But, as we know, life isn't always sunny-side-up. I guarantee that every single blogger, like every single human being in the world, has their hard times, their struggles, their everyday trials and inadequacies and failures that don't always make it on the blog.
It's a hard, hard balance. I want to maintain a positive and happy space that people want to come and read, but I also want to be genuine and authentic about the hard times. I want to share some current struggles our family is having, but I also want to maintain the privacy of the people I love most.
So let me just say we are almost done with our grad school journey, and we are emerging so happy to have done it, but with a few broken edges, a few cracks and chips. We've known all along that we are exactly where we need to be, doing exactly what we need to be doing, but lately Sam and I just seem to be a little stretched thin, a little tired. It's the kind of tired a good night's sleep doesn't cure.
After two years of not having a reliable car that fits our family, we're feeling a little caged in, a little stir crazy. After two years of conflicting schedules and rarely paying for a date night babysitter, we're feeling a little far apart. After two years of budgeting and rebudgeting, we're feeling so starkly the need for a regular full-time income. After two years of having three children in very quick succession, we're feeling a little drained (a lot drained, actually). After two years of each working side jobs and weekend jobs and late-into-the-night jobs, we're feeling like we need a break.
And then there's the job hunt. Sam's in the middle of finding a job after graduation, and it has been so stressful on our whole family. The pressure he feels to land the perfect position, at the perfect company, in the perfect area, with the perfect starting salary, is enormous. The pressure he feels to just take any job that will get us food on the table is enormous.
I remember so clearly a recent Thursday night when Sam came home from work. It was 10:30 p.m., and I was exhausted, but still up with a fussy teething twin. I was walking and bouncing Lincoln up and down our small apartment hallway in the dim light, wearing my old glasses and my messy pony tail and my tired arm muscles.
Sam walked in, put his backpack down, kicked off his shoes, and came to lean against the wall near me. We exchanged a few whispered words of greeting and he kissed Lincoln's almost-asleep forehead.
I finally summoned my courage to breach the subject I'd been wondering about all afternoon. "How was the interview?" I whispered.
He looked at me the way we've looked at each other so many times during this hard grad school time of our life. I knew the answer immediately when I saw that look.
"It's a no," he whispered back.
I nodded. We looked at each other for a second. I tried to give him something resembling a reassuring smile. He tried to give one back.
And that was that. I put a now-sleeping Lincoln back in his crib, Sam changed out of his work clothes, and it was bedtime. But as that was happening, I kept thinking of a tiny phrase from an old song I used to listen to.
"Love in the middle."
It's easy to love when the times are good; when we have a job, financial security, no teething babies, a daily routine that doesn't drastically change every eight weeks, two working cars. It sure will be easy to talk about persevering through the trial of finding a job after Sam has signed somewhere.
But in the middle? When the happy ending isn't here yet? That's the hard time to show love, and that's when love really counts. And that's when I've been amazed at the incredible compassion Sam has shown me all throughout our marriage. When I tell him about a choice or plan I made in regards to work, church service, school, future plans, housekeeping, parenting, or anything else, he always supports me. He is constantly giving me the benefit of the doubt. He is constantly cutting me slack. He is constantly forgiving me. He is constantly loving me, despite it all, through it all, in the middle of it all.
And love in the middle is the hardest kind of love.
Sam's compassion has brought me so much peace, and has brought us both closer to the greatest example of compassion I know, my Savior Jesus Christ. Please join me in visiting mormon.org to learn more about eight principles of peace Jesus Christ embodied as we prepare for the Easter season.
This personal essay was shared as part of a sponsored post with mormon.org. To learn how to have more peace in your life, click here or click the ad in my sidebar. #PrinceofPeace