Strands of Sorrow and Light
Disclaimer: my marriage is not perfect.
Shocker, right? I’m sure it’s not. I don’t think any marriage is perfect. Even my friends who look like they have the perfect marriage admit that there are times when they have blow out fights and need counseling to tune things up.
So I don’t feel so badly when things aren’t going so well.
Most of the time, things are good. Things flow by as we rush around to various activities for ourselves and our kids. There are daily chores and challenges that come with raising two children and one adult.
But then there are times when unexpectedly the lid comes off and we spiral into this crazy, dark hole. I never see it coming, until it pounces and suddenly I find myself struggling to hold onto myself.
Usually things start because I say something (counseling has helped me to understand that I’m processing out loud, which I’d really like to learn to not do) and it is received as criticism or coldness – a lack of care or enthusiasm. And suddenly I find that I’ve hurt my husband unintentionally.
I don’t know if there’s a cure for that. I never realize that my words will be taken the wrong way until after I see his reaction. And I don’t know how to gauge them beforehand, particularly if I’m tired or trying to joke around (which apparently backfires a lot, so you’d think I’d learn not to do that).
A Tapestry of Grace
Last Saturday I sang a song at church that struck me when I stopped to consider the last few lines:
“Each strand of sorrow has its place within this tapestry of grace. So through it all I choose to say: Your perfect will in Your perfect way.” (The Getty’s “The Perfect Wisdom of Our God”)
There are lots of things that have woven sorrow into the tapestry of my life. Dark colors casting shadows through the grander picture. But without these deeper colors, the golden strands and summery goodness wouldn’t shine as brightly.
These moments of hurt and frustration caused by the futility of fighting are strands of sorrow that weave their ways into the great tapestry of my life, making it more beautiful and creating contrast that also brings out the beauty and brightness.
So, while we seek counseling to plumb the depths of our propensity for causing and perceiving pain, I continue looking inward to try and touch the shadow places in my soul. I know there are sensitive spots that stay hidden for fear.
Yet they must be unearthed to allow healing.
And I find myself in over my head. Uncertain of whether I will sink or swim.
Like Peter I cry, “Save me!”
“Then you crash over me, I’m right where you want me to be, I’m going under, I’m in over my head. Whether I sink, whether I swim, it makes no difference when I’m beautifully in over my head.” (Jenn Johnson, “In Over My Head”)
Somehow he’s always faithful to be there. Sometimes I miss him. And sometimes I can’t possibly.
And, it’s okay that I’m not perfect – that my marriage isn’t perfect either. This path has been worn by many before me, and it will be followed by many after me.
Like the ebb and flow of the ocean’s tide, there will always be high waves and still waters in the cycle of my life. And, eventually we’ll learn how to ride those highs and lows, to maybe be more even keel, and to stay in the same boat until it’s time to step out in faith together.