it has been more than a year since i wrote here, and everything has changed!
i got married last month, and wore my grandmother’s earrings for the wedding. they were heavy so the first thing i did after we extricated ourselves from the reception was to relieve my tender lobes of their pearly burdens. but i had no idea where my normal earrings were, so i enjoyed our honeymoon in a state of aural nakedness, and my ear-holes – which have always been precarious and flammable – closed up within a week.
that’s just an example of one thing that has changed.
other things include living in a new city, worshipping at a new church community, and oh, waking up every morning to a warm-blooded loud-breathing boy by my right side, a mere arm’s length away.
my bed has always been a sanctuary, a framing structure from which i depart and to which i return. blankets thick and heavy over me, sheets soft and supportive under me. i think of my bed when i read psalm 139: hemmed in behind and before. in college my bed was in the living-room, separated away from the dining area by a secondhand ikea bookshelf, which stood flush against the right side of the bed frame. the weight of words a center of gravity, a shield, a firm boundary between the communal space and my private space. so my room was hardly a room, but the bed – an island floating in a sea of carpet – was a safe zone.
i ate many meals and drank many cups of tea and did all my best reading and writing in bed. i cried in bed, hidden from view, muffled by pillows. many nights i was not able to sleep in my bed, and the psychologists will say that this was probably due to the fact that i did so many other non-sleeping things in bed, leading to a weak association between bed & sleep, leading to my insomnia. but i think my bed was a space reserved for a broader kind of rest – rest from being seen, rest from persistent social anxiety, rest from the endless putting on & off of various personas that we learned to do so well.
so now i have had to learn how to re-negotiate that space. marriage is undoubtedly the most intimate of all human relationships. i don’t have my bed to myself any more, nor do i have freedom of movement, nor autonomy over my sleep time & waking time. i have to leap precariously over my beloved in order to get a drink of water or to go to the bathroom – and there is a glorious, six-inch beauty of a bruise on my left shin to show for it. but i suppose in some ways now karl is himself my sanctuary, the place i can go to at the end of the day with my restless thoughts and relational hurts and philosophical wonderings, half-finished sentences & mishaps & worries about tomorrow. he is the one who frames my day, sending me off with a sleepy kiss & a smile and welcoming me home with the same five words, hi baby how are you? he is my home, and our marriage is a sanctuary that we are working hard to fortify with trust & extraordinary displays of grace that God gives but also with the ordinary passage of time, which God also gives.