I want to write that it’s taken me twenty years of marriage to become something close to the wife I want to be to my husband. It’s taken all sorts of letting-go-of-old to make space for the now. I simply have not always done this well, often because I was not aware I needed to, other times because I mistook running away from myself for truth-telling, truth-bearing, truth-living. That thing I watch my own children confronted with everyday.
That uncomfortable place where, without malice or greed or bitterness, we can say what is true even before we know what it will mean or what we or another will do with it. I am not talking about spewing hatefulness, that is more of the running afraid business. I’m talking about brave truth that invites staying-awhile, love-that-is-patient.
The wintered woods know what I mean, how the temperature changes instruct the life stages to alter gears, slow down, and as Wendell Berry put it, live in their losses. Naked, uncovered, winter woods, truth bearers holding the torch for all of us to come follow the way of love.
I joked shortly after moving here that moving into the foothills of the Cascade mountains surrounded by evergreens was like moving into a neighborhood of new friends of whom I would describe as the tall, silent type. For the people-loving person that I am this came with challenge, but I have needed the Creator’s wisdom through these silent memorials—in every season—teaching me if I will listen.
Winter’s lesson? The way devastation brings clarity, the way spending time with the naked truth illuminates the big picture I long for but am continually quick to cover, all while winter has its own covering more calm than my well-intentioned but misguided, unheedful, ideas. Listen. The winter will bring kindness and cover our fears with anti-inflammatory snow.
But we inflame ourselves, we make ourselves sick—heart sick, body sick, mind sick. I don’t like writing it anymore than you like reading it. Stay awhile longer? Did you know that, within bounds, there is an inflammation in our body that is good? A response from this wise creation we’ve been gifted to live within that is something akin to a hug, a wrapping around us, a holding close.
The problems arise when we do not recognize this goodness and we do not respond with thanks. We do not honor our Creator’s goodness in designing a body that speaks to us and tells us what it needs. We nurture our neediness alright, cherish it even, but that isn’t the same is it?
A sacrifice to be real must cost, must hurt, and must empty ourselves. Give yourself fully to God. He will use you to accomplish great things on the condition that you believe much more in his love than in your weakness.
And so, I hear a call on the spring winds, the ones carrying the scent from the cherry blossoms. Creation is singing, the skies are releasing, the mountain’s veins of life are flowing, the rivers are filling, the birds are returning. So. much. giving and receiving, so much contentment and relinquishing and all this to unveil what was true all along.
And me too. I want to write that it’s taken me twenty years of marriage to become something close to the wife I want to be to my husband, but now I know that I was that wife all along, here, but not as present as I am today. And that husband I kept looking for here, he was and is now more present too. We haven’t arrived anymore than we did the day we got married, but we’re more content.
Love-that-is-kind speaks to me as I look out on this rainy day and see our deer family sitting at the opening of the field at the edge of the forest, their legs curled beneath them, quiet and still—they sit as the rain falls gently upon them, and they don’t mind. For hours and hours they don’t mind; they are content. They live in harmony with all that the seasons bring. Watching them I remember the country called Glad where there is a river whose streams nourish and heal the city I belong to. It’s like there are pieces falling from the sky now, here.
All that separates us now, only waiting to be seen as the very door. The door that is love-that-is-kind comes at the cost of releasing love-that-is-a-boss. It is born as another thing dies. It is the stuff of resurrection—the stuff so simple, so gentle, it could be missed as the strength it is, or we could let it change everything. That may mean living in our losses, but that sounds like a sacrifice that costs, and that sounds like something real.
May all realness be yours,
P.S. This Love series…to be continued. If you missed part 1, you can read it here.
P.P.S I’m still working on my next book, more news to come.