This is the 7th post in the series, Women of God. Throughout this series, I have had continual reminders of how awesome God is and how incredible and diverse His mission is for each one of us. He loves us so much and my prayer & hope is that this series offers you refreshment and peace with your own journey in recognizing how different our joys & sufferings are as women and that it is in sharing and coming together that we find renewal along the path to Heaven. I’ve had the pleasure of knowing Susanna for over a year and getting to know her more recently through parish activities and opportunities through Pro Ecclesia Sancta. Susanna is such a beautiful individual and I admire her faith, smarts, joy and style oh so much. She is the classy modern equivalent of Audrey Hepburn and I always feel so refreshed after spending time with her. I’m so grateful for her honesty and authenticity in sharing her fears and hopes of going from engaged life to married life, particularly speaking into one facet that many don’t speak or think about as often as we should: living situation transitions. Susanna beautifully writes about her own journey and in reading this post, I resonated with her writing on a personal level, too, with my own transition from living with my family & roommates to my forever roommate & love: my husband. I hope that, whatever stage of life that you are in, you find a nugget wisdom to tuck away and a refreshing look into the beautiful vocation of marriage.
A Train Station
Growing up with three brothers and three sisters, this was the descriptive word often associated with my childhood home, and I loved every minute of it! Frequent flurries of comings and goings filled my home on the weekends. Saturday mornings I opened my bedroom door in the basement with a labyrinth before my eyes. Sleeping bags were scattered everywhere as my teenage brother and his four friends soundly slept on the floor. I strategically hopped over snoring bodies to make my way to the stairs. One by one everyone woke up and our kitchen became as loud as a neighborhood diner. Coffee was started, bacon fried, and waffle batter mixed, with the “beeeeep” of the waffle maker alerting us of a piping hot and crispy breakfast at the ready.
Fast forward ten years and I found myself in a similar environment. A house given an ironically similar name, “The Station.” Post-college I am living in the upper unit of a duplex with three women. In the unit below, live four of our guy friends. Our Sunday mornings reflect the Saturday mornings I had growing up, but this time the chaos doesn’t begin until cooking brunch starts after Sunday Mass. The sounds that fill the kitchen are of eggs frying, pots and pans smashing from their tower in our cupboard, champagne popping, and someone inevitably yelling in exasperation, “Where is the FRENCH PRESS?!”
I grew up in a “train station” and I now live in a home much akin to one. Eight people, eight schedules, eight parking spots to fight for, but also many warm and cheery voices to welcome me home.
In just a few short months, I am going to get married, and eight is going to change to two.
Marriage & transitions
Along with my current engagement comes a number of joys and a building anticipation of beginning life with a best friend, who will commit to me forever. As exciting as this is, I noticed a slight fear during those first few months of being engaged. My engaged friends kept saying things like, “I wish we could just get married tomorrow” or “our wedding date seems way too far away!” On the other hand I found myself a bit apprehensive about the transition from living in a household of almost constant commotion and spontaneity, to one that would be much quieter.
As I brought this concern to God in prayer, he has gently changed my heart! I’ve realized that although my life may be more simple it will not be plain. Rather, it will be a life of constant surprise.
Surprise? Yes. Surprise. Surprise because no matter what I expect, there is no way I can anticipate exactly what marriage will look like. There will be ups, there will be downs, but there is no manual. God is entrusting me with another soul. If that doesn’t imply adventure, I don’t know what does!
Simplicity in marriage may mean end up cooking alone when the other has had a busy day, stay home to watch Fixer Upper on a Saturday night, or we sit together in the living room working on different projects. Will it be quieter? It will. However, there is something beautiful in this simple reality.
Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI wrote that “the vocation to love takes different forms according to the state of life.” As the Catechism of the Catholic Church reads, “by reason of their state in life” Christian spouses will receive the graces to “help one another to attain holiness.” In a few months, my vocation to love will take a new form, and I can’t wait! This new form means that my every moment is intended to be in loving service of another, my husband, as we journey on towards Heaven, helping one another attain the great holiness of the Saints.
Susanna Bolle serves as Evangelization Manager for the Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis in the Office of Evangelization. She is a recent graduate of the Master of Arts in Pastoral Ministry program with the School of Divinity at the University of St. Thomas.
When she’s not reading and writing you can find her brewing French press coffee in her kitchen, spending sunny mornings and starry evenings with friends on her porch, reading wine labels in an effort to discover the perfect Pinot Noir and blogging about her travel adventures.