Last night my fiancé and I had what we call a “working date.” It’s a more welcoming way to discuss important matters than ambushing him—which I discovered the hard way. Now we both show up with similar expectations, ready to hash out whatever is on the agenda.
With computers, phones, and pens out, we tackled setting a tentative timeline and to-do list for moving him into our new house. It was productive. First, we’ll set up our accounts for internet, water, electricity, gas, and trash. Then we’ll purchase our refrigerator, oven, dishwasher, washing machine, and dryer, which hopefully will be delivered and functioning by the time we have rekeyed the locks and installed the security system, thermostat, and bedroom blinds.
That’s Phase 1. Phase 2 involved packing and begging friends to carry our boxes, and by the time he and I finished discussing Phase 3, my mind had begun to clear. I exhaled, feeling less frazzled the more we prepared for the transition.
Next came changing the information on our various accounts. I was about to divide the task between us and suggest a combined email address for all of our bills when I looked up. My fiancé’s eyes were heavily glazed, looking out beyond the walls of my condo, toward something I couldn’t see.
We are attracted opposites, so I can’t say I was surprised. But I don’t know how not to plan, how not to picture what’s ahead. It comes to me as naturally as the involuntary pulse in my body. How else would we make this monumental move into a new home and marriage without losing our minds? Is there another way to get where we want to go? My fiancé’s drained face begged that there must be, so we called it a day.
This isn’t my first time being a homeowner. Last year I bought a small one-bedroom condo and planned to live in it for several years, with a manifesto to richly enjoy the adventures of single adulthood. So when I met the man whom I now plan to marry, I was frustrated. I had dreams of staying in that neighborhood and paying off my mortgage. I had planned to continue leading and encouraging the community of singles at my church. When I realized I no longer had the energy to do that and learn to love someone, I was disappointed. And if I’m being honest, a little mad.
I don’t know how not to plan. It comes to me as naturally as the involuntary pulse in my body.
Somewhere underneath layers of ruined plans and discouragement is a nagging truth, tugging at me like a small child: These plans were never mine to make. And I don’t want to hear it. If I admit that it was God who wove my world amongst others and brought me to this very point, then how can I be certain of what lies ahead? That it will be something I even want?
I come back to the shore of the same darkness I’ve approached several times this year: the abyss of things that aren’t for me to know. Paul reminds the Corinthians of this—that the Spirit makes known God’s mysterious wisdom, yet so much still escapes us. He writes, “We speak God’s wisdom in a mystery, the hidden wisdom which God predestined before the ages to our glory; the wisdom which none of the rulers of this age has understood; for if they had understood it they would not have crucified the Lord of glory” (1 Corinthians 2:7-8). Can you imagine if the rulers of his age had understood? If Christ had not been crucified?
Instead, Love itself was hidden among man, disguised as a carpenter, mysteriously fraternizing with the lowly and reprehensible. If salvation, preceded by all its prophetic promises and miracles abounding in glory, came to earth without mankind’s understanding, then what am I missing in my own life?
Can you imagine if Christ had not been crucified?
I’ll tell you that when I stepped back from my church’s singles ministry, I didn’t know I would be enveloped by deeply compassionate coworkers, and at a time when only the fiercest love could support me. I couldn’t see that moving out of my condo would allow us to share our wealth with a couple who had no place to call their own. And I definitely didn’t know that only the good love of my fiancé could begin to heal the trauma that sent me running from intimate relationships.
It’s not that the lens of hindsight makes these u-turns acceptable—I still very much grieve my role in my church, the depth of those relationships, the pride and joy of my first little home, the freedom of being a single adult. It’s just that I’d rather see Love show up in unlikely places.
The notepad with my scribbled timeline is still sitting on the table next to my couch; it will get us started. But maybe, if the deliveries come a few days late or we don’t get to install blinds before my fiancé moves in, I’ll open my eyes a little wider than before. And if our life together in our new home looks nothing like I’ve imagined, I pray for curiosity, to look for God in hidden places, and to know even then sometimes I’ll miss Him completely. And that’s ok, because the point was never for us to understand Him, but only to be loved by Him.