Tuesday, November 16, 2010

The Kindness of Strangers.

An older gentleman flagged me down tonight as I walked home tonight in the rain without an umbrella. "Miss! Miss! Where are you going?" I told him, and he insisted on walking with me to keep me dry, because it wasn't far from where he was headed.

He introduced himself, and I told him my name. He explained to me how his surgeon friend gave him a tip about how to always dress in light layers in the winter, so as not to sweat. If you do this, he said, you will never get the flu. "I haven't had a cold in 18 long years!" he happily declared. I was further informed of how I should consider a freezing cold water numbing option at the dentist (because it is such high technology, I don't even need Novocaine).

"Do you have a boyfriend?" he asked as his next non sequiter. I told him I did, and that in fact, I had a fiancé and am getting married in two months. He advised me not to do it, telling me that that marriage was just a piece of paper and asked a rhetorical question about why I would want to change something if it already works.

He had just come from his girlfriend Isabella's house a few blocks away. He told me he had gotten her a fourteen karat gold ring with a blue topaz for their fifth anniversary, and that it had cost him about $700. He asked if I wanted to know what he got her for their tenth, and warned me that he didn't have any smelling salts, and that I might fall over. The gift was a gold necklace with her name plate and 35 tiny diamonds!

He then told me how I could "psychologically" go about getting my fiancé to buy me a gold and topaz ring: I should tell Nick over a cup of coffee that I had seen this book on the ground and in the pages was a picture of this beautiful gold topaz ring, and that ever since, I couldn't stop thinking about it.

He finally wrapped up the mostly one-sided conversation on my doorstep. "Good luck with your boyfriend! God Bless You," he said. And we parted ways.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

A Reading for A Friend's Wedding.

I recognize this is somewhat of a repetitive thought, but since it took a slightly different form, I thought I would post it anyway. Clearly, God is still speaking to my heart so much about marriage and community and how the two go hand in hand.
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Here it is, you’ve made it. It’s your big day.

Today is not the finish line in your relationship, but the start of a new exciting chapter. Today is the beginning of the rest of your lives together.

“Happily ever after” looks different in reality than it does in fairy tales. Yes, it is fun and absolutely filled with love, but real happiness requires work and sacrifice. It takes dying to yourself daily and choosing to put the other person first. It’s about learning how to love in all circumstances.

Elizabeth Gilbert, in her book Committed says, “There is hardly a more gracious gift that we can offer somebody than to accept them fully, to love them almost despite themselves." You will not complete each other, but in your marriage, you will push each other to become better versions of yourselves. You will learn your strengths and your flaws and year by year, you will learn the art of becoming each other’s complement.

All of us are here today to witness this commitment you are making to each other before God and by our presence, we too make the commitment to see you through. Marriage is about more than the two of you as a couple, it is also about your community. It is about your family and friends and the people you choose to live your lives beside.

When you’ve got a good thing, you’ve got to hold onto it and fight for it daily. You will go through hard times. You will wake up some days and doubt. But I challenge you, during those times, to look back to this day and remember the promises you have made, and all the reasons you made them in the first place.

I pray God’s blessing upon you both, that through the years you may keep your marriage covenant, and so grow in love and the knowledge of the One whose love never fails, that your home may be a haven of blessing and peace.