And you know, it only took me three years to do it.
After ups, downs, plenty of gravity and an ocean of redemption,
it’s finally official.
Trembling, shaking, heart-pumping, nerves racing, and endorphines tingling,
I received an answer to my question and placed a ring on her finger….
five days ago? Yeah. Five days ago.
I picked her up from her house in Nashville,
with the ring securely hidden in my pocket,
and the plan unfolding nicely.
Took her out to her favorite park, drove down some country roads,
walked around the Grand Old Opry Hotel,
had some dinner, drove her back home.
In the meantime, her brother Kris, and our friends Jen, Jeff, and Audrey
were working masterfully to change her living room into a romantic bungalow.
They left candles burning and
music playing, and they beautifully hung eight
pictures that I had given them.
Around the room were eight, blown up pictures
of some of our favorite spots in West Palm.
Figured I couldn’t take her there, so I’d
bring those places to her. A gazebo in the Gardens,
a bridge where an epic conversation
once transpired…you know, the spots.
Well, when Kelly stepped into her new surroundings,
she was instantly in tears.
Which, if you know her, doesn’t take much,
but this time was different on account,
of the amount of tears that came. She kept on crying.
I pulled out a scrap book that I had made, chronologically walking her
through our entire relationship. We slowly went through all hundred pictures or so,
stopping only to dance and once to wash her feet. As the last page turned,
I filled a glass of wine and then read to her Jesus’ words to his disciples.
“this is my covenant with you, take and drink.”
Because, if you know anything about marriage proposals in Jesus’ time,
then you’d know that this is exactly how a young suitor would propose to his bride-to-be.
He’d fill a cup with wine, take a drink, and then offer his cup and covenant to his beloved.
And so that it is what I did.
And now, by the grace of God,
I’m going to love one woman for the rest of my life.
For the rest of my human experience, until death do us part,
I will love her, as I have been loved.
“as Christ loved the church and gave Himself up for her.”
That is what I intend to do anyway,
what I hope to do.
To love her as Christ has loved me.
And man is that scary.
Especially when I know that all this woman needs to do is look at me,
and my whole world goes fuzzy.
(I forget what I’m saying, I can’t formulate coherent thoughts, etc, etc.)
Especially when I know that she can get me to do whatever she wants,
just by giving me this one,
“I’m so cute and pathetic and you love me for it” look.
Especially when I consider that in spite of all the fireworks and lightning
that her presence evokes in me, and even though I am continually made
breathless by the mere reflection on the specific conglomerated mysteries of her being,
I am still painfully aware that my love, her love, and our love will never be enough.
As David Wilcox once penned,
“we cannot trade empty for empty, we must go to the waterfall…”
Even though I love her more intensely than I have ever loved anyone I’ve ever met,
I am faced with the bewildering reality, that Christ will not let me feel completely satisfied
with anyone other than Him.
Even the woman of my dreams.
Because, after all, this marriage thing is in actuality a signpost to something greater.
It is a beacon to an even more euphoric shore.
It is a messenger crying out in the wilderness that our true wedding has almost come.
It is something much bigger and mightier and grander than anything I could possibly conceive,
and I’m quickly learning that it is meant to be a sort of summons.
A calling me beyond myself, beyond my ability and knowledge and safety and capabilities.
A fantastical journey, explicitly designed
to give me a human example of Christ and his church.
A living human drama pointing to the end of time and the marriage supper of the Lamb.
True, she is the only woman that I’ve ever truly loved,
and so she will be the only woman that I ever will truly love.
But in loving her, I’m sure that I will soon find that it is only when
I’m first satisfied in the intimacy of my relationship with Christ,
that I will then be freed and enabled to love her as I aught.
As I had hoped. As I have been loved.
And may God give me the grace to do just that.