January 12, 2015

Keeping This Covenant – Love, Even Then



I didn’t know that love would be quite this hard.

I mean, I knew it in my head, but my heart took awhile to catch up. I joked and wrote and told my friends that love looked a lot like dirty dishes, but these days, the dishes are the easiest part.

Rinse, scrub, soap, wash, dry, repeat. Warm tepid water, crinkly fingertips, wet dish towels. Rinse, scrub, soap, wash, dry, and repeat.

I didn’t know that there would be days when I would miss difficult dishes. The days when our love just can’t get the words right. When we spout off phrases like forgiveness and patience easier than we embrace them. Days when the dishes are the cleanest part of the house, because heaven forbid our words be white as snow.

When we stutter and we stammer and we try to say the right things even though they come out wrong. Because we want love to be easy. But sometimes (often), it’s not. It’s tough. It goes beyond “I’m sorry.” Love feels like fingernails on chalkboard, scraping down the rough patches of your heart and demanding that you obey.

Love. 

Even on the hard days. Especially on the hard days. Love when you can’t stand the sound of your words or his words or your words combined. Love when tomorrow seems so far away and “I do” feels like a lifetime ago. Love when “Will you forgive me?” is the hardest phrase in the world and you force yourself to spit the words out one by painful one.

Love then, especially then.

Love when the dishes are piled up and you don’t care, because your heart hurts. Love when his job changes and he’s scared. Love when your job changes and you’re thrilled. Love when he makes it, love when you miss.  Love when you’re here and you want to be there. Love when he’s there and he’s happy to be there. Love when you don’t think you can love anymore because he’s trying. Love when you don’t think you can love anymore and you don’t know if he’s trying or not. Love even then.

Love when it’s the hardest choice in the world.
Love when it’s the easiest choice in the world.
Love because you made a vow to love.
You made a choice to choose forever.
Love because you knew a day was coming when the fuzzy feelings would go away, even though you could never imagine what that day would look like.

Love then, especially then.

I knew it in my heart, on that humid stormy Saturday almost two years ago, but I could never imagine just how hard love could be. I could never imagine that even in the hardest of hard moments, it would be so good. Therapeutic. Trying. Growing. I could never have imagined that love, the sweetest love, comes in those moments when you’re angry and tired and upset, and you know that your heart and soul will unwaveringly choose him. Love because in your heart of hearts, even in the wildest moments, you know that he will choose you.

Throw out the warm n’ fuzzies. Throw out the idea that love is easy. Throw out any thought of love as a natural progression through life. Throw out the idea that love is romance, and embrace the journey instead. Embrace the romance, encourage the romance, but recognize that love is a choice you make on the days when kisses are harder to give. Love is the choice you make when you say “Please forgive me?” for the hundredth time today. Love is the choice you make when you forgive him, even though he didn’t ask. Love is all the in-between moments. The moments you would never dream to put on Instagram. The frustrations, the miscommunication, the try, try again even though we have tried a hundred times.

Love then, especially then.

Because you’re trying. You both know it; you’re on the same team. Some moments are harder than others, but you know you’re fighting towards the same goal. You’re learning and re-learning how to speak to each other. How to be kind, how to be tender, how to block your guards and continuously allow someone else to enter into your heart. Every day, every moment, every month, every year. Keep holding onto those moments when you’re tired, when your makeup is washed away, and when a hug offered in reconciliation changes everything.

Love when it’s risky and love when it’s hard, because you will begin to understand the love of God greater in those moments than you ever did before. He loves us when we are risky, when we are hard to love. He loves us when we don’t want to apologize, when we are convinced we are right, when we don’t show our love to him, when we don’t want to…he loves us even then.

I didn’t know love would be this hard. But I also didn’t know that it would be this purifying, this intoxicating process of transformation. I didn’t know that it would demand everything I have and then more. I didn’t know that love would redefine my faith. I didn’t know that love would change my heart.

Rinse, scrub, soap, wash, dry, repeat. Warm tepid water, crinkly fingertips, wet dish towels. Rinse, scrub, soap, wash, dry, and repeat.

Love then, especially then.