In August Steve and I celebrated our 23rd year of marriage. Never could I have fathomed 23 years! Never could I have imagined how much better marriage would be now. It didn't make sense in my brain - to be old and to be in love sounded boring. Oh, how wrong I was... The safety and peace of knowing and being known is overwhelming in such a beautiful way. As we look ahead at our kiddos all being out of the house (still four years away!) I can actually have joyful anticipation. Who would have thought? As always, Wendell Berry puts words to my swirling thoughts...
The Blue Robe
How joyful to be together, alone
as when we first were joined
in our little house by the river
long ago, except that now we know
each other, as we did not then;
and now instead of two stories fumbling
to meet, we belong to one story
that the two, joining, made. And now
we touch each other with the tenderness
of mortals, who know themselves:
how joyful to feel the heart quake
at the sight of a grandmother,
old friend in the morning light,
beautiful in her blue robe!
I don't often talk about the idea of being beautiful. This is never a word I use when speaking of myself. But thankfully my husband does! What a miracle of God! :) That Steve would think of me as beautiful - that he would consider me his standard of beauty. It is a more valued gift than any other he has given me. How does this happen? It is a developed gift - not an instantaneous feeling. Of course when you are young there is that attraction of beauty. But I am older now, different than I was then. But my amazing husband has kept his eyes only on me. He has cherished the gift of me. He does not compare me. I do not ask him to. We do not talk of the beauty of other women or men. We work hard to avoid that pit of "Do you think I'm as pretty as...?" or "Who is more beautiful? Handsome?" He honors me and, though I don't deserve it, he loves me. God has honored this covenant with fidelity. I love that old fashioned word. It means the quality or state of being faithful. It's what makes the grandmother in the blue robe beautiful. It is what makes the man with the stoop and the cane handsome. Look at how thesaurus.com defines it:
Part of speech: adjective
Definition: loyal, reliable
Synonyms: affectionate, allegiant, ardent, attached, confiding, conscientious, constant, dependable, devoted, dutiful, enduring, fast, firm, genuine, honest, honorable, incorruptible, loving, on the level, resolute, sincere, staunch, steadfast, steady, straight, sure, tried, tried and true, true-blue, trustworthy, trusty, truthful, unchanging, unswerving, unwavering, upright.
What a picture of Christ. He is all of those things. He is true and trustworthy and unchanging. I am grateful to Steve for his fidelity - he is not perfect, but he is a reminder of Christ to me. He seeks to love me as Christ loves the Church. I am thankful.
Those of you who know us personally know that we are far from perfect. We have lots of issues! But, that's the beauty of it. Fidelity can be found in our imperfection. I don't write to brag on us, but to encourage you: what I thought was impossible isn't.