Before we were married, I thought love would make life richer and more beautiful. I had it backwards, though. It is life that makes love gain in beauty, with its days full of both hard things and good things, with its months wrought with changes and transformations, with its years of trouble that blossom into decades of new vitality.
The years have certainly worn on Mr. Fantastic and I a bit.
Like the stuffed rabbit in the proverbial tale who found that love made him real as it tattered and wore him, we can't help but be real after all these years.
We have carried each other around and occasionally dropped one another by accident. Selfishly we dragged each other through the dirt a few times, and often held on to the other person too tightly because joy or sorrow overwhelmed us.
At first glance, from afar, we look a lot less scuffed up than we are. But if anyone watches or listens for long, they learn the truth: we love each other more than the other deserves. We have forgiven greatly, sacrificed much, believed the best, endured the darkness hand-in-hand, and rejoiced together when dawn broke with all its glory.
Ours is a velveteen marriage, held by a God whose real love for us makes us real. He sees our wrongs, our sins, our shortcomings, and forgives us. He pours His mercy into our hearts for one another so the forgiveness can be passed on.
We love each other to pieces. The love in our hearts is our most precious possession, and it grows exponentially with the wrinkles on our faces and the days crossed off on the calendar.
God's love goes on and on, never diminishing or failing, more real than anything else we have ever known. It never fails us, even in the darkest fears, the loneliest moments, and the angriest storm.
With that love coming to the rescue again and again, real is all we know how to be. The realest things are often invisible and rarely tangible, but when they touch you, you are never the same again.
Life slips through our hands so quickly, and the memories fade into dreams of what once was. But love birthed in those memories is ours forever. And it is the most beautiful thing we will ever behold.
"We don’t yet see things clearly. We’re squinting in a fog, peering through a mist. But it won’t be long before the weather clears and the sun shines bright! We’ll see it all then, see it all as clearly as God sees us, knowing him directly just as he knows us!But for right now, until that completeness, we have three things to do to lead us toward that consummation: Trust steadily in God, hope unswervingly, love extravagantly. And the best of the three is love." -1 Corinthians 13:12-13 (The message)