Please welcome today’s guest writer, Emily Jensen. Emily graduated from Calvin in 2016 with an interdisciplinary degree in education, kinesiology, and recreational therapy. She currently lives in Arlington Heights, Illinois, and works in the testing lab for Bosch Power Tools. When she’s not working on power tool function, she’s using her personal power tools to complete many DIY projects in the new house she lives in with her fiancé and new puppy.
September 18, 2019, was the day my life changed for the best. Little did I know that when I walked out of the house that morning, I would return to my boyfriend at the door and a fireplace aglow with fifty teacup candles lining the hearth and an engagement ring placed strategically in the center. This proposal was the real deal, unlike the dozens of preceding fake-outs where he’d bend his knee to tie a shoe he wasn’t wearing. We were so excited to take this next step in our lives, and nothing could take the joy of that moment away. They say ignorance is bliss, and those moments came in spades. Moments turned into hours, hours to days, days to months, and then March happened, bringing all of that joyous momentum to a screeching halt. The blissful ignorance was over.
Before the apocalypse—I mean, pandemic—planning the wedding was smooth as silk and rather fun. The anticipation for our walk down the aisle filled our regular date nights with venue research, guest list compilations, and finding the perfect photo-op locations. Wedding planning sparked a new level of anticipation for our life together, and it all would start at the end of the altar on a date that was seemingly way too far away. Daydreaming about what the next year and a half would bring filled my heart with more joy than I thought it could contain, and coupled with my love for the man who just asked me to marry him, I was certain my heart would explode in the best way.
This pandemic has caused a lot of heartache, frustration, and uncertainty, among many other feelings and emotions words may never explain. I’m not alone in saying it’s impacted my upcoming wedding, and most of my pessimism is centered around whether or not it’s going to happen. I’ve thrown my thoughts of this wedding turning out the way we planned into a relentless downward spiral invading COVID-19’s not-so-barren wasteland.
Planning a wedding in a pandemic has presented some major challenges, to say the least, but perhaps what frustrates me the most about it is the backlash and second-guessing we receive following the all-too-frequent questions, “how’s the planning going?” and “are you sure you shouldn’t postpone?” The intrusive impositions send me running for the hills with a firm grasp on my Alka-Seltzer in one hand and Tums in the other. These plaguing questions eat away at me like termites on a tree, making me wish this distress was over, thus rendering me useless in trying to defend or even to give an answer altogether. With all the stress these questions bring me, I harbor that stress and unintentionally activate the “fight” in my “fight or flight” response, forging a bloodthirsty battle between my brain and my heart. We have to choose whether or not to go forward as planned based on the uncertain outcomes of vaccine distribution, which is impossible to know even for experts, let alone the average civilian.
If I’ve learned nothing else from this global health crisis, I’ve learned that no matter what happens with this virus, or how many daunting questions—either from our families or ones we’re internally discerning—our wedding will happen when it’s supposed to happen. Maybe that’s a different time than initially planned, and I have to come to terms with that. Maybe one day looking back at my wedding and planning won’t be as painful as I think it will be. While so many things remain uncertain, one thing is for sure; neither my fiancé nor I am giving up on our relationship, so our wedding will happen. It may or may not happen when we planned it to, but with the vaccine on the cusp of being available to those who desire it, our once-dwindling hope sees a little more growth in light of such darkness. Transferring that from my brain to my heart, though, gets lost in translation. Letting go of our hopes and expectations for a day we’ve both long anticipated is incredibly painful, hence our delay on making the call to postpone or not, just in case we actually have a fair shot at the wedding we wanted.
Whether or not our May 15 is spent in lights with our dear family and friends, or at home trying to pry myself out of bed, the most important thing is that we’ll still be spending it together; everything else is just gravy.