to the mountains

Foamy clouds sat in patches across the trees, sinking into the just-yellow-tinted leaves that hint of fall.

We drove over the mountains we started to climb yesterday, away from a much-needed weekend that awakened so much of our souls – normally stifled by the screens and routines of our daily lives.

And the music of the mountains is still keeping me awake, sings Andrew Peterson in a song that pricks my heart with a sweet pain that I can’t quite name but will never go away.

There’s nothing like time in the mountains to heal.

The last three weeks have been a hazy mess, complicated by a sinus infection I let linger much too long and the departures of some of our dearest friends for new and faraway places.

It’s been three weeks that have reminded me of my infinite smallness … my complete and utter inability to be perfect, which is often my foolish goal.

We said good-bye to my husband’s brother and another childhood best friend, and my husband cried tears that I can’t dry.

There is so much of his heart that belongs to other people and places. I can’t own it all, and I don’t want to.

The longer we’re married, the more I start to understand what it means to be “a helper suitable for him.”

My younger and slightly more foolish self believed that a man and marriage was all I’d ever need. We’d have each other and we’d be set. And while fundamentally, there is nothing and no one I’d rather be than his wife, my purpose is to be his helper, and he mine.

That means being vulnerable. That means accepting that I am one piece – albeit the second most important one – of his beautiful heart. That means knowing that my husband was shaped and formed and sustained by the boys who became men together long before he ever looked into my blue eyes.

And it means helping him be a better man, a better friend, a better servant of the Lord. In turn, he has to do the same for me. And I have to let him.

I have to let him poke holes in the thin veil that hides vulnerable me. I have to let him fight for me (and win most of the time). I have to let him love me, when I don’t come close to loving myself.

I don’t make it easy. And he doesn’t always make it easy for me.

I feel like I need marriage to be my full-time job, because there is so much of him that I still long to learn, and then learn to love.  But 40-plus hours a week we spend apart, pursuing separate careers that we can speak about over dinner but not really share. And then there are dear friends who fill our evenings, and requisite sleep, and then we’re at the weekend having only spent a few truly meaningful hours together.

It seems so sad, when it’s all written out like that.

But there are weekends like this, when we steal away to the mountains. We were joined by his brother, who rounds out my husband in ways that I can’t, and we laughed and ate and drank and played in the mountains.

Right now, little trips like this to the mountains are still keeping me awake.

One day, will life be all-awake? Will we live life focusing completely on the things that matter most? I just don’t know. I have to believe that we will.


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