By Hollywood’s standards it may not look like much. Because it’s a steady love without a lot of upheaval. It goes to the grocery store together, pays for emergency room visits and once in a while goes on a vacation. It has none of the mystery. By Hollywood’s standards.
But by real life standards the mystery is there. How can two people who fell in love when they still looked like children love each other more with so much change? How can they wake up every morning to stress and kids in the bed in between them and know without a doubt that they made the right decision so many years ago? How can they make four children, knit together in their DNA, and love them fiercely and have those four point back to an even stronger love?
I simply do not know how it works. I know a few things that help: commitment to each other, a willingness to apologize and gratitude for the gift. None of which come easily. Apologies don’t always fly off the tongue as quickly as the words that created a need for them. In the middle of the laundry cycle and cleaning the garage, gratitude is not always the first feeling, but it is a choice we choose.
Which probably is the clue behind it all. Choice.
Choice to allow the other person to change. To not only give them permission, but to celebrate it when it happens and push them toward it when it needs to. It’s a belief we can be better and we should be better for each other.
Choice to start fresh each day. This very morning began with apologies that resulted from harsh words the night before. No perfection here. None at all. And when we recognize that as the standard, we can more easily start again.
Choice to love in all stages. We really had no idea what we were saying on our wedding day. The vows were spoken as earnestly as they could be in our naïve understanding of what was ahead. And now those promises matter. In circumstances we didn’t foresee, but choose to push through.
Choice to love. That’s right beyond the feelings, to the actions. Of service and going to work and cleaning up the mess and stress and exhaustion and hurt. It is a choice to do even when we don’t feel.
All of these things we try our best to work out. And still there is a mystery. Of why us? Why now? And that is where we are grateful. That in all of time and place, God would allow these two souls to bump into each other. That does have a bit of a Hollywood ring, but it is so much better than a 90-minute script will allow. It is a lifetime script that will continue to be played out in our four littles. There is something of eternity here that is part of the beautiful mystery.