I was just minding my own business, cleaning the kitchen late one night, when the most beautiful song came on the radio. I laid down my dish scrubber and listened, hanging on every word. It seemed to be a song about marriage--real marriage--the tough, excruciating parts. It was also about love, the realest, toughest love. I sank into a chair and put my face in my hands when I heard these lines:
Maybe you and I were never meant to be complete.
But could we just be broken together?In an instant, I was back in the unbearable pain of a dying marriage, powerless to save it. And now, after months of happiness, tears streamed down my cheeks.
When the song ended, I just had to hear it again because despite the pain it stirred in me, it was exquisitely beautiful, and these days I don't often take the time to appreciate beauty. So I googled the video, which paints a vivid story of lost dreams and bitter disappointment that end in healing and reconciliation.
Are you married, or do you hope to be married one day? Or do you know someone who's married? Then you need to watch this video. Go ahead, watch it. I'll wait for you.....
Anyway, after watching the video twice (or maybe three times), I went to my prayer closet for some much needed time with my Beloved. I told him all about my bitter disappointment and asked Him why it still hurts me so, after over two years. I asked Him to hold me, to quiet me with His love. And He did. After that, I slept like a baby even though the sink was still full of dirty dishes.
Since then, I've heard that song over and over on the radio. (Evidently I'm not the only one who loves it.) I've gotten to the point that I can listen and sing along without shedding a tear, but it still gets to me. I just can't stop thinking about the beauty of marriage, and how so many of us miss it because it isn't what we dreamed it would be. I keep thinking about how different real love is from the romantic crap they feed us in the movies, starting with Disney when we're little girls.
It's bitterly ironic because now I really get it. Marriage is incredibly tough, no way around that. No matter how amazing your Prince Charming seems when you're falling in love, he's going to hurt you because he can't be perfect. And you're going to hurt him too because you too are far from perfect. But if you can be real with each other, if you can accept each other for who you are, if you can love each other the way Jesus loves us--well, I don't know. I've never been there. But I believe it must be so beautiful on the other side of the struggles that lead too many of us to divorce.
Now I have all this untried wisdom and a different sort of idealism than before, but I don't see myself marrying again. See, I'm not just divorced, but twice divorced. I doubt that the third time's the charm, so you can understand that I'm in no hurry to get involved with anyone, let alone get married again.
Honestly, songs like "Broken Together" leave me a little confused. On the one hand, I can appreciate the beauty, and I can thank God for the way He designed marriage, and I can rejoice for the others who get to experience that. But on the other hand, I feel left out, as if this treasure is only for other people, not for me. Because I had my chance (two chances) and I blew it.
Last night, I heard the most amazing story of an every-day marriage with all the struggles and joys of 39 years of commitment--for richer or poorer, in sickness and in health. The tenderness and toughness of this love story made me choke on a sob. Yes, this was exactly the kind of love I'd been thinking about.
For just a moment, I felt the usual stab of alone-ness as my own crushing loss took my breath away for the thousandth time. But then, I smiled for my friend, and I thanked God for giving us marriage.
Soon after, I had an epiphany. I don't have to be married to experience the kind of love in the Casting Crowns video. I am broken, and I am surrounded by broken people, and we can be broken together. I can love my friends and my neighbors and my sisters and my brother and my parents and my kids and the young girl at my favorite grocery store the way Jesus loves me. I can love them with all of my heart, soul, and strength. I can serve. I can give myself. I can be real with them so they can be real with me, and I can love them all exactly where they are despite all their imperfections. And many of them will love me back despite all my imperfections.
What a gift our Father has given us all, in this capacity to love! Life is way too short for me to waste time wishing I could go back, or wishing for a different future. God has put me right here for a very important purpose, and He has given me only one command: to love others as Jesus loves me.
I think I'll start with these two.
|Ethan, age 17, and Allyson, age 8|
And you, too. Thank you for reading.