Just over a year ago, I wrote about engagement season- about the joy and the ever-close grief – that time from my single self. Who knew that a handful of months later, I would be entering into the very season I wrote about, one from the engaged side. You can read more here.
You’ve dated and dated enough to have found yourself in the infamous and anticipated marriage conversation. It’s a rush and then a panic and then a big mystery.
Then you waltz your way into the banter about how you hope the proposal will go or what the ring might look like with your closest friends, wondering around which corner there might be a specific question waiting.
You’ve gone out on countless dates with the person sitting shoulder-to-shoulder with you, and before you know it, you’ve claimed the title. And by the title, I mean you are among the engaged crowd. Sporting that ring, story, and satisfaction of the fiancé-d life.
And you know what happens after. The next thing you know, you’re the one showing up at the doorstep of a home with too many cars to count outside of it. You’re the one walking through the door with the love of your life by your side, waiting to be greeted by the most love-filled dwelling in the entire town.
You’re engaged and your people have shown up to celebrate with you. It’s that look-around-and-soak-it-all-in moment that you hope will never end. And in some particular ways, it doesn’t. It’s different, it’s intriguing, and it’s unfamiliar from this point of view. But what you do know is you’ve entered into a short, significant, unique season of life.
On one hand, engagement season from the life of the engaged is surreal. That person sitting across from me is the person I get to spend the rest of my days with on this earth. It brims with anticipation and excited anxiousness. This is a season of satisfaction – that the days, weeks, months and years, the countless hours of investment have finally clashed into one of the most beautiful images of a love greater than us. Admittedly, I love the celebration, the gathering of friends, framily, and family. I’m all in with the love, the gratitude, and the preparation that engagement season inevitably brings.
And on the other hand, it’s months of shifting, changing, and bargaining that often feels unwelcomed and out of place. It doesn’t take long to realize and remember that engagement season isn’t really only about you and the love of your life, but it’s about a community of stories and lives that have carried you from the beginning of you through the present you. It’s a breaking of old to create room for the new, sometimes showing up in the most treasured of places.
But between it all, living life in the middle if you will, there’s both the bitter and the sweet of such a season as this. After all, it’s when we learn to live with the bittersweet that we learn to show up open-handedly to all this life has to offer us.
It doesn’t take long to realize engagement season is a season of presence. It’s an experience marked by showing up and showing up fully, which is what makes this equally a season of pure joy and one of shifting sands. It’s too easy and arguably also too dangerous to hone in so much that we lose what this season is all about. It’s too easy and also dangerous for us to detach from who and what is around us. And it’s too easy and also dangerous for us to forget what the life that brought us here meant to us. So we show up, we remain present absolutely to the one we said “yes” to, and we also stay true to the people who poured their lives into our becoming. Because it’s this tribe that celebrates and grieves when it’s necessary to both celebrate and grieve.
And showing up means the most when it comes without an agenda, without condition. Yet one of the most confusing postures of this season is the one of knowing. Knowing that he or she is “the one.” Knowing what that day will look like and knowing all of the wild adventures that will come your way. But when you dig into it more, the more you find that engagement season is simply a season of saying yes, showing up for the occasion. It’s a season of knowing just enough to take another step forward. Because saying yes to another human life forever for the rest of your life is a radical act of trust – trust in a deeper, more significant story than one person could create – a trust that can only be given by only knowing so much. It’s a sweet side of deepness that is seemingly hidden and unknown, almost an unlocking of self that we didn’t even know was there, and it starts with saying yes. That’s what it’s about – trusting people, trusting community, trusting the path you’ve blazed until this point to spur you on towards the person you were always becoming. It isn’t always the most well-crafted outline, but it is the most settledness of the soul.
Yet through it all, the one gift that keeps all of us moving through the inevitable engagement season is grace – in the messy and the beauty, for me and everyone around me. Try on for size that engagement season just isn’t about two people; it’s about all your people, a tribe of relentless champions that loved you well into this place. Sometimes engagement season – a time of infinite celebration and excitement – can also feel like grief season. It’s an ending of one thing, a loss of life as we knew it, and an entering to a new place. An unknown place, for you and for everyone else. An uncharted place, for you and everyone else. It requires trust, but it begins overwhelming grace for the adjusting and the moving and the changing of what was to what now is.
Friends, it’s engagement season. The very best we can do is the very best we can do, and the very best means honoring ourselves and the journey we steward every single day. It’s all part of our becoming, part of where we were always going. And the biggest gift we can give one another in a season marked by change, growth, and newness is our full presence, our trust, and our grace. After all, it is engagement season that is the season of both deconstructing and constructing the very life we set out to live.