Everything is new after 12 years

This is a love story. Not the kind you think, but one where I am constantly learning how to love.

It has been 12 years exactly today since we were married inside the beautiful Epworth-Euclid United Methodist Church in University Circle, Cleveland Ohio. I was marrying the love of my life, but I was a wreck. There was no one from my immediate family at the wedding, and I felt unsettled that something may go wrong. There was a moment when my friends left the bridal suite just before the wedding started, and I was alone in my wedding gown and veil. It was surreal to see myself in all white. I was embarking on a journey for the rest of my life without my family. It was heartbreaking, but I knew this was the right decision.

I wish I could say there have been ups and downs since then (perhaps so that my story would be relatable), but life with Jeff is so stable. It’s more like ups and… fun. If there was turbulence, it was inside my own world with the occasional peaks, but mostly valleys. I worked hard in my thirties to keep myself distracted and protected my marriage from the internal storms that raged from time to time. And over time, I learned to find life’s joyful faces because Jeff simply oozes peace and joy. God transformed me slowly through my spouse. Yes, I made the right decision on whom to marry 12 years ago, but a spouse isn’t something you choose and put a checkmark next to. It turns out that I was accepting a gift of tremendous value, of which I couldn’t possibly comprehend at that time.

Two months ago, I almost lost Jeff to a surprise health scare. By a string of miracles he survived it and is recovering beautifully, and it marks a new phase in our marriage. I was given the opportunity to experience love through the lens of my grief and the uncertainties that may lie ahead. But through the struggle there is always joy, this time deepened by Jeff’s determination to live and our gratitude for those miracles.

So today is the anniversary that almost wasn’t. And we will celebrate it with thanksgiving for second chances… for Jeff’s life and for a life together with the firm guidance of God’s hand.