Two and a half years ago Andy and I sat on bar stools facing the front window at a local Mexican restaurant. As we were chatting about the ins and outs of our day between bites of cheesy enchiladas, the topic of our future came up again.
While I don’t remember exactly what was said or how I felt, I can imagine I tensed up a bit. Probably furrowed my brow and maybe even leaned away from him.
Our future was a topic of conversation that never seemed to end well. We’d been married for six and a half years and had experienced our full share of ups and downs when it came to life planning. Most conversations of this sort ended with me in tears and Andy not having a clue what to say.
At the time, Andy was working a “not great, but too good to leave” job as a Construction Assistant for a local builder. After realizing youth ministry was not, in fact, his passion and having been laid off from the Assistant Dean of Students job at his Alma Mater, this job came his way and he took it.
Just to fill the space while he figured out what he really wanted to do. It was only temporary.
FOUR AND A HALF YEARS LATER, he was still there. At the temporary job.
It wasn’t awesome, but we were making it.
Ok, well maybe not.
Our marriage was strained. I’m a future-minded planner and Andy is more of a live-in-the-moment kind of guy. Not knowing what was next and thinking our current situation was a life sentence made me on-edge and withdrawn. I was frustrated with where we were and how we seemed to be going nowhere fast.
Instead of drawing closer to Andy and fighting together for our future, I pulled away. I distanced myself from him and the life we had created. I did my own thing.
I went out alot. I started hanging out with a different circle. People who were in a different phase of life. They were younger, more carefree, single and just trying to have a good time. I had fun. I laughed alot. I drank alot. I came home late and I pretty much vacated my role as Suzy Homemaker.
I see now that I was rebelling against the expectations that I thought everyone else had for me but that really I had created for myself. I was feeling like I’d hopped on the “treadmill of life” in my early twenties and that it had just taken me along for its ride.
Go to school, get a good job, get engaged, plan a wedding, get married, decorate an apartment, hunt for a house, become new homeowners, redecorate new home, and on and on ad nauseam.
It was a quarter life crisis of sorts and it wreaked havoc on our relationship. Sure we still seemed pretty much the same on the outside, but on the inside our relationship was eroding.
A series of events, including God’s sovereignty and an incredible marriage retreat put on by Awakened Hearts Ministries helped get us back on course. Nothing was fixed overnight, but the door in the wall between us had been cracked open a bit and we were able to start feeling connected in the midst of the surrounding chaos.
All it took was a little crack in that wall for our relationship to begin to mend.
Things were going to be ok.
Regardless of the path our life took, we were in it together. I was back on his team and he was on mine.
It hasn’t been perfect since then. We struggle to stay connected through the storms of life and we’ve learned that the slopes of dysfunction are slippery. Knowing this has helped us pull towards one another when things get tough.
But back to the Mexican restaurant…I was actually going somewhere with that!
As I devoured my burrito and wrestled with the strings of cheese sticking to my chin, Andy shared an idea with me.
No, let’s call it a crazy inspiration.
An out-of-body experience.
He looked at me and said, “I think I want to go to medical school.”
After nearly choking on a strand of cheese, I looked at him like he had 3 heads (which, by the way, would have seemed more likely than him telling me he wanted to go to medical school) and I asked him if he was serious.
Turns out he was.
And so began our Great Adventure.
*Today, after 2 years of classes and studying, Andy took the MCAT exam. It’s really happening!