This past September Kyle and I were able to go see two separate concerts. I bought tickets to one for his birthday, he bought tickets to the other for mine. The feel of these shows couldn’t have been more different. At Foster the People, we jumped and danced to the up-beat, major music set to a light show that at times was so bright we couldn’t see the stage. At Manchester Orchestra, Andy Hull came out in virtual darkness singing a haunting, eerie, nasally intro accompanied by slow acoustic guitar strums before the band HIT with melancholy chords set to a kind of deep and slow kick drum beat that shook your soul and made you want to question everything else you’ve ever heard. Two completely different bands, two completely different vibes, but the same result at each. We stood, able to enjoy each end of the spectrum because we were together balanced in the middle. For those of you who know us I’m sure you can imagine which show was a present for who.
The truth is, Kyle’s up-beat, major-sounding approach to life is so bright and all encompassing that at times its hard for me to see straight where, as for me, I can be so melancholy and minor-sounding that at times it seems my inner drum beat will never gather enough energy to go anywhere. But together. . . together we make something so much greater.
It’s been two years of marriage. We laugh sometimes when we realize how much was stacked against us getting married when we did. We’d been sober and following the lord for less than seven months. We took a gamble getting married knowing so little of our identities. I like to think God saw our faith, not only in Him but in our love and chose to hold us tightly to Him while helping us transition into who we are. He saw that even though we are very different people- we’re people who know the tragedy of living a life without Love. So when we stand at opposite sides of the spectrum in what makes us tick and how we perceive the world, we can remain enmeshed. United by a love for each other and an even stronger love for our Father.
From our ceremony of 25 family members because we’d all but lost our friends- the sacrifices we made were soon rewarded with the life of our unexpected little boy. I heard Kyle say the other day to a friend whose wife will soon have a baby the process of having a baby “levels you up” as a couple. That the vulnerability, the rawness and height of emotion joins a couple together in one of the closest ways life can offer. I loved hearing his perspective because in reality when I had Banks, all I saw was Kyle. It was from Kyle that I knew I had the reserves and strength to be a mother. It was his faith in me that slowly accelerated my inner kick drum to a tempo that made me feel capable of mothering… and then writing… and then speaking. The world tells us that marriage and motherhood steal bits of who we are but it was in these very things, entrusted to me by Kyle, that I was resurrected.
Kyle’s love has clothed me and points to the greater love that covers us both. Kyle has brought to life things that God breathed into me a long time ago. Things He wanted me to reach for but when I was too scared to try and grasp them, He tasked Kyle with holding up my arms.
Now, as I’m sitting in the Denver Cat Company, listening to the Spotify playlist he made when we were dating long distance called “Songs that remind me of her” I could just cry. (if I weren’t too scared that doing so would make this grey kitten leave my lap.)
I stood in the kitchen of our sweet rented duplex the other evening and glanced back at Kyle at 5:56. The deadline for sellers to accept the offer we’d placed on their home was four minutes away and we’d heard nothing. I breathed in slowly looking at him while he was deep in thought, and felt peace knowing that even though we hadn’t gotten this house, that I could be homeless and STILL be on fire for Christ, carrying more love for life than I ever have… so long as I have him. But instead as I stood there looking at my husband, I got to watch his eyes light up as he received a text saying we were under contract for our first home and smiled ear to ear as he yelled “WOOOHOOOO” as he ran to me and picked me up. Now, thanks to memorializing that moment in this document, I’ll never forget the way God communed with me in that moment. He showed me that though things on this side of heaven can surely disappoint, the love woven into my soul will always win.
A few minutes later after we all sat on the kitchen floor breathing relief and allowing ourselves room to finally dream; laughing as Banks tried his first sip of one of our celebratory NA beers just so we could watch him make a terrible face but ended up in trouble because he liked it and wanted his own, I finally stood to tidy our kitchen. Then I took this picture.
I realized that as we were house hunting, kitchen counter space had become one of my desires because what you see here was all the counter space I’ve been working with in this duplex. Then I realized that when we moved in, the reason I didn’t care about counter space was because two years ago, I didn’t know how to cook. Two years ago, I didn’t know how to pursue Jesus, I didn’t know how to claim the fact that I AM a writer and that it lights my soul aflame to spread words on a page in an order than makes people want to place their hand to their chests and sigh with the relief that they’re not alone; the recognition that they never were. Or that the newfound gift of sharing my written words from a stage has ignited a spark that makes me feel more alive and more in step with the Holy Spirit that I ever have.
The counter space didn’t matter because I didn’t know who I was two years ago. What I did know was that somehow I was worthy of this man’s love and that deeper still, his love for me came from the love of our creator. So when all else feels uncertain in life I hold onto these truths and allow myself to be momentarily blinded by their brightness. Even if it’s just for a moment to pull my attention from the fact that my inner kick drum has been all but drowned out by the minor, dissonant chords my head can fall prey to or my fear that I’ll never get my drum beat started again. My temporary, optimistic, life-loving Kyle blindness helps me remember.
To remember that I was chosen for him and him for me. That a lot of life can be lived in two years when you approach each day remembering that not long ago, we woke separately. Single in different states and gathered all of our efforts and energy to try and will our lives to bring us something beautiful within our own strength.
We came alive when we quit trying. When we accepted our brokenness and accepted the love of a broken person and sat back and allowed God to turn it into what it is now. This love that has the power of a symphony with one of us synchronized to bright lights, loud sounds, warmth and power. An optimist with disregard for the pains of this world who can shine so brightly that at times you’ll want to shield your eyes, but one who understands that his counterpart isn’t a stranger to sadness. That there are times that call for dimmed lights and lower volume to allow enough room for her minor chorded build to grow, accumulate energy, and become something beautiful. Because now she knows that once her kick drum finally hits, her light will match his in power and that together their light and contrasting sounds exemplify the mastery of God’s relational handiwork.
God used all ten fingers on you, Kyle Talbot. Thank you for these two years. I love you and I know I could’ve just written “You are super sexy” in a hallmark card and it would mean the exact same as this does, possibly more.
Thanks for honoring my mystery.