Now we have been married for nearly two years. Occasionally, I still feel like I don’t deserve his love or that I am unlovable, but Kevin wraps me in his arms and tells me how much I mean to him. I’ve left the US and now live in a farming community in Co. Roscommon. I never imagined this for my life. I never imagined being married, having a husband, having horses, having a new house, living in a new country. None of this was on my radar. I never expected this life changing happiness.
And so, as we tiptoe a bit tentatively into 2021, here stands my call-to-arms to all fellow wordsmiths: leave room in your margins for the unexpected. Of course, it’s good to plan. It’s good to organize and to strategize. But a touch of the unexpected is par for the course for any writing project, and we shouldn’t let that discourage us. Rather, I hope we can all embrace at least a few happy surprises in the margins soon to come.
2021 is going to include a lot less airplane travel, time zone changes, extra-large suitcases, or language translation, but I think it will be quite an adventure nonetheless. And if it doesn’t include packing up a home over Facetime or leaving people we care about without so much as a goodbye, I’m ok with a little bit quieter year.
The final thing that I’ve learned is to trust that God is in control. Now that doesn’t mean that I just sit around and wait for God to work. He’s given me wisdom, understanding and the opportunity to receive counsel from others. And as I’ve matured, in every decision I’ve made, I’ve learned something from previous “mistakes” I’ve made and learned to seek more thorough input from God, from others, and from the Bible. And that’s helped immensely.
It’s September, and the garden will soon begin its gentle decline. It won’t be long until the ground freezes and nothing can grow again until next spring. But the lessons from the garden—the patient acceptance of what is here, the challenging reframe of messiness into abundance, and the hopeful belief in “try again”—are seedlings I can feed and foster no matter the season. For that, I am grateful.
This August, I will put on a mask and pack a personal bottle of hand sanitizer in my teacher bag next to my favorite grading pens. I will come back to the classroom because it is the most important space where I can make a difference. I will return as a teacher every fall for the foreseeable future because of the challenge, not in spite of it. Books will be loved by the right reader without my tutelage, but I will not be the same without the opportunity to teach.