Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Two Years of Marriage: The Beginning of a Masterpiece

Today is our second wedding anniversary. Looking back at our marriage so far, Tracy and I seem to sigh, look at each other with exhausted expressions as if to say "whew," and then smile and laugh.

We've been through and done a lot these two years. We've moved twice, lived in three states (four including Arizona for two months), finished school (me), started grad school (Tracy), started new jobs, finished old jobs, dealt with physical problems (my surgery), dealt with financial problems, had a death in the family (Tracy's aunt), and had two new nieces born (one on both sides). I won't lie--we've had hard trials, frustrating arguments, tough decisions, and physically and emotionally painful moments. But we've also had meaningful discussions, sweet reconciliation, sincere expressions of love and kindness, increased closeness, and priceless laughter.

I had an professor at BYU who told me that marriage isn't work; it's art. At first, I just thought that was her marriage. Her husband taught psychology. He knew how women worked more than most men. But I realize what she meant by that now. When an artist creates a piece, he or she spends hours and hours on it, using carefully calculated techniques, paints, and strokes. It is, in a way, work, but the artist doesn't see it as work. The artist keeps in mind the beauty of the end result. He or she uses the goal to guide what strokes, colors, and brushes to use during the process. So while the artist is working to create his or her piece, it isn't work in that the beauty of the piece compensates for the work put into it. I think marriage is beautiful only when we have put time and effort into making it as such. So it technically is work. But we need not see it as tedious or annoying.

Having been married only two years, I can see that our artwork's canvas still has a lot of space and potential left. (The above painting isn't ours, even though it is pretty darn cute.) We're trying to keep the goal in mind, but we're enjoying the little moments along the journey. We love each other and are grateful to everyone who has helped us long our way so far. We are also grateful to the Lord who has blessed our marriage and has helped us through those hard times, so we can get back to those precious happy moments.

Well, Tracy, two years down . . . and eternity to go!!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

The Silver Lining to a Very Dark Cloud

Just in case my handful of devoted readers, who mostly were around me when everything was happening, are concerned about my neglected blog, the biggest reason I have not posted anything in so long is that I have been in the hospital.

On June 25 in the year of our Lord 2009, I, Lacey Kupfer Wulf, experienced the worst pain of my life from a ruptured appendix and underwent immediate surgery. Because of extra harmful fluids in my abdomen, fevers, and other complications, I stayed in the hospital for the longest twelve days of my life. For at least six of those days, I was on a strict clear liquid diet of jello, broth, and juice. I was poked with needles daily, woken up at all hours of the night, almost accidentally operated on unnecessarily, and blown up like a balloon with IV fluids. To drain these harmful fluids, the doctor put a tube through my bum, which was soar and uncomfortable, not to mention embarrassing. Perhaps the hardest to bear, because we are in the process of moving, we have no insurance--no guarantee that we will be able to pay the hospital for almost two weeks worth of care.

Although the last two weeks have been horrible, frightening, and discouraging, in reality I have gained so much. This dark rain cloud does have a bright silver lining.
1. I have a year supply of free juice boxes, free bandages, and new thermometers from my hospital room. Yay for $FREE.99!!
2. After I gained ten pounds from IV fluids and after they took me off the IV, I lost fifteen pounds. I'm pretty sure my total weight loss will be more than five pounds though.
3. For almost two weeks, my family got to enjoy cable television, a luxury they do not have at home. TLC's new show Cake Boss is pretty good when you have nothing to do--for all of you with cable and a lot of time.
4. Because of all the poking, I am almost over my fear of needles. (Keyword: ALMOST) I probably could start donating blood now because of it.
5. I have always been a modest person. I would change in the bathroom for PE in school, and I hated bra shopping because my mom would see me without a shirt on. But now after having nurses and doctors ask me about my bowel movements and see me practically naked almost daily and needing my mom to help me shower, I think I'm basically over any embarrassment of exposure.
6. I appreciate my health so much more. I can walk, bend over, get up out of bed, eat normal foods, shower myself (sponge baths aren't that bad, but it's better to do it myself and thanks again, mom!), stand up to brush my teeth, brush my own hair, and do so many other little tasks that were so hard while I was sick. I appreciate my body and its intricacies, even though that's what got me in this mess in the first place.
7. I got to spend more time with my family. Tracy left to find housing in Texas, and although I have missed him a lot, I have my parents and siblings around to visit me. I thank God that this happened to me in Arizona with my family instead of Texas or Washington or Utah or wherever. I truly believe the Lord knew I wouldn't have been able to make it emotionally, especially with Tracy gone, if I didn't have them.
8. I've learned to have patience with myself and the Lord. There were days when I thought I would never get out of the hospital and I would never stop hurting. I was so frustrated that something always hurt, whether it was my stomach or my side. I wanted to go home. I wanted to stop hurting. I wanted to go back to being me. My body is still healing, and I still feel a little frustration with myself, but I know I will get there steadily.

As ashamed as I am to admit this, I remember wondering why I even had my dad and Tracy give me several priesthood blessings--they weren't working in my eyes. I wanted the instant healing. I wanted the pain to stop. I wanted to be home. But I know now that I needed to be there to learn and gain these things (obviously the last few more than the first). I know the Lord puts us in hard situations for our benefit to learn and grow. I hate being in a situation and trying to ask myself, "What can I learn from this? What does the Lord want me to take from this experience?" But it has made the whole mess more bearable. I know the priesthood is a real power, and even though I wasn't instantly healed, I believe in its power and those who carry it. I know He hears our prayers even though He might not grant the blessings we ask for. He loves us individually. He has a plan for each of us that will make us happier and better than our own plans would make us. I know the Savior lives and has born our sins, but even more than that, I know that He has born my sorrows, my pains, my trials, my frustrations, and all the unfair things that happen to me. Even though I'm crying as I write this post, these are tears of joy and love and appreciation to my husband, my family, the doctors, the hospital, modern medicine, and the Lord. I am doing well, and I am happy.