I was really bummed I missed #MusicMemoryMonday yesterday.
Instead of whining about it, though, I've decided to live by what could be my life's mantra: "Better late than never."
They're words I wrote several months ago, during a winter retreat, but ones I wasn't brave enough (ready) to post then.
After spending Saturday feeling like a nerd at my own husband's rock concert, I realized just how much I need a reminder myself, of the lesson I learned that weekend.
Whether you're "with the band" or not, maybe you'll find some comfort, encouragement.
- - -
Him out exploring with the guys from the band, me laying in bed with tummy troubles, in a room that smells like wet carpet and years’ worth of lingering BO.
I thought just choosing to be brave by coming here, stepping out of my comfort zone, would be enough.
I thought it’d get easier after getting here.
I thought I’d realize all my worries were in vain, that I’d get so “wrapped up in the Spirit,” that all my “worldly” troubles would cease to exist.
I thought wrong.
I expected overt, immediate miracles to happen.
Instead, I am realizing that I can’t outrun my cold, or myself.
I am learning slowly, very begrudgingly lately, that most of us don’t have a Paul conversion, a blinding moment followed by a 180 degree turn.
We don’t go from killing Christians to giving our very lives up for Christ.
We go from moments/years of self-loathing and struggle, to giving up, going before God, and then trying again. And again. And again.
We spend much of our lives wishing “walking the faith” worked a bit more like magic, wondering when things will suddenly be different…
All the while quietly, stubbornly refusing to move much.
We want a better life.
We just don’t want to work for it.
Or even bend for it.
I spent most of last night struggling to sleep, fighting coughing attacks brought on by a cold that’s moved from my head to my chest… trying all the while not to wake my poor, sleeping husband who was inches away from me on a double mattress that is half water bed, half trampoline.
And let me tell you something.
This is not the “victorious life” I thought I was promised.
This is not the dream I had for myself, the one I thought would magically happen because it seemed good, which I thought meant it must be God’s will.
This is a nightmare, an embarrassing, awkward nightmare.
But this is my life. Right here. This messy, seemingly God-forsaken moment.
And in my physical weakness, I'm forced to question my self-reliance. I'm forced to face the truth, that I can't do everything well all the time.
I'm forced to see myself as human, fallible, a mess even.
But I also get a chance to see where true strength comes from.
I see an opportunity, to develop some healthier thought habits.
I have a chance to take a deep breath, and to remember this as a spiritual retreat.
I have a chance to stop trying so hard, and simply be.
Strange experiences, like being sick at church camp, would be a lot easier, I’m sure, had I not created such unreasonable ludicrous expectations in my youth.
As a teen attending Christian camp, the musicians’ wives always seemed like the coolest people on campus.
They always had just-came-from-the-salon hair. They were edgy (at least for Southern Baptist circles). That meant they had nose rings, pink streaks, or fashionable scarves around their necks, even in summer.
They had perfect skin the second they woke up, and eyeliner that didn’t smear, even after the perfect amount of unattainably cute crying during really moving songs.
They were beautiful. Flawless really.
They were outgoing, and cool.
They never looked like they were trying too hard. They didn’t look like they were trying at all, actually.
They just exuded awesomeness.
And they couldn't be more different than me.
As a musician’s wife of going on thirteen months now, I have yet to show up at a gig with fresh makeup, or a nose ring.
I have shown up with a sweaty brow from unloading heavy equipment from the back of our beat-up Jeep, and tired eyes from late-night practices, photo-editing, and arguing about another visit to Guitar Center.
I don't exude awesomeness; I reek of trying too hard.
And deep down I'm not trying to be better, or to do my best.
I'm trying to keep up with the Disney-ified version of a Band Wife I bought into in my youth, instead of accepting my role as Mikael's wife, instead of learning the delicate art of being me.
This trip in particular has been especially memorable, in that I couldn’t be farther from the glamorous images I have pinned in my mind.
I sweated so profusely during last night’s “worship” set, that I felt like the evil witch in Wizard of Oz.
It’s only 11:30 a.m. as I write this, and already my cheap eyeliner is inexplicably smudged.
Instead of spending the morning out shaking hands and exuding a level of coolness that teen girls can aspire to, I ate a cold sausage biscuit, alone, in a giant dining hall.
And that was followed by a not-so-spiritual “quiet time” here in the smelly room, struggling with tummy troubles, and wondering why I’m not at all like those glamorous wives I saw growing up.
I’m a grunt, a roadie, and a weak one at that.
I go nearly catatonic in large groups of people, and speak so softly in regular conversation that my husband can barely hear me.
Despite weeks of advanced notice I ended up packing so frantically for this trip that I forgot essentials like tennis shoes, and a hairbrush.
"Clearly I’m not cut out for life on the road, much less looking pretty behind the 'merch' table," the evil voice whispers over my soul.
"I am ill-equipped at best. Awkward in my own skin," it taunts.And yet, here I am.
I’m a woman, married to a musician, one I prayed for, one I love...
A man I vowed to stand beside, for better or worse, in sickness and health, and through all kinds of band stuff…
But I also can't sit around waiting to be made into something different, while stubbornly refusing to budge.
I can't let the insecurities I let stop me in my teens keep me from becoming the woman, the grown-up and the wife I want to be...
I know now, more than ever, that I will never be the “Band Wife” I looked up to all those years at camp.
If she does exist, she is certainly not me, a gal with perpetually chipped nail polish and a heavy sweater under pressure.
But I am also learning that those weaknesses don't disqualify me from being a good band wife.
And they definitely don't mean I can't be my husband’s best wife.
Because what my husband really needs isn't a hairdo and a painted-on smile.
He needs for me to show up, the real me...
The one he promised his life to, for better, for worse, and for those "nothing to wear" times too.
It's time I stop dreaming about the life I wanted as a kid, and time to start taking steps towards the life I want now, as a woman, and as a wife.
It’s time now to roll up my sleeves and work towards the “abundant life” I was offered as a Christian, instead of waiting for it to fall from the sky.
It’s time to act on what matters to me, to worry less about what doesn’t, and to find my footing as my husband’s other half, knowing my dress size and hairdo do not define me.
It's time to show up, as my real self, trusting that's good enough.
Being a good wife isn’t about perfect salon hair.
It's not about pore-less porcelain skin.
It’s about living out the commitment that was made, in sickness and in health.
It’s about giving one’s best, for better or worse.
It’s about standing by his side, cheering from the sidelines, or manning (womanning?) the merch table as needed.
But mostly it’s about being present. And supportive.
And proud to be a band wife, proud to be his wife.
And I am, so proud (and thankful) to be married to a man whose helping me to become my best self, flat hair and all.