This weekend had a few moments that are the kind where you think, "I really want to remember this moment, this feeling, this." Even when "this" is simple or imperfect, it's often just the kind of richness life is made up of.
Upon awakening Friday morning, Neal turned to me on his pillow and said, "Hey, tonight I'm taking you out to celebrate- you passed your licensure exam!" Though the reminder of passing the NCE (National Counselor Exam) tugged for a smile at the corner of my mouth, I turned a serious face on Neal and asked that instead of going out, he gift me with vitamins. Yes, vitamins. And yes, I can be quite melodramatic sometimes.
I found out quite recently that I have Epstein Barr Virus and the cure involves lots of resting and the best supplements available, which turn out to be quite expensive. Six and a half months into this illness, I want wellness more than anything- more than celebrating.
Neal laughed quietly, hugged me, and said that we'd do both. He knows and loves me too well to let this accomplishment go uncelebrated, since celebrating is something I love best. So me, Epstein Barr, and Neal went out to a new place for us, Penny's Noodles in Wicker Park. The Thai food was delicious and flavorful, the city sights full of life, and the El went by overhead all through the kind of conversation I love best with Neal- celebrating the past, savoring the present (both the joyous and the painful), and scheming and dreaming for the future (this time, summer specifically.)
Later that night, after throwing on sweats, we headed over to Brenton and Amber's for some RS (Resident Supervisor) hang out time, which involved lots of laughing, a movie, and more laughing about life as we know it in this job on this campus. The girls pulled out a cake to celebrate my exam, and I was so surprised! I am loving the growing community Neal and I have with these co-workers that are more like friends.
The next day, late Saturday afternoon, Neal and I hopped on our new Vespa and drove up to Lincoln Park. The weather was warm, and we sat on a park bench watching runners, picnic-ers, baby stroll-ers, and the bright green tree buds.
We talked about Neal's work, more about the upcoming summer, and about my sadness over this season of my life. Sad that I'm not healthy to put my dreams into action, sad that this health battle has been so long and hard and that it yet continues. But as we sat on the bench together, we knew that it was ok to be sad, and also that we are blessed in our hardships because of God's promises in our life- namely that He will use this season for good. That we can grow and learn through suffering. That He will always be enough. And that He's given us each other.
There on that park bench, I enjoyed sitting in the heart of the city, being young and in love, and resting in the joy of faith- not the shallow, flitting, fleeting kind, but the kind that is anchored deep amidst hardship and harbors hope.
There now. In case I forget some of these moments, they're here to look back on. They're worth remembering to me! And sorry I look so grungy this weekend- let's just blame it on my partner in crime, Epstein Barr.