your top priority over and over again, especially in the moments you forget to and need to start over. I laugh a little now at the crushing blows my spirit took during our early disagreements. Now I have come to accept these moments as part of the marriage deal – so take a breath and then keep going. Going into that 5th year I felt strong, I felt proud, and I felt most importantly prepared… I had really come to grasp that the unexpected could be very likely and that we had the tools to weather any storm.
I was initially starting this paragraph with – then year 6 happened. But here is the truth. It was a year of hard things and growth that I would never have imagined in ALL areas of our life. I can think of things with each other, with health, with career, with finances, with family that were so influential on how this year played out and so unpredictable. These happenings prove that it makes no sense to say “and then this year happened” like it was that crazy. All years are going to have an element of crazy. Sure, seasons of life bring different things… and some present a more challenging time than others…. but to act like all we had to do was survive this year for the promise of only happier times in the future is unrealistic. What I can say about year 6 is what we went through did not even seem like a possibility. Such an easy example our Thanksgiving or Christmas. Those are just things I did not even see coming – where as finances always seem to have an element of surprise. But these completely surprising turn of events came with just as equally of an unexpected feeling of partnership and the gift of grace.
We have been each others teammates for 10 years as of last June. The preferred hang out buddy, the one to call for advice, the problem solvers, the ones to make each other laugh and we had found a good rhythm for our relationship. We knew how to fight, how to make-up, and when to ask for help. But in the 11th year – this past one – we faced challenges that talking about it just didn’t always work. The extreme emotions we both were having over various things resulted in such pain that silence and struggle were very common characters in our life. Things were happening around us that we were just hurting…. and the hurt was not going to be resolved with the tools we had perfected. And yet somehow this new silent, strong, partnership emerged. We had worked so many years on being open, communicating our needs…. and in these seasons of life only tears, grimaces, and exhaustion were speaking…. and somehow the other person listened. In those moments it was hard to see…. but coming out of them with someone silently cheering you on just by being there, left us with a new silent strength I never knew I needed – but suddenly survived on.
And sometimes it was not left to just the silent strength and being a partner… sometimes it was giving the other person grace. It was through grace we forgave harsh words, it was with grace we offered second chances, and the most powerful – it was because of grace that we wouldn’t let each other lose sight of who it is we truly are …. even if our emotions weren’t going to be so wise. I wish I had the words to explain this silent and beautiful gift… I guess it is like what I told my Ganmommy – to have someone love you and remember your best qualities when you are at your worst and you can’t even remember them, that is true love. One specific Sunday comes to mind. I was in a dark place and fighting off anxiety and emotions…. I was in my bed not wanting to face the world and certainly in no mood to join my church community – Danny opened the blinds, calmly, with a gentle voice yet firm words said – you can be mad, you can just sit there, you can wear the sweats you have on… but we are going to church. It is who we are… it is who you are… and I know when you feel better you will be upset you missed this sunday. That moment…. those words… finding that when I have to check-out, my husband will respect it, but not let me lose who I am and what matters to me is one of the most incredible moments of my life, of our marriage (even if in the moment I sat in the church pew mad, disheveled and disinterested… he brought me to where I could be healed). Grace and partnership…. year 6 brought some powerful gifts to our life and I am so grateful.
It would also be remiss to not acknowledge that we are able to celebrate this day thanks to our tribe. Through faithful friends and family who have been our sounding boards, helped me uncluttered my heart so I could focus on the blessing of my marriage, who have helped us to keep going through our tough seasons of life… we also think of you all today! We are blessed with incredible examples of marriage, with folks who also see us at our most challenging and remind us of the love we share and the power it posses, and of support that can ease the burdens of our concerns so we can focus on fighting about where to order dinner from instead of how to pay a medical bill. We are blessed and standing here today because of all of you… thank you.
Finally to my dear husband…. this year Danny, more than any other year you have offered me refuge. Through grace for when I lose my way… thanks to a partnership that has committed to go the journey – you have reminded me that in scary moments, after difficult days, through seasons of life that bring challenges….you will provide the safe place I need to go. Not sure how I got so blessed, but thank you. I love you and cheers to 6 years!