Father’s Day and 27 years.
Hey babe, I haven’t written to you in a while, and I know how you like my blogs and all, so here’s my heart again. With each year we seem to fall a little harder …in love, that is. No really, it’s true, wouldn’t you agree? With each passing year our original groove where we first fell the hardest, gets a little deeper and makes it harder for surprises to threaten who we are together. Sure, some of those surprises take their best shot at tearing down who we were, are and keep becoming, but so far every threat has only been used for our good and God’s glory and only proves to press us deeper into Him and harder into one another instead of pushing against God and away from one another. God has a way of turning what was meant for evil into good when life plays hard, and if we sit a while we get to see what He is up to and how somehow we not only fell in love 27 years ago, but fell into God’s plan for this covenant made for three.
Some people try really hard to stay in love, long after they tried really hard to fall in love. We didn’t seem to have to work at it…we just fell and never got up. Some people search long and hard, scanning websites, malls, bars, even churches for the right mate and others just fall…. There’s risk in falling, but if in the fall you come face to face with true love, then you’ve won, and the victory was worth the fall and the fight all along. That’s us, babe.
Maybe since we fell so hard the first time, in some odd way that seemed to soften the blow of how many times we would stumble in marriage through the years. The first fall was the hardest and I remember it well, we left quite a dent. It’s a fun story to tell to our kids over and over. Their young adult faces light up, accompanied by an eye roll or two when we tell them it was love at first sight. We locked eyes at the start of 1992 and haven’t looked away since. I think I know your eyes better than my own, but isn’t that the way it’s supposed to be? They have a way of reminding me who I am when I look into them.
Little did we know how many stones we would dodge after the fall, stones that never seemed to make contact……if we just stayed low enough….right where we started. We were good at throwing them at one another, too, but when you stay low, like us, the damage is never irreparable.
Maybe we never even had to duck. Except that time I shattered the glass shower door with the iron. yeah, you ducked then. There was a lesson in that one, let me tell ya. God did a little shaking and a siftin’ in me, a little pressing and a crushing and I got a little lower. The dirt was welcoming to my knees and our groove got deeper. True repentance is supposed to bring change and healing. The book is true. It did. I never threw another object at you. Mercy. Mercy falls while you’re in the dirt….in the valley. There seemed to be a path carved out in mercy leading straight to heaven for us in low places, in the “I’m sorry’s’ and “I love you’s.” Maybe we learned to love hard in the valley while arrows flew right over our heads in the heavenlies. Oblivious at times. The valley has a way of teaching us we don’t wrestle against flesh and blood but unseen authorities, principalities and powers.. that are relentless in waging war against our souls, and our covenant. If they can break a marriage covenant, they can mock the Bridegroom. We learned if we resisted the enemy and ran to Jesus, the enemy was sure to flee, and we could PRAISE the Bridegroom. We did, and our marriage is a living and loud declaration of what defeats Satan’s mockery, (Revelation 12:11).
When I fell so hard in love with you my dearest love on earth, my best friend, my husband, my goose, I didn’t know God would say, “stay right there…the ground is a good start. The lower you go, the deeper you will love….marriage is often a crawl not a sprint. Marriage is forged on your knees, not under your feet. Marriage gets low and stays low in order to serve the other one, even when the other one can’t serve you back. Marriage stays in a position where it first fell in love. Marriage looks up from below, whispers secrets of the heart that soar along the echos of shouting reminding the other one how to come back down and reposition oneself victoriously. It reaches out a hand instead of putting up the hand. Kisses instead of scorns. Feeds instead of devours. Sees the one you fell with as a gift to cherish and not the enemy to run from, even when the enemy tries to raise you up in pride, you stay low and examine yourself before, or often after, trying to rise above your mate.
Jesus stooped down and drew a line in the dirt. God formed man out of dirt. Jesus taught parables about soil and seed. Jesus taught us how to wash the dirt from one another’s feet. He came to dwell with us in the dirt. He wasn’t afraid of the ones who were dirty. He mixed his spit with the dirt to heal a man’s blind eyes. There’s something about the dirt, babe.
A husband who falls with his wife in that place called love and stays low is a husband she looks up to. You didn’t do it perfectly, babe, but my respect has only grown for you first as God’s son, a man created in His image, a co-laborer in life and family, a business man, a husband, a father. If you’ve proven anything, you’ve proven your dependable, reliable, loyal, hardworking, passionate, and that your vows to me and to God stand firm. Here we are with three grown adult children who you still show up for, pour into, lend a hand to, love and continue to teach about adulting. Your’e good at that. Remember your the choleric and I’m the sanguine. You’re the realist, or as I like to say, “the funsucker” and I’m the one trying to make it fun. But if our children are a mix of a funsucker and a hyper-optimistic fun-magnet then God knew what He was doing. I’ll leave it at that.
There is something else that falls often as hard as two people falling in love at first sight and that thing is grace. And when grace drops down from heaven, it puts you back in your place so you can protect your groove and settle in once again to who you were created to be together, drawing on the familiar and discovering ever changing nuances, tracing new lines on old skin, inahling familiar scents that actually trigger endorphins in the brain of comfort, security….. and exhaling once again…yeah, that’s us…..
Oh of course there are mountain top experiences…..but you can’t get there without trudging the valley. And what after 27 years you get in a squabble in the kitchen trying to enjoy a season of empty nest and your desire to be right overrides the enjoyment of just the two of you? Do you stomp off or do you reach over to touch familiar skin…older skin…. and say I’m sorry? Watch stern aging lines go soft……..a reminder you’ve been together a while…those lines. I”ll pick skin over silent rights and rigid body language. I’ll take waking up to a kiss instead of left over anger still brewing from the night before. Even if it means I get to say sorry first, from that low place. The low place understands forgiveness and heals…often in an instant. Love does forget when it keeps no record of wrongs. Funny how my list of wrongs grew shorter. Funny how I can’t remember them even when I want to remember them. Maybe that’s menopause, maybe that’s my groove in the dirt…..
And now here we are 27 years since we fell deep in love and I can honestly say, I love you more today then I did then. I like our low place together, its our groove and we fit there. Over the years we have learned which buttons not to push, the small ones and the nuclear ones, we’ve stayed away from those the last few years. It’s as if we got to study one another in the low places….like those war movies where the men are lying in the dirt making plans against the enemy. Time is short and they need a plan. Sometimes its an ambush they plan, other times they are getting ambushed. They had to stay low and hidden in order to do that. out of the enemies eye while on his territory. It was there they made vows, promised never to leave the other, promise to carry the other to safety, promise to take care of one another’s families should one perish. I feel like those war buddies crawling through mud together,staying hidden in Christ, cuz this world is a war babe, and even if Jesus is my hero, you’re my battle buddy. Cuz we don’t war against flesh and blood but we wrestle against powers and principalities and authorities in the heavenlies. and if we’re going to make it we need a plan wrought in the dirt, eye to eye grit, mud on our bellies, heart to heart loyalty, covering each other’s back while the enemy stalks us all he wants….
There’s a new season before us my love, and its rich with blessing, cuz we hear better now….the sounds of heaven are clearer down here which seems backwards but wasn’t that the life of Jesus? He humbled himself in the form of a servant and he always heard His Father’s voice. He knew the secret of life and love and success in relationships. Go low and stay low. Serve the hardest to serve…. even when it’s your spouse. love the hardest to love….even when its your spouse. Forgive the unforgivable, or at least what you think is unforgivable, even when its your spouse. When I grieve the Holy spirit is when I start looking down on everyone else in the dirt, and then I remember where I came from, and where we started when we fell….
I love you, babe and I love our groove. When we fell hard…..God had a plan…
and hell shook…..
HAPPY FATHER’S DAY!
Isaiah 57:15: For thus says the One who is high and lifted up, who inhabits eternity, whose name is Holy; I dwell in a high and holy place and also with with him who has a contrite and lowly spirit, to revive the spirit of the lowly and to revive the heart of the contrite.