Everyday Faith

Smack Dab in the Thick of Things

Ten years ago today, I spent my morning quietly trying to pass the time. I hadn’t slept much, having slept on my parents’  couch and woken up at least a dozen times overnight in anticipation and excitement. I wrote a letter to my fiancé (like, an actual pen-to-paper one). I took a shower. I chatted with my best friend and answered texts from friends and family members.

Eventually, I put on my sister’s button-front shirt and a pair of shorts and made my way to the church. We stopped for smoothies on the way because, as everyone kept telling me, “you’ve gotta eat something.” I wasn’t hungry, though. I was too excited to think about mundane things like eating.

A seemingly endless hour of hair-curling. A fit of laughter trying to get my shoes on under the layers of white satin and crinoline. An awkward attempt at doing my makeup and several second and third opinions about how much blush would be enough. Posed pictures and overheard whispered secrets (“The air in the church is out…should we tell her?”) and finally…the long walk to the sanctuary.

The day was extraordinarily special. It was the day I said “I do,” changed my name, and danced with hundreds of eyes looking on.

And as extraordinary as the day was, it lead to a lifetime of extraordinarily ordinary moments.

Today, the day that marks ten years since that steamy August Saturday, has also been spent quietly passing time. I woke up sore and with a headache from a restless night spent on the floor of our sick little girl’s room. I slipped a card onto the kitchen table, eager for my handwritten note inside to be read and curious what the card next to it held for me. I texted with a few friends, smiling at their congratulations and well-wishes. I watched silly kids’ shows and, in an especially odd parallel, pulled a quick smoothie from the refrigerator for a quick lunch.

Life today is very different than it was, but I’m struck by the beauty of it all. A decade has passed since that special day. We’ve made ten trips around the sun, and while things around me look different, they’re still strangely the same.

We’re smack dab in the thick of things. We have a school-aged child and a refinanced mortgage and two older cars and a lot more gray hairs natural highlights than we had then. Things are complicated. Plans regularly get changed because of illness or last-minute school functions or home repairs. Where we once spent our evenings cuddled on the couch, we…well, still do that, but we’re a different kind of exhausted now.

The real difference today, though, is that we are living in the light of a promise. Sometimes the routine of life is overwhelming, but the design behind it all is exquisite. We are in the thick of the extraordinary mundane.

Life was never meant to be lived alone, and that looks different for everyone. We have each other –  my husband and I – and I’m thankful that we do. Because the next ten…twenty…however many years? I don’t know what they’ll hold. But I do know that today, I have his promise.

And the thing about that promise is that it’s not based on what we don’t know…but what we do. Promises can so often hinge on what “what if’s” and the “no matter what’s,” and there’s a lot of that in marriage. We can never know what the next day will bring, so the promise of “to have and to hold” has a degree of uncertainty. We don’t really know what’s being asked of us.

But the covenant of marriage that we’re doing our best to live out every day isn’t based on those hypothetical uncertainties….but on the absolute certainty of the One whose love inspired it to begin with. If we look at life around us and the way we feel on any given day, we’re doomed to failure. The promise I made to him and the one he made to me is more about looking at the Author of love, rather than on our fickle emotions and changing circumstances. It’s about modeling Christ to a watching world…about living out covenant lay-yourself-down and take-up-your-cross love right in the thick of ordinary life.

So whatever comes, we’ll get through everything together. It’s beautiful in its extraordinary ordinariness. It’s covenant love. And it’s forever.

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