1. TEAMWORK IS REQUIRED FOR SURVIVAL
When we were handed the keys to the rental car, we thought "oh, this will be easy driving on the left side of the road." It took about 9 seconds in the car to realize we were in for it. Brian was frantically asking me which direction he was supposed to go on the highway where he was driving in 4 lanes at a time and was fearing for my life. We had few screaming matches before realizing 1. we cant blame each other for not knowing where to go in a country we had never been to. and 2. we needed each other. He had to trust me to navigate and I had to trust him to not end my life at 24. It was incredible to see our growth in teamwork and how that moved it's way into other parts of our communication. We realized that we both love to be part of a team where we know our role... as simple as it sounds, that realization has changed our marriage for the better.
2. CELEBRATE THE WINS
Trials are vital for a good trip... the key is learning how to celebrate the wins together. We are terrible about doing this in our day to day lives so we practiced it constantly in Ireland. From compromising on the food order to finding the secret road down the coast, every win deserves a hop, skip, jump, laugh, kiss... something!
3. CELEBRATE THE LOSES
Then there are the moments where you try and fail... like when you get to the Trinity Library in Dublin at 4:33 and it closed at 4:30... and it's your last day in Dublin. It's the saddest moment but it's still your last day, you need to be able to (TOGETHER) mourn, encourage, and move the heck on. We were SO SAD. But we found a performance of Bach's Passion of St. Mark in this old Chapel (built in 1798) on campus and it was absolutely stunning.
4. BEING UNPLUGGED IS A MUST
It didn't take us long on our first drive through the mountains to stop in awe, look at each other and say ... " I like you... like a lot!"... I had literally forgotten how much I enjoyed Sweet Brian. It's hard to find a moment in the week where we can completely focus on what we enjoy about each other, no distractions. Even our sacred 'date night' on Thursdays- while created as a reminder to be present with each other- usually involves intentional conversations about how we have hurt one another. Not having our phones, or internet, or work, or friends even created a space for us to just enjoy. A selah moment in life and one I will never forget... selah - to hang in the balance of. Every time we reached the tree lined 3 mile driveway to our house in Headford, we were reminded to enter wholeheartedly. I wouldn't even say it was breathtaking because the road was so beautiful we just willingly handed over our breath.
5. YOUR ATTITUDE AT HOME WILL BE YOUR ATTITUDE ABROAD
I was in THE BEST MOOD... for a while. There was a moment on the second day where I looked around completely convinced that my circumstances at home were to blame for my bad attitude. That this is exactly what I needed to be myself again. So maybe there's some truth to that but honestly you can't run away from a negative perspective without is chasing you and pinning you down. It caught up to me and it was ugly. You have to be willing today, at home, to turn to your bad attitude and say I-am-not- choosing- you. Trust me, everyone's better for it.
6. SOMETIMES ... THE ROADS ARE FOGGY
Sometimes the fog is so thick that you can't see where you've been or where you're going but the right here is breathtaking if you let yourself see it. I find myself caught up in being bummed that I can't take in the whole view at once but sometimes the fog is a gift. We don't know how to take beauty piece by piece.
7. "IN SICKNESS" IS A REAL THING
There was a night I legitimately thought Brian was dying. He was shaking despite the blankets, towels, jackets, and wife piled on top of him to keep him warm. He was breathing quickly and saying he was "just....so..... cold...." while I was sweating- I stayed up all night staring at his face praying over Him fully knowing that this breath was his last one ever. Needless to say, it was a long night. But something happened in that room that night. Something sacred and beautiful. The next morning there was just more love. Both of us just had this immense gratitude and respect for the other person. So while I prefer the "in health" part of our vows, a little suffering goes a long way.
WHEN YOU ARE WITNESSING A MIRACLE, WITNESS IT FULLY
The beauty of Ireland was a miracle in itself- I have never seen anything like it. We learned the beauty of creation and choice we have to enjoy it and witness it with our hearts. It was a lesson for us of what we are facing together.... Climbing, planning, doubting, enjoying, ... Sometimes there's rain and we can get stuck in it.. And we have a choice to blame each other or laugh . And sometimes we miss the rain just barely, and we have a choice to be thankful or not notice it .
Happy stories, sad stories, dramatic, sorrowful, and joyous stories- every story is a love story... and here are some of mine.