Many more than seven days ago, I packed a box. I packed it with the champagne glasses Josh and I drank from on our wedding night. I remember looking at that box at the time, and wondering where we would be when we next opened it, what life would look like. At the time, I thought that I would probably open it a few months later. Six months at most.
It’s been almost two years now.
And in seven days, we will open that box. And we will open a bottle of wine and pour it into those glasses and enjoy the quiet space of a mostly empty apartment, much like we did that first night.
This season, these past two years, have been so bittersweet. There have been so many moments when I have wished it gone; when we’ve just been so anxious to have our privacy back, to have our own space. And yet, we have learned so much from the experience. We’ve experienced community to a degree that we never would have thought to ask for when we packed our things into boxes two years ago. There are things about living with other people that we will miss, as ready as we are to be on our own again.
It’s so hard some days to not take entire chunks of your life and look at them as having been wasted, simply because some aspects of the season are marked by challenge and refining fire. I’m learning that it’s often only in looking back that we let go of our stubbornness long enough to find the beauty in the hard times. The ways that all the struggle brought us to where we are.
There was this one night a few months ago, in the middle of July in Texas, when our air conditioner broke. That night, so full of potential for frustration and frayed nerves, is one of my favorite memories from the past two years. Sitting in the back yard with two of our best friends, because being outside was cooler than being inside. Guitars and djembes and singing and laughing and celebrating absolutely nothing but life itself.
There’s always beauty to be found in an imperfect situation. Today, in the listening, the idea resonates that maybe, one day, I will learn to recognize the beauty in the middle of the ashes, instead of only in the looking back.