Friday, February 13, 2015

My Valentine

This day before Valentine's Day...

as I scroll through facebook and see pictures of flowers and candy and jewelry and cards and remember the excitement of early love...

I'm reminded of how easy it is to get lost in the everyday.

Lost in the mundane and the busyness and the hurtfulness, and lose faith and lose hope and lose sight.

Love is supposed to be magical, right?

Except it isn't.

And as I read Ann Voskamp's blog and wipe tears from my face and inhale the smell of roses that will be dead in a few days, I think long and hard of what love truly is.

This word of mine, of 2015.


It's so hard to define... and I've been focusing on Christ's love, which is the ultimate love... but today I pause and reflect.

We're told in the Bible to love each other as ourselves. Husbands are encouraged to love their wives as Christ loved the church, and that includes loving the unloveable, which is me...

And him.

I've seen anger burn hot and heard words that burned...

but, I, too, am guilty.

But I've also saw vulnerability as his arms wrapped around me last year at the hospital. Even though at times I feel invisible, I've known what it means to be known when my eyes meet his across the gym.

Most of the time, it's just a message to bring him a Diet Coke... but it's that known communication.

Sometimes, those arms that wrapped around me when Grandma died are the only place that I want to be because regardless of all of the mess-ups and the failures and the words that aren't really meant...

This.  Is.  Home.

I'm not the person I was on our first Valentine's Day in 1997... and he isn't, either.... but that's ok.

And as I wipe tears away from my eyes reading these words... "Marriage changes us into strangers who have to meet and introduce each other to love all over again.
None of us ever know whom we marry... Who we say ‘I do’ to —  is not who we roll over to touch twenty years later.  The challenge for the vows is to fall in love with the stranger to whom you find yourself married."

Marriage is a challenge. 

But in the quietness of the night, when I don't have words to say because it has been a terrible, horrible, very bad day... I don't have to speak...

because it's understood.

And on the nights when the ball hasn't bounced the way he's wanted, when the game plan just didn't work, when the tie was torn off before the first quarter...

he can say what he needs to say.

I'd like to say that I always offer a listening ear, but I don't. And I'd like to say that it's always sunshine and roses, but it's not...

Because we are human.

And as we've evolved from strangers to friends to spouses to friends to strangers and back again... I'm reminded of walking in the dark.  The road is familiar enough so that even if it is dark and starless I can find my way, because I know it in my soul...

And while tomorrow will hold true for lovers everywhere,
I'm reminded that  more importantly, true love lasts on those days where nothing sparkles bright and where no good gift is seen...

True love is hanging on when you really want to let go.

It's picking back up when you've fallen... not in love with your heads in the clouds but flat on your knees in defeat, stuck in the mud.

It's recognizing that as much as you'd like them to stop leaving the TV on in the living room when they walk out, that habit probably isn't going to be broken... so you quietly turn the TV off without saying a word.

It's making peanut butter and jelly sandwiches at 3 in the morning and not complaining when she irons your pants and they aren't as crisp as what they should be.

And it's knowing where  home is, and what it means to get there...

I know that Wallace Bates will never read this, and that's ok.

He probably wouldn't even get what I'm trying to say, because he's not good with written words and romance...

(some things really do never change)

But on this Valentine's Day eve, I'm thanking God that after those roses sitting on my cabinet die... at the end of basketball season... in the warm summer sun or the gloomy winter days...

There's no other person I'd rather call home.

Because even though we have been strangers several times over the last fifteen plus years...

finding my way into this familiar, even in the vulnerability, allows me to be fearless.  Or at least to keep standing in the face of my fear.

Perfect love casts out all fear... and as Voskamp says, love is not blind.

For me, it's being able to feel my way in the dark, knowing that while I may not be able to see, I have someone to help me find my way, even when I think I'd rather be lost.  

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