Lately I’ve been seeing photos of newly wed friends, some as young as a few days old and others about a year or two. Seeing their adventures reminded me of my days with Joseph, up in the ski slopes of Utah, freezing around the tail-end winter time of South Africa, singing by the beautiful and quiet lagoons of El Nido and so much more. Wow, those days were fun. 🙂
Moving fast back then was never a problem. We can experience three different time zones in a day and be sure that not a minute was wasted in any of them. Then of course Philip came along and that taught me a valuable lesson: prepare three hours before you leave the house if you want to arrive on time at your appointments, and add an extra hour if you want come with unwrinkled shirts and wonderfully curled hair.
Still, our adventures didn’t stop. They slowed down a bit by having our first child around, but because Philip is a calm boy that we got take him everywhere with us without encountering major problems.
Then the second pregnancy happened and early as January of this year I knew God was about to tell me a lot of things. As in — A LOT. of things.
Shortly after the joy of our second pregnancy came mourning. I miscarried and though I’ve been public about my grief, I never told all about my physical condition.
I still don’t want to as I don’t think I really need to, but let me just fast forward to the part when I had to do D&C (dilatation and cutterage) which happened the other day.
It was a simple medical operation so I didn’t think I’d have to part ways with my phone and husband for a few hours before, during and after the procedure. But apparently, husbands are only allowed at births, so I had to bid him goodbye before I entered the recovery room. (Called recovery but this is where they prepare you as well.)
Now those hours of not being with my husband seemed long. It was a struggle not to think of things like, “What if something goes wrong and I never wake up from my sleep?” I tried hard not to cry because everyone else was quiet in the room. (And lest they think a cow was being prepped for an operation.)
After praying in the Spirit my mind began to think about the traditional wedding vows: “to have and to hold, from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and health, until death do us part.”
For the longest time I would hear these words float at those holy ceremonies, and I even professed them myself on our wedding day, but not until last Tuesday morning did I understand a part of what it means.
Truly, I haven’t been well for more than two weeks now and I just realized that Joseph and I have been faithfully fulfilling our vow to have and to hold each other “in sickness and health.” We’ve had our share of our financial dips in the past and through that, we also held on to one another “for richer or for poorer.” Of course “for better or for worse” was easy to spot — it was established soon as someone farted under our shared blanket. 🙂
But then the “until death do us part” — I had to stop and think of how profound a promise that was, that it shall take the forceful blow of death for the two of us to stop having and holding each other. Because at that time it felt like with every ounce of energy I had and every life that is still within me, all I really wanted to do was to spend it by simply having and holding Joseph. And that really, death would only be the one to force me to say goodbye.
I loved my personal vows on our wedding day and I loved his. But in the rawest moments of my life I realized traditional vows have been there forever for a reason. Because when it boiled down to a matter of life and death, I didn’t think about how I learned to cook eggs for my husband, how I am a firm believer of his leadership, or how he has pursued me everyday of my life, no, the only thing I thought about was having and holding Joseph for as long as I am actually allowed to live.
And the truth is I am still alive today. I woke up from the procedure well and happy. And for some reason I also have a renewed grace for dips of poverty, unfortunate events and even sickness for as long as my husband is there to have and to hold.
*take a deep breath*
The next life has its own promises, but in this one I am blessed to embrace the gift of my husband. The one who makes it better even when our situations are worse, the one who makes me rich even when our pockets are poor, and the one who brings wellness while my flesh and bones are weak.
Honestly, I don’t really like going through trying times, but for some reason, they are the ones that show me what our marriage is really made of and made for.