These are the names of … Not Andy, but our first cat.
We have too many bizarre insides to our world. Print Fox. Rimmer. De. Bobby. Hunyatta. Equanami. Fiefski. Moles. Carrie. Hammer. Crotch brothers. BYB. DSF. Don’t deny it. Where’s honey? Cartwright. Big Mouse. Poppy.
I could say all those cliché things people say about anything long-lasting like “time flew by” and “has it really been 10 years.” Of course they’re totally true and what sticks out in my mind the most. Look at the photo above taken a year into our life together.
Babies. We were babies.
There are few words to describe our time together. Miraculous would be one. Everything from dealing with the unfavorable odds of both being clergy, both being older siblings, and both coming from strong cultures, and both generally being stubborn asses to having children together despite infertility. Miraculous. To be sure we’ve worked hard but a higher power of Love and Grace has helped tremendously…no, wait, “helped” is an understatement. Without God’s presence and steadfast love we simply wouldn’t be here.
Ten years. Even though we’ve never done traditional gifts I was curious what it would be for the tenth. The symbolism of tin/aluminum is striking and a really apt description of something we have learned – and are still learning DAILY – about a marriage is that it “needs to be flexible and durable and how it can be bent without being broken.”
Flexible. Durable. Bent without being broken.
We’ve lived and loved in the midst of juggling, negotiating, and maintaining two clergy vocations.
We’ve lived and loved through moving, adopting animals, the death of loved ones, and school.
We’ve lived and loved through near foreclosure, two pregnancies (both of which were really unexpected in their own ways), and more school.
We are living and loving through managing three littles under the age of three, ministry, writing books, and yeah, three babies in diapers (4 including Ellis, though she isn’t in diapers).
It’s a strange and wonderful endeavor this marriage-thing. I’m auditing a course at the university called “The Politics of Marriage,” and have learned so far that the concept of love and romance as being a driving force for marriage is a recent shift in Western culture as a result of industrial revolutions. Marriage for economic and social reasons was the norm. And on this side of marriage both are reasonable.
But it’s love – the “greatest of these” and the irrational and wild – that makes the most sense. Money, property, social capital – all that wouldn’t be enough for me (although I don’t deny that in many ways they would certainly make life much easier). I’m not talking smooshy, silly, swoony love but love-that-chooses-every-day-to-stay. The butterflies and dizzy-spin of first love is indescribable, but it’s temporary and not meant to be permanent. Real love is love that changes people, shapes people, grows people. It looks so different from what we are shown in books and movies but ultimately is so much more wonderful. So much more real. So much more what we were meant to live out.
We have learned to bend and stretch in new ways. It’s a mess most days. There’s a lot of shouting. And laughing. And mistakes and hurt. But those moments where there is brokenness the other always picks up the pieces. Thank God.