In all the best ways, nothing would ever be the same again.
When the days become too full of decisions, disagreements, offenses, stresses, and drama, my mind returns to that hall in the Getty museum. I recall the bold, powerful strokes of dark charcoal on ancient paper. I feel again the magnetic pull of my heart toward the one man it would choose to love for the rest of my days. And I remember the choice made then to give what I could of myself and take what he had to offer of his own soul.
Every small day adds up to our own personal forever.
Love is both delicate and strong. It binds our hearts together when storms rage. Love revives us on the days we fear we will never find a safe place again. But each of us also bears a great power in the love story we write with our choices and words: we can wound too easily the ones we love.
Sometimes I wonder what it would be like if people could go back to the beginning, and view the years through magic glasses of the blind trust and hope they had when their hearts first dared to love. What grace would our younger souls offer to the brokenness we had not yet felt? What mercies would we lavish? How many more white flags of surrender would we be willing to raise over our lives to save the love we treasured with naive hands?
Every marriage has a Rembrandt room experience. There is a hazy memory of the time bare skin first touched, of a rainy night that drew shivering souls closer, of a mountain view that opened up the possibility that this love really was different than all the others. From that memory, lost love can be found, ancient trust can be excavated, and hope can alight on hearts once again.
Once upon a time turns into happily ever after when we believe that our words and actions and choices matter, and that the most tender marriage is built one vulnerable moment of grace at a time.