Tonight, Jacob and I played diary roulette. We were meant to be swimming, but because of COVID-19 regulations you had to pre-book a slot in the pool and we didn't know that. So we tried to walk home.
I say tried, because we had to stop at one point and give up because my knee was hurting too much. Mum came and picked us up, the same Mum who hugged me this afternoon because (as she said) next year she won't be able to hug me like this, not when we're married.
And there in one paragraph, the happiest bit of my life as I think about the future and the saddest as I feel the present, and perhaps this is my life summed up in one sentence just for now: I am engaged to the one my soul loves, and I am crippled by a knee injury that persists and confounds.
I'll start with my knee.
On the 11th of September, Jacob and I woke up at 4.30am and spent the next 18.5 hours running intervals of 2.1km around Punggol Park so that at the end of the day (three showers, three meals, three sports bras later) we'd done slightly over 42km each. It was to raise money for Just Love, it is the hardest thing I've ever done physically, and it was so much fun. But three days later, I decided to run again. And the day after that, I decided to run again. And that day, my knee began to ache and then gradually hurt so much that walking became a navigation of pain.
I don't know what it is, and each time the pain subsides and I wait and I listen to medical advice (initially from friends, then from a doctor who I went to) it seems to get better, and then I tentatively run again and pain returns. I've struggled with feeling betrayed by my body, useless, restless, impatient, hopeless, fat, and fearful that I won't be able to do the thing I love with such blissful thoughtlessness again.
Today Jacob carried me up the forty steps to my house when the pain got too much. 'You know, our future home doesn't have a lift,' I said, 'You'll be stuck carrying me like this if I'm like this forever.' 'You won't be like this forever,' he said.
To think of forever with Jacob is a happy thought. He asked me to marry him on the 16th of August in Fort Canning Park as the sun went down. We had a couple of weeks of just being engaged - telling people slowly, seeing their reactions and smiling and laughing with them and smiling and laughing with each other because it's still a wonder and a mystery, how two people decide that they want to be made one. Since then, we've begun to plan and been blessed so deeply by the grace of God, and also seen our own sinful tendencies - Jacob's tendency to paralysis, mine to frantic, impatient action, both of us to giving too much, too soon, to each other. But we make these mistakes together, and we forgive, and we love again and more divinely.
Diary roulette goes like this: you lay out your old diaries and number them in your head. The person you trust picks a number, and you pick up that diary and thumb through it and he says 'Stop.' with his eyes closed and then you read out what you wrote. And you read out words you wrote about your anxiety, and listening to him play the organ, and the comforting words of a hymn, and how thankful you are that he loves and forgives even when you forget the keys and ruin the breakfast plans.
A while ago, Jacob sent me this poem. I listened to it on a walk this week, and it was all of life and more, so here it is:
Catalogue of Unabashed Gratitude (by Ross Gay)