Love, 19 years later

We married in the church we still attend today,IMG_0995

surrounded by family and friends,IMG_0996

IMG_0979

IMG_0980many we’re still in contact with.IMG_0990

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Some we haven’t seen since that day and have lost track of.IMG_0969

Some, whose pictures make me cry bittersweet tears, are already with Jesus…IMG_0976

IMG_0998We said our “I do’s.”IMG_0985

We lit candles and took communion.IMG_0984

He kissed the bride. IMG_0986

His father pronounced us (finally:)) “Man and Wife” IMG_0987

and we joyfully walked out together.IMG_0988

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We fed each other cake.IMG_0997

We mingled with our friends and family,

then, with a quick run through a shower of bird seed,IMG_0983

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.

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2 Comments

Filed under Family, Meditation

2 responses to “Love, 19 years later

  1. McLauren Foster

    So true Lara, and so beautifully said! Jim and I got to the point where there was a phrase we said to each other when things were less-than-fairytale but we had that strange joy of being in it together….one would look at the other and ask ” You know what this is?” and the answer would come back, ” LIFE!”……

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