Next year will highlight two landmarks in my life. In June I will have been married 40 years to my best friend, Esther. When we stood before the pastor and made our vows, I am sure that I never fully realized the impact of those words. “To have and to hold, from this day forward, in plenty and in want, in joy and in sorrow, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish till death us do part, and thereto I pledge you my faith”. Though, while dating, we had talked about many things we hoped for in marriage, we could not predict what our future would look like. All we could do is say, that regardless of what our future may hold, we were committing ourselves to walking it together. We were giving ourselves to each other, without reservation.
The second highlight is that next September will mark 40 years since I became a serious follower of Christ. My church life before this had mainly been, “Live the best you can and hope you make it.” I had failed to understand that faith is about relationship, not rules. This epiphany brought a change in focus for me. Strengthen the relationship and other things will take care of themselves. As with any healthy relationship, it cannot be static but growing and maturing.
Both have been love journeys for me. As my love for Esther and Christ has matured it has become less about self-love or demanding my own way. Nor is it about acquiescing to the demands of others as if I am subservient to their whims or wishes. For me, maturing love is living with an expectancy of what the next steps in our journeys together may bring. Regardless of whether it is easy or difficult, I have committed myself to walk this journey to the finish line. Some focus only on the finish line (till death us do part). I choose to focus on the journey together, regardless of how the final chapter of this life is written.
David Dyer said it well. “When you dance your purpose is not about getting to a certain place on the floor. It is to enjoy each step along the way.”