On June 3, 2013, Jared Scripture moved in with us. Two things you might ask:
1) Is his last name really Scripture?
2) Who is “us”?
Yes, his last name is Scripture, and the “us” is Gwyn, the beautiful woman to whom I am married, and myself. We’d been married just under a year when Jared came to live with us. I remember the night J (as he is so affectionately nicknamed) told us he got a job at Holland Hospital and asked if he might stay at our place for the foreseeable future. Or at least until he moved to part-time and/or found a spot nearer to Holland than his home on the southeast side of Grand Rapids.
This idea excited me. I lived with Jared in college; together, we had our share of shenanigans. We formed a “band” named Avant Ska-ros (an amalgamation of avant-garde, ska, and Sigur Ros) and broke a closet door during a regular “jam session.” We spent two to three hours trying to throw a donut-holed frisbee onto a pole that stood up out of our outdoor fireplace. We falcon-punched our way through hours of Super Smash Bros, pulled long Law and Order SVU marathons, and consumed buckets of frozen pizza.
Then, J called me about a week before he was set to start at the hospital.
“Listen,” he said, “the thought of me living with you and Gwyn for a while certainly sounds like a good idea, but I think you two should talk about the reality of it. I mean, I’ll actually be there. In your home.”
This I responded to with something like, “Yeah, you will.” The rest of the story I’ve already told (see the beginning of this post): Gwyn and I talked, we decided we truly wanted to give it a go, and Jared moved into our one bedroom townhouse, slumming it on a beat-up futon in the half-finished basement.
Too often there is a disappointing rift between the idea of something and the reality of it. A few examples: I like the idea of going to the beach, but once I’m there, I feel like I’m on Tatooine. I like the idea of being famous, but I suspect the reality of it is I would end up like JB at a Miami Heat game.
There are exceptions to this rule, of course. The idea and the reality of a good book in the shade match up, and so does the idea and the reality of a shower after four days roughing it in rock, moss, and dirt.
But it’s rare that reality exceeds an idea or transcends expectation. Maybe an unconscious reason Jared wanted us to seriously consider the move-in had to do with social expectation—you know, that overarching narrative in which a young married couple catapults themselves into adult life as soon as the knot is tied. Gwyn and I unknowingly put that expectation on ourselves when we were first married: we both felt we needed to nestle quickly into our careers, end one chapter (college) and begin another (adulthood). Yet, the reality of Jared moving in with us shattered our idea of what it meant, or means, to “become an adult.” And while the idea of J living with us was exciting, the reality has been something else entirely, filled with breezy summer nights and ever-growing friendship.
On the surface, it looks like the three of us are just looking back wistfully to those dog days of undergrad. But we are not reliving college. We are making midnight IHOP runs soundtracked by Blink-182, watching eight Harry Potter movies in eight days, and dancing the night away while playing Ticket to Ride. We’re living in the reality that in life chapters don’t end; they bleed together.
Brad Zwiers (’12) graduated from Calvin College in 2012 and Western Theological Seminary in 2015. He will not be graduating from any more schools. He often stares at books he wishes he could read but knows he will not finish and goes for long walks with his wife, Gwyn. Sometimes he plays basketball and always he follows the greatest sporting club in the world, Liverpool F.C.