Thursday, February 6, 2014

The grace of the ordinary

It is a mopey snow day and since it is approximately my fourth in a row, I have been withering away all day in our small apartment, failing to work up the energy to clean the house or drive to a coffee shop to write or read. I slept till eleven and I have been eating chocolate chip cookies and playing online all day.

My husband knows this, because when he comes home I am only just rising to start making spaghetti.

So later on, after another dinner-by-Netflix and a quick phone call from my friend, as we relax into our evening reading, he is surprised when I tell him.

“I am happy,” I say.

“Are you sure?” he asks after a moment. He knows it is a big thing for me to say, after the last sixteen months. He is still skeptical that I am happy with him, ever since I aired my disappointments to the whole internet.

“Yes,” I insist.

Four months ago when I wrote about our first year of marriage, when I began to air it out, I held it out in front of me and I saw that it was actually quite ordinary. I saw that we had passed through some tears and challenges and landed on our feet. People responded to the piece, and I saw that I was not alone—that it is never an easy task, making two lives one.

“Yes, I’m sure,” I tell him.

I have been giggling, for one thing. I am laughing again at the kind of jokes and stories that I once thought were funny, and then didn’t think were funny for a tearful, too-serious year. Also, I don’t lie awake thinking can-i-really-do-this-for-the-rest-of-my-life. Also, when he asks me what is wrong I talk, instead of stifling a scream and bottling the emotions I can’t even begin to understand.

“I know we still fight sometimes, but it all feels lighter.”

He is looking at me, listening, and his eyes are the same deep brown eyes that have received so much of my story, my love, my honesty, my anger, my joy.

“And I have come to love the small things about our life together.”

“You mean like watching Netflix and cooking dinner and drinking wine?”

“Smaller,” I say.

The day to day things, the moment to moment things. Kisses on the cheek. Whispers for no reason. The tone we use when we talk. Coming home together after a night out. Car trips with my feet on the dash as we discuss everything from vocal resonance to twitter culture to spiritual growth. Resting my arms on his feet as we sit at opposite ends of the couch, reading. Looking over at him and thinking, here we are.

It is almost like falling in love again. It is different than the first time, of course—not wild and limitless in a dewy meadow with stars above, not feeling like I am going to jump out of my skin with joy and possibility. More like going for a walk in the winter and then sitting by a fire, sleepy, late at night. Strong, peaceful, and warm. Safe.

I know in reality, this life we have is anything but safe. I know we are still very young, still on the very early stages of this journey. There is danger ahead: the danger of being angry or broke or sleep-deprived or isolated. The danger of wanting different things. The danger of pain or sickness or loss.

But we are building a strong foundation. I can feel it. Much of this foundation came before we got here, from the love of our family and friends, from the beauty of our meeting when we did, from the unending patience of God. And here we are, building on it day by day with tiny blocks of spaghetti and hi and what-can-i-do-for you, and I am grateful for perseverance and guidance and the grace of the ordinary—all the things that have brought us this far.

Today I am linking up with Kirsten Oliphant's "Not So (Small) Stories" to connect with other writers and work on craft. Click below to see more about the series or join in!



  1. Katie, I'm so so glad you found me, and vice versa that I found you from you finding me. That's a lot of finding. :) I love this piece so much and feel like you both bring us right into your private world, but also speak to something much larger that people can relate to. I love it! So glad that you joined up and hope you come back for more. I've also made a little facebook group, and if you want to join, I'm hoping it will be a place where people can have more feedback and community. Totally optional. :)

  2. Beautiful words, Katie! Thank you for sharing your journey and your story. Yes, do join our little group of writers (the one Kirsten mentioned)-we'd love to get to know you better!

  3. Loved this story, Katie...especially the reminder to love the ordinary stuff and to let it be enough.

  4. Beautiful post! Falling in love again - falling into the deeper love that only comes with being married for a while - is amazing. People need stories like yours. They need to hear that sticking it out is worth is, that marriage is worth fighting for. Great job, and glad you're linking up!

  5. As a newly wed this post is inspiring. Thanks!

  6. Thanks, I'm glad you enjoyed it!

  7. I'm excited about connecting with other writers! Thanks for reading.

  8. i like it!! and so happy to hear you're happy! this song "happy" is really popular in DC nowadays, and i was thinking, "happy is not really a word i think of to describe myself with"... but it's so good to hear you are actually enjoying yourself. good for health!

  9. Wonderful! I love the pace of the post and the way you write about airing out your marriage, holding it in front of you. Beautifully written. Thank you for sharing.