An Engaged Man's Thoughts, <5 weeks: Chasing Magic, Burning Houses


(before kasey & I even started dating, we did an overnight trip to the canadian border in search of the northern lights. A couple months ago, I wrote her a letter reflecting on that time. Yay.)

kasey rose,

I still remember the trip up. The shake on my upper lip as we took pictures… the way we sat… in some weird, ordinary way, it was because I saw you.

So many things happen in the events we remember. So many minute details sloshing around, so many people afloat in the sea of our memories. But you were the sea, and I was just a ship sailing in your infinite mystery.

I remember sitting with you in the backseat on the way up, looking at the dark orange clouds and feeling like I was plopped right in the middle of an adventure novel. That excited feeling of climbing up the state to get to that felt so big, cold, and unknown.

Do you remember it, rose? It was slightly terrifying, mostly unknown, and entirely exciting.

I remember climbing past Duluth. That’s when things shifted.

It felt like before there was some crazy, twisting, and unexpected thing called ‘in love’ that had always been and had always been somewhere beyond my reach. It felt like that crazy, twisting, unexpected thing decided to transpose itself into my life, showing up in heart flutters and child’s play.

Staring at northern lights for the first time in sheer awe, my right arm wanting your shoulder like a 13-year old boy at the movie theater. Awking like we’d been doing it for years. Conversing like kindred spirits while the other two were sound asleep in the backseat.

Do you remember it, rose? It was slightly terrifying, mostly unknown, and entirely exciting.

And the ride back down? Caffeinated pictures by the Duluth bridge. Hangover breakfast at a cute café, sipping more coffee so we could ignore our bodies for a couple more hours. Speaking matter-of-factly about life, tucking in the back of my mind that when you & I look at the world, we see the same thing.

Then dropping you off, feeling the slight tinge of awkwardness of leaving after accidentally bumping our souls into each other.

It was slightly terrifying, meeting up with this ‘in love’ thing at such an unexpected time. It was mostly unknown, because what the hell did either of us know about this ‘in love’ thing? But it was so entirely exciting, rose.

Well, all these times they come and go, and alone don’t seem so long ago. Over a year has gone by. We can’t rewind. We’re locked in time, but you’re still mine. Do you remember?

In the final analysis—so fantastic & incredible that Western culture only scoffs—we’re all kings & queens trying to remember our forgotten names.

I remembered us a little bit this morning.

It sunk down deep in my imagination. I’ve been living in my own self-shaped prison. Space, time, and a forest full of wood gave me all the tools I needed.

I was the carpenter of my own shame, contracted and enslaved by a system that never loved me anyway.

I was the architect of a house I never wanted to live in. I built it up, block by block and nail by nail, until I’d created something just big enough to feel cold & lonely and just small enough to feel trapped.

When did I lose the key that unlocked the door to the house from the inside? I’m afraid I’ve been trained to remember a loss that never happened, forced to forget a door that was always open.

We’ve all got countless opportunities for courage in this life. I don’t doubt that it looks like getting the axe for something you believe in. Or standing up when everybody else is beckoned to sit down. Waking up and getting up when you know life’s about to beat you down.

I know that some are called to throw on helmet & gear so they can run into burning houses.

I guess I’m just coming to know that courage for me right now looks like setting that house on fire and running frantically for my life.

House on fire, I leave it all behind me.

Dark as night, I let the lightning guide me.

My fragile lungs not about to give up on me now. I sprint through the threatening forest: they can’t catch me anymore. I make my way through the same city streets where I stole bread and fought for my own.

I run up the distant hills where rain pelts me and reality greets me. I fall flat on my face by the palace door, but by now I’ve heard frantic footsteps no longer my own.







Shouts my name.



Knees to the ground.

A former orphan swept in a king’s arms.

Hot tears mingling with raindrops on my face.

The beginning of remembering.

The beginning of restoring.

Together, rose, we’ll come right up to each other’s houses of shame & brokenness.

Together, rose, we’ll burn ‘em down.

Best of all, rose, we’ll chase life’s magic outside of them.


#stories #wonder #imagination #engagement