As my husband Scott and I packed up our apartment to move, I came across a box of my old diaries. I could barely lift it. It held twenty-seven volumes, my life from the sixth grade to adulthood.
Flipping through the diaries, I was pulled pleasantly back into my past. But along with this nostalgia came a needling feeling of loneliness. And I started to wonder something: how much does Scott really know me?
I looked at the box of diaries. How much of all this can anyone know?
One of the most amazing things about marriage is the insider knowledge that you acquire about your spouse. After being married to Scott for a year and a half, I can describe the minute variations in his breathing as he falls asleep. I can predict, with laser-like precision, the outfits that he’ll don for social occasions. I can usually tell what he’s thinking when he grows silent. I’m sure he’d say the same about me.
But as I flipped through those scrawled pages, I was reminded of the years before I knew him. Although I’m still the same person at my core, many things have changed.
I think of my college years
in particular, when I was Catholic in name only, openly critical of my childhood faith. I remember the varied adventures of a semester abroad, which convinced me that I was more European than American. There are romantic involvements in those diaries too. I can read about some of them with a fond smile; others make me cringe.
The entire me
It’s strange to think that my husband doesn’t know all of these little details. Sure, I’ve told him about the major events, the highlights, but he missed out on some of the most formative periods of my life.
I realize that there’s no one human person who knows me fully, start to finish. Somehow that thought makes me lonely… shouldn’t someone know the entire me?
Searched and known
Then a psalm comes to mind. “O Lord, you have searched and known me. You know when I sit down and when I rise up; you discern my thoughts from far away.” (Psalm 139:1-2) And these words are soothing.
It’s true that there’s no one person who has been with me through every breath of my life—but God has. God has seen my story unfold, has marked the changes in my personal growth on the doorframe of heaven. There are no gaps; he’s seen every diary entry. He even knows the events that didn’t make it into the diaries, the ones whose significance I can’t yet begin to grasp.
What an immense satisfaction it is to know that someone has been privy to the whole, complete, unabridged me.
The wonder of transparency
I love sharing the present and future with Scott. As our marriage unfolds, we keep learning all kinds of stories about the years gone by. It’s an intricate process of growth, of knowledge.
But somehow I don’t feel the need to rewind and replay the entire past for him, frame by frame. I’m not alone with my memories, but curled in the palm of God’s hand, wonderfully transparent.
As I’ve been since the beginning.