You're asking me will my love grow . I don't know, I don't know. You stick around now it may show. I don't know, I don't know – The Beatles
Eight years ago I walked down the aisle and joined my hand with yours. We knelt at the altar separate and raised together as one.
That first year was easy, wasn’t it? Everyone told us that it would be hard, that we would fight, trying to figure out who we were in the union of two becoming one … but it wasn’t like that for us, was it?
We played at house, going to grad school, hanging out until the wee hours of the night. In that little apartment on Walnut Street (Stomping on wedding dresses because the closets were too small). Making stupid financial decision, together, going to the Bahamas on$5 and a dream. Eating French fries and drinking coke at the hotel bar because we couldn’t afford anything else … discovering Dominoes delivered the 3 for 15 deal and eating a slice a day until the boat trip back to Florida …
Oh, and Florida. It was in our bones, wasn’t it dear? From you saying at six years old that you wanted to live at Disney World, to us deciding to spend a week there for our graduation present. To the call that came that gave us a week to move to our new home, 1000 miles from our families.
At first, we missed Arkansas. The town that had sheltered you and I through grade school to high school. The traditions of visiting the haunted light … walking the railroad tracks together and visiting the “V” seemed so far away. But, we were here, and we were going to make it work. And it still was easy.
The challenges came, though, didn’t they love? In difficult workplaces that tore at my soul and made me lose a little bit of myself. You, telling me not to call it church ,while they took my dreams, my talents, my call from God and hung it out to dry. You stood by me when I said, even then, even in the hurt, God had ordained me to lead, to preach, to serve the least of these. You carried tables and filmed videos at the homeless shelter while I gave my heart and soul away to the lost and the needy. You embraced me, encouraged me to come back to myself, be who I am, the woman you have loved. I stood tall in your love, and have never looked back.
Then, we became parents. And, that’s when the real struggles came. We weren’t prepared for the new way having a child would make us change and grow as people. We have adored this son of ours, and everyday work to be the best Mom and Dad we can be. But, even in those moments we heard ourselves arguing more, struggling more with work, home, parenting, date-night … the first two years of Jude’s life were what the first year of marriage was SUPPOSED to be like. And that’s okay. Because even in the doubts, the fears, the frustrations we are still us. Like a tree, we stand with our limbs intertwined around each other, as one. Swaying with every storm … we bend in the wind, but we do not break. Because, this love we have, it can’t be broken.
We are in this together. We’ve spent a lifetime already growing together. We can remember our third grade teacher (and how, she is pouring herself out even now for third-world Missions, how did that NOT affect us?) We remember our senior English teacher who is home now with Jesus but how she helped make us who we are. We remember, ten years later, at our High School reunion. We have lived so much of this life together … but life really began when we stood in that little hometown Church and committed ourselves to God and each other.
Every step since that day, every decision that has been made. It’s been together. No hierarchy needed, just two of God’s children, submitting equally to one another … letting God take the lead and guide us both. And when we brought our son to this world, we invited God back in again … we placed him in Baptism, letting God’s prevenient grace pour over him in water as it continues to pour over us. We've walked the dirt roads of Haiti and slid down trash heaps in Mexico. We've given ourselves to God -- and to each other.
We have a hope and a future, my dear husband. We are two cords, but we wrap ourselves up in another cord … three cords that cannot be easily broken. We are beloved to one another. We are one.