Today I cried over a happy memory.
I’ve found that this is happening more frequently as I get older and life gets more complicated.
Today my husband said, “Do you remember when we went to that Cubs game?”
I nodded, smiled at the memory, before turning my attention back to my work.
“Do you remember going to that bar before?” he added.
I smiled again and paused, looking up from my work as the day, the memory, became more vivid to me.
We were just two twenty-somethings. We still are, but things were so different.
The months before that day were hard. The months before held his first battle with cancer, but on that day, those months didn’t matter. For the shortest stent of time he and I got to just be twenty-somethings dating- eating wings and drinking a beer in Wrigleyville before watching America’s favorite past time.
He looked at me after a few silent seconds as I left his question hanging in the air, and his smile slowly eased off of his face, now replaced by confusion, “what’s wrong?” he asked.
“Do you think we will ever get to be those people again?”
I’ve asked this before. Anytime that I’ve found myself in a hard season, I tend to remember the easier seasons. I recall seasons of spending a full day driving around Indy on the hunt for white hydrangeas. I recall college Sundays of napping together in a too-small dorm-room bed. I recall weeks spent eating seafood and drinking margaritas on the Alabama gulf.
And these memories always strike up the same question, “Will I ever get to be that person again?”
But this time, I answered truthfully, and I think that’s why it hurt so badly. This time, the answer was “no.”
This isn’t because this hard season that I’m in won’t end eventually. Hard seasons have come and gone throughout my entire life, throughout all of history, really.
It isn’t because I don’t think that one day Andrew and I will return to Wrigleyville, drink beer, and split an order of wings before a Cubs game.
It’s just that the person I am right now, the person going through this season, can never again be that girl that I was before this trial.
And that’s okay.
COVID-19 has been an interesting parallel to that. For the first time in Andrew’s and my journey, the whole world has hurt along with our hurt, even if their pain is to different a drum.
For the first time in our journey, people are restricted by laws while we are restricted by physical ailments. For the first time in our journey, everyone’s life is just as unpredictable as our own…
And though some people are pleading to be released from their homes, begging to return to their old life- their normal, others are saying that they expect, and even want, the world to look a little different after this. Some people are saying that they want to take this experience, this struggle, and grow from it, appreciate more after it, become better because of it.
And these people, though they in no way understand or refer to my own struggle, have inspired me so deeply.
Today, Andrew and I are three years, one new city, two relapses, two apartments, one wedding, one first home, two dogs, three chemotherapy drugs, one surgery, and many many tears and laughs separated from those people that we were that day in Wrigleyville.
Life has made certain that we will never be those people again.
But that’s okay- maybe even good. We’ve grown. We’ve learned. We’ve been refined by a life of joy and tragedy.
The world is going to look a little different when this virus passes and we are released from our quarantine.
But that’s okay- maybe even good.
What’s the point of being human, of breaking, battling, refining, rebuilding, if we come back as the exact people that we were before these climbs?