As the years of spending Christmas’ together go by,
I like to the think back to the Christmas of 2012.
If you know anything about our relationship,
your probably familiar with the fact that 2012 was a big year for us, for several reasons.
For starters that’s when we reconnected,
when I called him on February 23rd to confess my sudden epiphany that I liked him,
when we had our 1st date all around the stunning capital that is Washington D.C.,
when he asked me to be his girlfriend on April 10th 2014
(thus doing long distance for he was still in Nyack,NY),
when we spent the entire summer together in Bushkill, PA
(through the privilege it is to serve Jesus through loving the kids at Mont Lawn Camp),
& when we were stripped from one another for a solid 107days.
Everything was reevaluated for me.
Everything I ever wanted at my finger tips available;
education, travel, exposure to different lives, serving those in need…
it was all provided for on a silver platter.
In 3 words : Semester at Sea.
It was an extraordinary experience
to which I am forever grateful, & oh how I grew.
But this is article is about life,love & Christmas
and if you’re patient enough to read through to the end you’ll see how.
Many people know my cliche stories of Belgian Chocolate consumed on Belgian Waffles,
or the delicious Greek Gyros devoured in Santorini after a stereotypical donkey ride
or the Tapas I shamelessly indulged in after watching a Bull Fight in Cordoba,Spain.
The experiences were incredible,
the sunsets on the ship over the ocean breathtaking,
the countless interactions from different people from different walks of life priceless,
but what I learned of life and love on that trip were unparalleled.
Somewhere in the middle of the ocean, on the way back from Africa to South America,
we encountered a major storm.
Not a physically , but relationally.
In this sudden storm that swept in the seas got rough & the waves high,
neither of us had any assurance of what was to come ,
nor did we know if our relationship would be able to make it through this transatlantic storm.
That’s when I knew; I loved this man.
Despite the exposure to travel, serving ,education, and exposure to different peoples
the reality of doing life beside him serving Jesus was exponentially sweeter.
And as heartbreaking as it was, if I had to surrender this man forever,
for him to have a better life, I would.
So in the middle of that night, I cried out to God,
shifting my focus back and forth between the roaring ocean & starry sky.
I sat out that night for hours realizing that this silver platter,
without the right people & without the right setting
wasn’t so silver after all.
I had yearned,wanted, COVETED desperately for this platter of silver,
when all along – if I had opened my eyes -, I would’ve seen I had a platter of gold.
We learned, Greg & I, a lesson in waiting, in not knowing, in abiding to our words.
We learned about the beauty of surrender, honesty and trusting God through the storm.
Separately, worlds apart, we learned the deep lesson of what mattered most in life
But again this is a story of life , love , and Christmas.
That Christmas morning at his parents house,
after Christmas Eve with my family as our tradition holds,
I decided to go all out.
I had spoken with my mentor about how I felt towards Greg
and regardless of whether or not his love for me was reciprocated,
I had decided to expose myself, & bravely take the step to say I Love you.
Now its essential to note we had previously referred to liking each other as little l .
It was more for me than for Greg, ” I l you ” meant I liked you.
We texted it , spoke it , wrote in in letters, I like you or I little l word you.
Cheesy I know but the intent of course was saving,
I big L you ,
the obvious & ever so scary I Love you.
This is it. I thought to myself.
I had known since the storm on Semester At Sea,
but knew I had to wait for a less tumultuous moment.
As 2012 was a white Christmas, I took advantage of the pure peaceful white snow.
My polish-less, glove-less index finger began imprinting in the snow
” I L you” encompassed by a big fingerimprinted heart.
Of course, I brought Greg outside eager to share, utterly terrified of a new level of vulnerability,
but pretty confident and expectant that he would return the sentiment.
” Greg your gift is outside” I said to him ,
he was puzzled but followed me without hesitation as he does to this day,
knowing full well he often wont understand everything I do.
So I ask him to close his eyes & then open his eyes to look at the snow.
I’m utterly nerve racked but eagerly anticipating to hear, on this peaceful white Christmas morn.
“I love you too ”
He looked at it, he looked at me, he looked at it and then hugged me.
HUGGED ME. HUGGEDME?!?! What ?
I released myself from the hug, grinned, and swallowed my tears.
I retreated to my phone to tell my mentor how it didnt go as plan, it totally backfired.
I was holding back tears as she reassured me
that I said it because it was true for me & not just so I could hear it back.
As I thanked her for her encouragement,
Greg looked over my shoulder, rolled his eyes,and brought me rightback outside.
” Thressa how was I supposed to know you were saying I love you?!?!”-Greg
” Because I used the big L & we only ever say like using little L”- Thressa
” THRESSA! How was I supposed to know that? I didn’t know what you were doing “- Greg
” It’s fine okay because I didn’t say it to hear it ba-” – Thressa
” Thressa STOP of course I love you ” -Greg
” wait what you love me tooo =) ?” -Thressa
“No I LOVE YOU & you love me too” -Greg
” nu-uh I said it first” -Thressa
” No you wrote it first & I had no idea what your plan was”-Greg
“But I wanted to be brave & say it 1st to you! Can we rewind& replay the whole thing” -Thressa
Why this long winded story?
Why an account of life lessons, & our 1st “I love you” experience?
Because I was thinking about this Christmas with Greg.
Our first Christmas as husband & wife.
So naturally my mind wandered and I thought about Christmas’ past,
and our comical confusing I love you experience on our first Christmas together ever.
Looking back 107 days isn’t that much at all.
Yet that one experience,changed my life in so many more ways then I could have ever expected.
Just thinking about our 1st Christmas as husband and wife
my memory lets me not forget of our 1st Christmas,
our 1st storm, and our 1st I love you.
As promised this is story of life, love, and Christmas
Technically separate yet altogether intertwined.
Jesus is life.
Jesus is love.
Jesus is Christmas.
For even when its not Christmas,
Christ finds ways in everything
that I may see, that we may see
that HE is life & HE is love Filling our 107 days , our
messy, our confusing,
our insightful excursions around the world to capture our attention.
In 107 days,he exposed me to my nothingness & meaninglessness without him.
I hope it takes you less than 107 days to get to that point.
To revel in the wonder, the history, and the joy of it all.
That our attention may be so abnormally fixed on him,
that in simply trying to contemplate on the past few days your mind wanders
and cant help but say;
“PRAISE BE TO YOU OH GOD!
Thank You for all that you’ve taught me,
all that you’ve brought me through.
Thank you for enabling me to see the supernatural,
through the natural act of remembering.”
This is a portion of our story
because our story
is to always point back to His story.
Because his story is life, his story is love, his story is Christmas.
Rooted in Love ,
Mrs. Dreamer Irving
P.S. enjoy these series of ordinary photos from yet another extraordinary Christmas
|Look at these dapper young men
|Christmas Eve Dinner: Arroz, Paella, Bacalhau, & Frango
|Bubu wrapped in his gift!
|To the King !
|Dunkin run before our 3 hour road trip to Christmas part II in PA.
|Monkey Bread & Mimosa Breakfast
|The Punjammies that support freedom that Greg got me that brought tears to my eyes.
|We love our Grandma!
|She blessed me by blessing others, with TOMS & to the Dressember Foundation !