We all live out a good portion of our lives online. Connecting with friends, collecting and documenting memories and of course, making plans for new experiences…filling out our social calendars. We have talked here on Lost In Drawers about our own discussions about any and all of us self edit online. We don’t show much of the struggle, we don’t ask the big questions. But the fact is that all of us struggle. And, honestly, it is time to talk about it openly.
We have weekly, if not seemingly daily, discussions on struggle. The question as it relates to our friends and family and to this blog and other social media is simply: can we be honest about life’s struggles yet not complain? We constantly try and seek for perspective about our life. Yet, the doubts still hang out there about how we can be authentic and still talk honestly about life. We do believe that we can still love Jesus, lean on him, and still have a discourse about what goes wrong. So, here goes a round of transparency.
We have been married almost two and a half years, and yet it seems like no one tells you how hard real marriage is. There never was or will be a honeymoon period. It was hard from engagement until today. We are not financially stable. We have fought more than either one of us would have liked. We are stubborn, passionate, and Bo – who is an ordained minister – is in therapy for depression that has undermined much of our communication as a couple. So, the truth is this: save us the the pretty canned speeches about marriage, because we don’t need to hear theory. We need to know that it can get better, that the love we have deep in or hearts will spread to our circumstance and yes, will see us materially stable. Because in marriage, “all you need is love” isn’t enough when you have $20 and payday is 8 days away (which did happen once or twice or maybe even three times). This isn’t to say that we don’t have amazing moments, because we do. We have explored more than most and we have the documentation in pictures and words to give us smiles for decades. Yet, we do ask ourselves: there is more to it than this, right?
The transparency has to extend further. It is easy to look at everyone’s carefully edited lives on blogs, Facebook and Twitter and wonder – what are we doing wrong? How come everyone else can buy houses left and right and we struggle to find a rental home with enough space to build a life and eventually round out our family? Because, marriage without two bathrooms REALLY is a trial. Seriously. Two bathrooms, two televisions and an office area. All married couples need this at some point. How do you talk about these questions and live a positive life? Do we need a mansion? No. But how is it that others (at least publicly) are doing well on many fronts – often at younger ages – and we look at life and ask… why are we still waiting on an answer to this or that, a path or a way to our future to open, a patch of hope in the midst of darkness?
Life is complicated. The issue we often have with our Christian faith is the the way our religious environments apply the story of God & Creation to life now. Being a minister and not having an outlet to use one’s calling with no ability to pay off a seminary education, and being a independently-minded prospective female business owner and always waiting on someone else to answer so we can move forward with plans can be maddening. “No” and “wait” and never yes is never easy. Yet, all our and your lives we are given simplified answers to impossibly nuanced problems. “Trust in the Lord” we are told. Okay, but how do we balance surrender/trust with engagement and truly caring about something. God is not a genie in a bottle, but our faith hinges on God still existing and active in our worlds. How does “simple faith” answer us, as when those who may not believe and even outspoken against Christian faith are better off in life than we are? Can we die to caring about these things without slipping into a life of mediocrity and giving up on big bold dreams for our life? Yet, all we see out of both ourselves and others in this digital world is carefully curated lives that smack of a magic show of Instagram, Pinterest, Etsy, inspirational quotes and digital friendships than never stop down to say – today I don’t understand how our culture can be so unfair and cruel.
Does the fact that we question and are honest about how society has stacked the cards against many of us change our faith? No. We remain in love with a God who’s earthly embodiment in one Jesus taught of a different way and proved his commitment even until death. We believe in resurrection, not only of Him, but ourselves and our hopes for a better life. Why? Because because of the same complicated nature of life that causes us to ask so many hard questions. Life is delicate, intricate and always surprising. And in spite of all our worrying, struggling to keep the electric bill paid, frustration in communicating, dealing with relationships with family & friends that are often in flux and spiritual searching (in hearts and for a new church currently) – we saw something. We are a part of something sacred and ancient. We saw that this is the story of the Scriptures. The stories of history. Anyone who is remembered dared to be honest. We hope we are doing the same.
Bo & Heather
P.S. I tried to fix every grammatical and punctuation mistake, but sometimes my passion gets the best of me!