The morning after we arrived at Disney brought all sorts of anxiety. The day had come. My husband was going to have to face my parents. We had to go to the runner’s expo to pick up our bibs for the race, and who should we see waiting in line for the bus before us? My mother and father. We hadn’t planned it this way. I’m sure my father wanted to go early and make sure he got his bib first, take a look around and survey the area, then head back to the hotel before the crowds showed up. What he didn’t count on was the fact that he had raised me and I had the very same plan. So, there we were…the four of us…on a bus together. God, I love my parents. They truly are gems. They were polite, realized this wasn’t the place to make a scene, and then carried on trying to make this experience as positive and joyful as possible for me.
We arrived at the expo and in true Hill Family fashion, we stopped for every photo op. We were one of the first in line, we checked out the course, we made a strategic game plan for the race. My parents had signed up to run a 5k with me the next morning, then my husband and I would do the half marathon later that evening. I’m a beast that way. After we had taken care of business, my parents left the expo and my husband and I finished getting things settled for the half marathon. Of course, I’m the kind of wife that thought, “We need to take pictures of this experience together. Once we work through this blip in our marriage, we’ll wish we had documented this momentous occasion.” So now I have dozens of photos of us pretending to be happy in the happiest place on earth…se la vie.
We returned to our hotel room and soon after heard a knock on our door. My mother had arrived to speak her mind. I wish I remembered everything she said. She has a knack for words. I do remember sitting on the bed next to my husband while my mother pleaded, “Help me understand your thought process. Tell me where you’re at in your head.” How difficult it must be for a parent to listen to their child’s spouse say the things my husband said about me. I am telling you that it is only through the Grace of God that my parents were able to not completely destroy my husband. The lack of respect my husband showed me, my parents, and our marriage…and he is still standing today. That’s Grace. I remember my mother praying with us. I remember her wise words about marriage, about commitment, and most importantly I remember her explaining that life isn’t supposed to be perfect and happy and easy all of the time. Marriage is hard, and how you handle the hard is what truly defines who you are.
She left, knowing she hadn’t truly been heard. Pillar of strength that she is, she wasn’t going to quit. That evening we each had separate dinner reservations. I figured this was best for all involved. My husband and I ate dinner and walked around the shops in the Downtown Disney area and once again ran into my parents, who were browsing in the same store. Looking back, this should not have been a surprise to me. I grew up going to Disney and my father and I enjoy all the same “Disney-esque” experiences. Of course we would both be in the same shop. My father, whom I adore and admire beyond, went up to my husband and said everything he needed to say in one sentence: “I just need to know, are you in…or are you out?”
My husband couldn’t answer him, which was all the answer my father needed. We went back to our hotel room to get to sleep early and my husband complained that he had been treated unfairly by my parents. My inner voice was saying “You’re still alive, so if I were you I’d be thanking my lucky stars.” Too exhausted to fight, I fell asleep without allowing him to provoke me and feeling thankful that I had such strong warriors looking out for me.
My father’s question to my husband was simple enough, and I think about it often. Are you in, or are you out? It can apply to so many aspects of life. Because if you’re “out”- you need to admit that to yourself and act accordingly, but if you’re “in”…you better be “in” with everything you have. You better be “in” with your entire being. You better eat, breathe, sweat “in.” The “in” is where our passions lie, where our heart lies, and where we come alive. My prayer is that I answer all of God’s callings to my life by being “in.”
John 10:10 “The thief cometh not but to steal and to kill and to destroy. I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.”