What Nepal Taught Me About Us

Nepal.

Unfortunately I forget which village this photo was taken in during our trek from Lukla to Everest Base Camp 1, but this is the “tea house” where Ben and I spent a few hours recovering after a particularly nasty bit of hike.

We had been trekking all morning when we came to the base of a very steep, very twisty mountain path. We were already high up and deep in the mountains, but there was still more climbing to go. Then it started to rain, then thunder, and as we started to climb, that rain turned to snow. Some places were so steep that we had to use our hands to help us climb. Ben had also lost his gloves, so I gave him one of mine and whenever our uncovered hand got too cold, we covered it with the warm hand’s glove.

After a long and determined climb, we had made it. This was the first building we entered and it was almost in wordless agreement that we did so. Too tired, too cranky, too cold, but we knew what we needed.

Once inside, I devoured two or three hot chocolates while Ben stuck with his usual lemon-ginger tea. Now warm and cozy, we became exhilarated by what we had just accomplished. We were tired, but reinvigorated, prepared to leave the balmy tea house and resume our trek. So we did.

I use this story as an analogy. Our wedding anniversary was this past weekend and had there been pictures, they would not have been Instagram worthy. We were now entering the one week mark of a fight. I was doing laundry, Ben was cleaning the kitchen, our 6 month old was grumpy. We had our Michelin Star pizza, imported Italian wine, flowers and cards just as planned, but any loving connection that every couple wants to feel on their anniversary was just not there.

So instead, we fought. I put our daughter to bed, came back downstairs, and Ben and I got everything out in the open. And it was the best thing we could have done. And the most romantic. And because we fought, what had started out as a very bad day, ended as a very, very good one.

In the past, Ben and I have celebrated our anniversaries on secluded tropical islands in Japan, historical downtown Charleston, Tokyo, and a mountaintop hotel. This year looked very different due to COVID and our daughter. Do I wish we could’ve spent it somewhere lavish and new? Yes. But would I go back and change it if I could? No.

Ben and I have been in a fast and furious part of life for 6 months now where we are learning more about each other than we have ever known before. We are growing as people and learning how to serve each other in the way the other needs. This whole journey started for us back in February and it has been a continual dying of the self for over a year now. It’s been hard and it’s been painful, but it’s beautiful.

We don’t do hikes because they’re easy, and we don’t look forward to the hard parts, but we do look forward to the view. To me, they go hand in hand.

So here’s to the little deaths, la petit mort, my love. May they keep coming, because I love the view more and more after each one.

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