Our lives met that summer. Paths crossed and eyes locked. Love tiptoed in and grabbed hold of our hearts and turned them right over. Although everything seemed just perfect when we’d met for lunch, counting the hours until we could talk or see each other again. Trying as hard and we could to be reasonable about this whole relationship thing. Yeah. Like that happened. Then you put a diamond on it in November. And the rest is a flurry of white satin, fresh calla lilies, and covenant-making, with fondant on top.
I threw what few things I had left at my mom’s house into my suitcase that significant summer day and we loaded into my little Honda CX – now ours – and I followed you north without looking back. Instead, I looked…at you.
When you talked. When you ate. When you listened. When you didn’t even know it. My eyes were fixed.
We had to start making a way in life – now ours – and sometimes it was as clumsy as a three-legged race…trying to work in tandum but tripping up and falling down and wondering if we’d ever move forward in this mission God had for you and me – now us.
When no one else saw us he did and in mercy he told us to take up our mess and walk.
“For that is what God is like. He is our God forever and ever, and He will guide us.” (Psalm 48:14)
I met your people and they became my people. Your meat-loving appetite influenced me. And you even started to consider food from Panera to be a meal, not a snack. But what I began to notice wasn’t that I was becoming more like you or you were becoming like me but that we were becoming us…a whole new unity…not completely you and not completely me, but absolutely right.
Almost without noticing, we were moving forward together without struggle, not even always side by side. And that was fine. We had a mutual trust and a deeper understanding that freed us to do what we needed. Still my eye would catch yours across the room and you’d throw me a heart-melting wink and our world would stop momentarily – eyes still fixed. But then my people, your people, our people…all His people. We were on mission.
Then it came time to leave those people and I found myself still looking at you. Not back. I chose you again over my comfort and familiar.
But along with the narrowness, also comes a chance to widen my heart, to make room for more people to love and more love to grow for the same people, including you. Because God’s love is an ocean and from my heart should flow waves of it reaching all He can through me.
Following also means I doubly feel the joy and pain of the path. We see the pain of our people and carry that pit in our stomachs along with them. We see the the Spirit drawing attention to Christ in someone’s life and we have no greater joy! But too, I see my sin struggles and I see your sin struggles. I feel my need for the gospel but I also feel your need for the gospel. You struggle through a passage you’re preaching on and to some degree I do too. We are united. When your heart gets cut mine bleeds. And when you smile my heart laughs.
Did anyone tell me marriage is borrowing another persons trouble and triumphs and gladly taking them as your own? Your sickness, your health, your poverty, your wealth. It’s all mine too. Marriage is raw commitment. Following is counter-cultural.
But I’ve seen you forsake all you have to take me up with my sin struggles and untamed tongue and stunted fruit-bearing and wake up with my bed head and bad breath and it’s beautiful. And I know you’ve carried my cross more than a time or two. Day after day it’s a flesh and blood example to our kids of what Jesus did for them. It preaches to our neighbors that there is a better way – albeit not perfect – than the craziness of all the redefining the world’s trying to do.