I wrote this some time ago, and pulled it out recently to reflect on it again. If marriage is a road trip, I’m so glad to be on it with my best friend —mountaintops, valleys, and the plains in between. As we onward go, we grow onward, together.
Though I wrote it in the context of marriage, I think it’s about all relationships really. The glue is the same: grace and love.
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‘For I will be merciful toward their iniquities, and I will remember their sins no more’ (Hebrews 8:12)
Even with the windows open, and the late summer breeze coursing through, the atmosphere in the car was thick with it: our back-and-forth, black and white, your-wrong-I’m-right barrage.
Because isn’t it the tragedy, that as well as the best, we reserve our very worst for those we love the most. Those closest to us, we often push the furthest.
And then he breathed them out, those game-changing, grace-giving words. Let’s start again. And I saw it, the tremulous white flag of forgiveness waving my way.
And I felt it too, how a hushed voice is more powerful at creating fresh-air than an open window.
When the pressure’s on —and it has been in our family lately, and isn’t it always, in this busy season, this busy life—we can put the pressure on one another.
Because, sometimes it feels easier to blame than to build, to criticise than to empathize. To pass the burden over rather than seek the burden-bearer.
And if marriage isn’t a training ground for humility and repentance I don’t know what is.
Let’s start again, he said.
Let’s let them go, all the harsh words, the heart-wounds we together inflict. Let’s let them fly out the window, out to the blue long-summer sky. Let’s let them evaporate like cloud dust.
Because sometimes the mess we make of things is so complex it’s simple and there’s only one way forward. And forgetfulness is a form of blessing. And let’s begin it over. Loving our neighbour, which means our partner too.
If the one you cherish most has the greatest capacity to be hurt at your hand, they also have the greatest possibility to feel your love.
And if marriage can be a battleground it can also be a building ground. Where we learn in flesh what we know in theory. That nothing is sustainable without grace. That forgiveness equals breath. That love is sacrifice, and sometimes requires creativity and effort, but that the return is bountiful.
Love makes room for second chances. And in second chances, love can be reborn even lovelier.
*Image by Rob Viuya
*For subscribers: apologies if you received this twice. There were some image problems the first time around.