This Valentine’s post came hard.
After several hours of pursuing fruitless lines of argument, google searches and my own collections of notes and quotes I flung myself on the sofa resigned to not writing a Valentine’s post after all. Valentine’s, anniversaries and other rituals of love have never really been our thing. Buckling under the terrible pressure of having to write meaningfully and authentically about LOVE!
I had thought the Ian and Larissa video expressed what I wanted to say about marriage until I watched it through again. I tied myself up in knots before I realised I had no idea what I really wanted to say and even less of an idea of exactly what their particular story could tell us outsiders about our own marriages or relationships. After all this is their once-only-never-again unique story. It has been a tough journey for them and they have earned their reward. We have our own tough paths to tread and our own rewards to enjoy. There are plenty of books, podcasts and videos on marriage and relationships but the true fact is you have to walk it for yourself. In a world where the nature of marriage is being fiercely debated and many struggle with the burden of broken relationships, disappointments and injustices I just want to let this story speak for itself.
I laid down my pencil and released myself from the tug of the empty page. I remembered that you can only ever really write well from what you know and the things you treasure in your own heart rather than treasures borrowed from somewhere else. I can’t make a good blog post out of someone else’s story and I can’t encourage you in someone else relational practices, not even my own. So if I do have a post then this is it: in individual life, in marriage, with friends and in church you need to be yourself, be comfortable with being yourself and find others who are equally comfortable around you when you are being yourself. In turn you’ll grow to be happy and good at listening to others telling their stories with all the hard truths, failures and disappointments as well as the joys, dreams and triumphs.
In Sunday school last week we were making play dough animals and we talked with the kids about God and why He created the universe. One little girl said she thought God wanted to tell a story and that He wanted us and all the other creatures to be in that story. It seemed so beautiful for a child to see God as a great storyteller and especially that she believed herself a character in that story.
I somehow feel more loved and secure when I think of myself as part of an on going creative work, a story that has been told by God since the beginning of time and continues to be told today. I am called into the story in this place, at this time, with the people who surround me in our tiny corner of the plot. I’ve glimpsed the ending (I think) and though I’m often not sure where the storyteller is taking me, I sense how we are all moving towards the final chapters and the resolution of some of the loose ends and unresolved tensions. I was reminded of Mother Teresa who said,
I am a little pencil in the hand of a writing God who is sending a love letter to the world.
So go live your story, every beautiful and terrible moment of it. Live it exactly how it is without reservation. Write in bold and authentic script a sparkling testimony to your own true self and find some trustworthy people along the way to share your story with as they share their story with you.