Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Love Never Fails

Love is patient,
love is kind.
It does not envy,
it does not boast,
it is not proud.

The Captain's parents completed 40 years of marriage last weekend. What a thrill we had, to be in town and able to share that with them. To celebrate, the in-town children treated them to a magical evening at our finest local dining establishment, The Republic. Everyone present agreed that we felt transported to another time and place, outside of our normal lives.

On a personal note, I wildly anticipated this evening for two facts alone: steak, and a night out without the kids. The magic that occurred above and beyond that was pure bliss.

We celebrated them for the present. We raised a glass in joyful anticipation of the future. And we inquired about their past, reminiscing with them about people, places and events of their lives together. The look of wonder that shone in their eyes throughout the evening as we honored them, that for me was all the validation I needed that we had truly gifted them with something special.

[Love] is not rude,
it is not self seeking,
it is not easily angered,

it keeps no record of wrongs.

It always protects,
always trusts,
always hopes,
always perseveres.

Love never fails.

We honor those who accomplish milestone years in marriage. Do we assume they have always been deeply in love? Or that life has always been ideal for them? Do we assume today is the high point of their relationship, or that this milestone signals completion or perfection?

Of course not!

We all know that every relationship is full of ups and downs, times of plenty and times of struggle. Surely there have been times of warm fuzzies and times of cold shoulders. We heard last weekend about the ins and outs of a relationship that was stretched and warped at times by two individuals working in their own direction, in their own strength, to preserve the union for their own reasons.

But the evidence of time tells us that despite the challenges, the antipathy, the disappointments and the wounding, there have also been enough love and laughter, commitment and compromise to cover the gaps. The evidence shows days, months, years and decades of choosing this relationship.

The evidence shows how God can use two imperfect people to show the world that He can be enough. As these two spent their second decade of marriage meeting Him, then learning how to bring Him into their relationship, they grew in their understanding of Him, of each other, and of His intentions for relationship.

Through spiritual growth, they learned the meaning of unconditional love, of commitment, of the strength of relationship that comes out of knowing and being known.

Now we see but a poor reflection
as in a mirror;

then we shall see face to face.

The above quoted selections are taken from the Bible, the book of First Corinthians, chapter 13. This passage provides a lyrical yet practical directive of how to treat our loved ones. Yet we can all admit to having failed in our attempts to love others perfectly by this standard. I think that more than a set of rules, these words tell us God's standard in His love for us.

In our best moments, we dimly see the extent of His love. We see the benefits of being patient and kind to another, we understand what it means not to envy, not to boast, not to be proud. If, in our best times of love, we protect, trust, hope, and persevere with one another, then we are able to imagine that a perfect love from our Maker is even better than that, all the time.

But in our failings with each other, we also see what God must be like. Sometimes we are rude, and self-seeking with one another. Sometimes we are easily angered and we do keep a record of wrongs. (What? Yes, it's true). And in those times, where our needs are not met by the ones who love us, we know there is another Who loves us, to Whom we should be looking to meet those needs.

The standard of love set forth in these words is so high we can only aspire to reflect it poorly, like an ancient, distorted mirror. But it also gives us a certain freedom. It allows us to fail in our relationships and yet grow.

We grow in our attempts to reflect love better.

We grow in our ability to forgive the other for not loving us perfectly.

We grow in our understanding of what God's perfect love looks like.

And we grow in our desire to seek and hold on to that love, the one that sustains us and will never disappoint.

The celebration of God centered marriage is the celebration of God's perfect presence and perfect love, in the lives of two imperfect people.

We are so blessed to have this model, not of perfection, but of four decades of God's direction, forgiveness, and grace, in two lives that touch so many.

Jim and Dawn, may God continue to bless you both for many years to come.

Oh, and p.s., I think that for two imperfect people, you are pretty close to perfect.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Krista, I've been gone from blog world for so long. I love your blogs new look. And the pictures are awesome. I can't wait to catch up.


Thanks for stopping by! I love hearing from you.