Two are better than one
Because they have a good reward for their labor
For if they fall, one will lift up his companion.
But woe to him who is alone when he falls,
For there is not a second one to help him up!
If two lie down together, both stay warm,
But how can one stay warm alone?
If one is added strength, two will stand before him,
And a threefold cord is not quickly broken.
Last weekend, Jen and I had a date night while friends of ours had the girls over the dinner. Rather than our usual Indian food and driving around, I randomly suggested two things: (1) trying an Ethiopian restaurant down the road in Coralville; and (2) in order to kick off the fall, going apple picking at one of the well-known orchards. Neither of us had been apple picking in quite a while, and so we headed that way.
When we got to the orchard, it was packed. (Game days equal busy days.) Additionally, the orchard was probably the largest I had ever seen, with a long downhill-then-uphill trek up to the rows of apple trees.
We started looking at the trees, hopeful for something to work out. One tree’s apples are mostly rotting, full of holes, or fermenting on the ground. So we try other trees. Same thing.
This goes on for rows and rows of apples that are supposed to be ripe at the present moment. The two of us are looking at each other with a bewildered look, wondering how such a massive orchard could have such few good apples. Both of us started to think that this could possibly be the worst apple orchard we’d ever been to. Yet, inside, we had this desire to come back with apples that we picked ourselves, and we kept looking.
But something happened to turn things around, and it was when we saw trees full of solid-looking red and green apples on a row called Regent, which were apples that were slated to be ready in a couple of weeks. Jen and I looked at each other and came to the same realization: we don’t need the apples to be ripe now. They can age at home. We can wait. It will be worth it.
Gradually, we start to find apple after apple. Our baskets gradually fill with our finds, eventually totaling 17 pounds worth. It took a lot of branch bending, diving into foliage, and difficult searching to find those apples. As the time creeped closer to closing time at the orchard, we started the walk back together, joyful with our find. We were tired enough that we didn’t make it to Coralville, instead opting for amazing Mexican food closely at a restaurant themed after Frida Kahlo.
A day later, the opposite of a good date night happened.
Jen started having flu symptoms, and I fell victim to them the day after.
Both of us went from amazing date night to being so sick that we had to call in friends to pick up/drop off from school, and were out of commission for two whole days. The two of us tag teamed to do what we could, sleeping as we could and praying we wouldn’t have to be rehydrated in the hospital. Eventually, our symptoms vanished, and we went back to our usual schedule. But it was probably the worst flu I’d ever had in my life.
In those opposite experiences, Jen and I were together.
In the frustrations of barely being able to stand up, we somehow got things lined up for the kids to go to school.
In between rows and rows of what seemed to be endlessly rotting apples, we dove deep.
And even in our acute viral grossness, we were at least together, as a couple, living the struggle as the duo we were meant to be.
Since that happened, I’ve had a stronger sense of peace, knowing that I am surrounded with a strong safety net of people to help us, and that my wife and best friend- even if she’s struggling equally- is alongside me.
That clarity made the flu weirdly worth it.