Ben and I have been married for two months and as of now, we have slept in four different beds in three different states.
The first, a tiny dorm room at Ave Maria University in Florida. It was here that we created our “home” for the first month of our marriage.
Less than two days after our wedding on Friday May 27th, Ben and I were on a plane headed down to Florida for FOCUS New Staff Training. It was a whirlwind of a weekend, being instantly thrown into the blessings and challenges that make up missionary life. We saw familiar faces and made new friends, and we even met the team that will be with us at the University of Alabama in Birmingham.
Our time in Flordia consisted mainly of daily mass and holy hour, classes taught by first-rate Catholic speakers, small group discussions, beach days, air-boating in the Everglades, daily thunderstorms (complete with torrential downpour and soaked professional clothes), crickets the size of your palm, tiny mockingbirds and massive vultures, and alligators (supposedly).
Our second little home was an air mattress adorned in my old Winnie the Pooh and Little Mermaid comforters in the basement of my childhood home.
We began our time at my home with a trip to a cabana on the beach for July 4th. It was just what Ben and I needed after the stress of beginning fundraising his salary as a FOCUS missionary–Just under 10 hours next to the ocean, dozens of cans of beer, several heaping plates of food, a victory in cornhole, and a good game of handball.
The best part of the day was, without a doubt, the company. My parent’s have been friends with these people before they were even married (my dad’s oldest friend dates back to his childhood) and my sister and I grew up with their children. This is the group of people are the reason I believe in life-long friendships.
Plus, we know how to have a party.
While on Long Island, we spent a lot of time support raising for FOCUS, but thankfully, that meant we were able to sit down and share our mission with people we love. We also made sure to spend some time watching Shark Tank with my family and adventuring at the wineries out on the North Fork of the Island.
The third bed was a small but comfortable pull-out couch in a Rochester Apartment.
On the first night in Rochester, we attended a Catholic small group discussion, which I was unfortunately a little too tired to actively participate in more than simply listening, but it was enjoyable to see Ben, excited once again by the opportunity for a deep theological discussion.
The following morning, David (Ben’s old friend, one of our groomsmen, and our host for the weekend) made us a delicious breakfast of burritos and chocolate chip pancakes, before we headed out for an adventure-filled day. David’s girlfriend and I made sandwiches for our picnic on the beach, followed by an afternoon at the Museum of Play. And that evening was the event I had been waiting for…The Great Escape, a Sherlock Holmes-themed Escape room.
For this escape room, we were locked in Dr. Holmes’ library, being tested to see if we were clever enough to be his assistants. The four of us ripped through the room, finding clues, solving puzzles, but unfortunately, we were not able to solve them all within the hour. We failed you, Dr. Holmes, but we won’t next time.
Our fourth and current bed is a firm but welcoming foam mattress in Ben’s old room in Elyria, Ohio. You may think that it is a lot of change all at once, and I can tell you first hand that it certainly is. We are excited to settle in our new home down South; however, we appreciate what every new place, what every new bed has brought to our marriage–the beauty of morning sun illuminating a still-quiet room, the restless nights worrying about our mountainous “to-do” list or our ogre-like student debt, the comfort of having the person you love constantly by your side to remind you that today is going to be a good day.
Most importantly, we are thankful for how each bed, each day in these last two months, has welcomed us in, rejuvenated us, and has made us ready to do the things we are called to do.
Now today, on our two-month anniversary, we finally bought the bed that will be coming with us to our Birmingham apartment in just over two weeks. And we can’t wait to see what that bed and new home brings to us.