I do not have the privilege of knowing every reader of this blog and so because I write today about marriage and it’s celebration please let me most humbly offer this disclaimer. If, my gracious reader, you arrive at these words today from any place of relational struggle or loss, you matter here. Jeff & I have sacred marital moments that would not read easy, victorious or in any way celebratory. We are marred humans honoring a God who has saved us. Many times. You will find no 'better than' here.
If you arrive as a brilliant, gorgeous, specifically chosen single then you matter here. And marriage is not, absolutely never, the ONLY way to experience awesomeness. It has been a part of my story, but it is not every story. Your life, beautifully designed, outrageously complete (RIGHT NOW!) is stunning to witness. Please enjoy my story, but this is not something for you to attain to. You have already arrived. You are exquisite as you are currently living.
Just as you are, friends, I am honored to share a portion of your very valuable time and travel alongside a bit. In this company, the company of broken, redeemed ones, nothing is required of you. I pray your current story can find place and encouragement among us.
Several months ago, my amazing man bought me a ticket to London. Four glorious days with him, alone in our romantic musings accompanied by the stir of a magnificent city’s constant motion.
It was absolutely splendid.
Jeff’s primary aim for our royal excursion was to find my smile and he achieved this objective many different ways. New shoes, amazing food, delicate tea service in dainty cups, fashion museums. He endured all of that with such diligent grace speaking persistently into every next step, “What do YOU want to do? Because that is our very next good thing.”
Four whole days to the tune of Cheryl’s wants and wishes.
What a delightful privilege to be a bit high maintenance. To have my own way accompanied by concession and blessing.
I didn’t know I needed that so much.
But I did.
And Jeff knew this. I’m so grateful for his persistence.
He had to talk me into it.
Over an embarrassing number of months, my generous man pitched trips to me in rapid succession with my very responsible ‘reasons why not’ volleying back at him in scripted and well-rehearsed cadence.
He countered that ‘the right time’ was elusive and we should just go. We needed it.
I needed it.
We snuck to nearby havens in the meantime. A night here. An afternoon there.
But Jeff did not relent. When it comes to me, he never does.
Especially when I’m hurting. He will scavenge out relief for me even if I miss the intent for all the practicalities his spontaneous plans require.
We all speak (and hear) it differently. And sometimes, in the midst of the noise of life, we can land completely tone deaf to the deliberate selection our nearest and dearest exercises for our good every day.
In the simple things, the regular things there can be a melodic accompaniment of care that settles indiscernible against the shiny intrigue of all the other stuff. Whatever the other stuff may be.
Especially when we stumble or hit a deficit in some way, that constant intoning of love can sound far too muted to recall or draw into awareness.
We may need help in the adjusting of all the volume settings in order to draw out that crucial commitment decibel that can become so usual we forget it’s beauty and it’s practice and it’s value.
Sometimes we need to get quiet and alone enough so that we can hear the constant undertones that are necessary for the whole symphony to swell.
Fidelity is costly and precious.
Fragile. Delicate. In need of constant nurture.
So very complex.
That complicated minuet of hearing and speaking, both necessary for the progression of motion. How every out of step stumble and (have mercy!) every gloriously treacherous sprawl accrues understanding and growth. Somehow.
We must keep stepping. Because once the vow has been spoken and God’s hand has silently knit two into one, despite all the irreconcilable we can so easily accumulate, it is a joining that will forever be ours.
Whether we land fractured or bonded together, both outcomes are acknowledged best by the honest acceptance that what has been joined was done despite us. And letting go or holding on will always carry a depth of agony and joy that is far, far beyond our reason and our understanding.
Beyond our ability.
In all the uniting, we are in need.
So graciously exquisite.
On the streets of a majestic city, we remembered and spoke and recalled and celebrated the things that have etched us together.
The moments that have made our history inseparable.
Investing in those days of alone, we remembered our highlights and gave praise for our salvation and vowed again in our attentiveness and response that we will continue to pursue the depths our hearts can love this one person.
I don’t think I ever really lived without him.
It certainly wasn’t as much fun.
Thank you for London, Jeff Cash.
And thank you for every enduring, choosing day that made London possible.
You make me less afraid.
And that, this, is a miracle beyond comprehension.
A story I will always love to tell.