We mingled with our friends and family,
we were off on our new life… that honeymoon life of young love.
And then, suddenly, three degrees, eight moves, five apartments, two houses, four babies, eight jobs, three lay-offs later, it’s been 19 years to have and to hold from that day forward. And what do you do, with those years of giddy love and infertility? Of graduation and unemployment and underemployment and everything in between? Of those never picture perfect moments? When the days are hard and the nights are harder? When that fairy tale doesn’t turn out like it does in the story books, there’s no white horse for the prince to ride on, just a beat-up old car with no AC or radio for the prince to drive to work in his cubicle? You learn what love–real love really is. Not that ooey-gooey feeling you have. Feelings can come and go, almost on a whim, like a fickle breeze in spring. It may start out as that rush of emotion, but love with roots, no way does it stay there. It goes beyond fairy-tale feelings to the deep places of the soul and
“you learn that love is not some marvelous way you feel, but some hard thing you do.”
(Elizabeth Goudge in The Scent of Water)
Love that works night shifts and waits tables to keep everything afloat while he finishes college. That lives in an attic apartment only partially heated and cooled. Love that hoses off the driveway in a steamy southern August, after your pregnant wife throws up on it after a trip to the grocery store. Love that clings together during infertility and miscarriage, labor and delivery, new jobs, job loss, pain and anxiety. Love woven together on purpose and with intention, because the “I do” was not just on your wedding day, like you think in the beginning. “I do” is every day. Every hour. Some difficult days, it’s every minute; with every breath. When it’s not a matter of emotion, it’s a matter of will, and the cry “not my will but yours be done, Lord” is the cry of the head and heart of husband and wife that’s heard in the throne room of heaven. And the tapestry of life, the dark valleys and light mountain tops, shot through with the purity of agape love strengthened by the Holy Spirit is more beautiful for the both, and that cord of three strands is not easily broken. And this life that has been made together through blood, sweat, tears, and will is much more precious than any ethereal fairy tale ending you initially thought; because real, hard, life–lived in His Power is beautiful.