Amanda Barber

Stories, songs, and thoughts on life.

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My New Life

23 May 2017

Every time I sit down to write, I lose courage. On the “before” side of achievement you tend to think, “If I could accomplish that, I would be confident.” But it’s a big, fat lie. I’ve written and published a novel, but to sit down and update my blog after nearly a year’s absence seems impossible.

Every transition in life changes you. And I have gone through a humdinger. Marriage does that. Not that I haven’t enjoyed it! I love being married to Jonathon. But I feel changed, nevertheless, and so it’s difficult to know what to say…what to say…

All the same, I have felt a drive to write for a couple months now, so here I am.

This last year and five months, I’ve wrapped myself in a cocoon and sort of observed and rested and basked in what life has become. There have been so many transitions. First, I moved from the North to the South, and not just to the South. I moved to the first state that seceded from the Union. People, I live just a half an hour from the first county in the first state that seceded from the Union. Just in case you wondered, the War of Northern aggression is definitely not over. Second, I went from being a half-hearted voter to being thrown into politics head first. Third, I used to teach music to forty kids. Now, I sit in on legislative sessions and watch politicians bloviate. (Except for Jonathon. He doesn’t bloviate. He says a lot of good stuff. But the bloviaters generally think he talks too much.)

Here’s Jonathon in the House, “bloviating.” It was a mighty good speech. And fourth, I used to stay happily at home as often as I could. Being the introvert that I am, I love solitude and I’m a consummate homebody. Nevertheless, I have traveled more in this last year and a half than I have in my entire life, and that includes one very long international flight to the Philippines.

I’ve learned a lot. Before, I knew there was a lot of corruption in government and politics. Now, I see it first hand. I have learned that there is very little difference between the two major parties. They spout and fume and fuss, but underneath everything, many of the politicians representing both sides are loathe to depart from the status quo, with rare exceptions. I have also learned that the politicians on both sides are just people with hopes and dreams and faults and sins and sadness. They need accountability, yes, but they also need unconditional love just as much as their constituents who fuss and fume about “those durn, corrupt politicians!” People are people, and there are no innocents among us.

Sometimes I sit with Jonathon on the House floor and “watch the fights.” The gas tax fight was a doozy, let me tell you. I have learned to love the South. There’s some beautiful country down here. It may be hotter than Hades most of the time, but the mockingbirds sing sweetly just the same. Its people are bull-headed and stubborn. They’re the kind of people who’ve maybe never flown a Confederate flag before, but by George, they’ll fly one just for spite if you tell them not to. Sometimes, you just have to chuckle in admiration for bull-headed, stubborn people.

I have reaped the blessings of love. Jonathon has loved me so fully and completely, knowing all my faults and my weaknesses, that I feel I’ve grown a foot taller. Not in pride, I hope, but in confidence and freedom. Perhaps you have often wondered, as I used to, whether your friends and acquaintances would still love you and want you if they knew everything about you? If they knew your sins, your struggles, your faults, your fears? Well, it’s simply not possible to expose your inner self to every friend and acquaintance. Not possible or wise, I might add. But when a potential marriage partner comes along, you must not only let that person see you but also see deep down into you. Anything less would be dishonest. It’s terrifying. The threat of rejection is imminent. But early into our friendship, we opened ourselves to each other and saw: past ugliness, future struggles, present pain, and beautiful promise. And we both chose to love the whole person. To this day, it still amazes me. I have always known that God loved me like that, but I so often doubted that any human could. I was right. No human really can. But God can love me through the human He empowers to do so. God has given me a great gift in Jonathon. More than ever, I need the approval of people less today than I did yesterday. I am more free to love and care for people without being shocked by their darkness because I am loved and cared for in spite of mine. The best part is that the love of God is more powerful than any mere human darkness. Not only that, but it’s the only antidote. I have learned that marriage is a picture of the Gospel.

He’s a sweet man.

I have also learned not to make promises I cannot keep. So, as I close this update, I will not promise to write again in another month. The last two promises I made here were dismal failures. But I think it safe to say that I may be writing more in the coming months than I have in the last year and a half now that I’m settled in my new home and feel like marriage isn’t quite as new as it used to be.

God bless, friends.