Last evening we did dinner with two special friends who were celebrating their 15th wedding anniversary. The conversation flowed wonderfully well and meaningful for almost three hours. Though it was not the only intention of the evening, we celebrated life together, knowing we two couples had survived some bumps...celebrating the possibilities...remembering where we’ve come from...being thankful for where we are headed...hopefully.
While 23, I proposed to Judy. She said yes...and maybe.......and then, thankfully, yes. I wish now I had proposed differently, not sure how, but it was on a late Spring evening in Arizona where we were swinging on swings in an elementary school yard, not far her parent’s home in Glendale.
In the arrogance of my youth I told her that if she married me she would never have a dull day. There have been some days in our 45 years she has asked, “Is this one of those days?” Meaning...well, meaning all kinds of things, but usually indicating almost too much is going on at that moment.
We have had joyful seasons. We have had some very hard seasons. We have had calm seasons and turbulent ones. We have wondered if life is over. We have faced challenges we never thought we would have to face. We have survived...and thrived. We have lost ground. And we’ve stood together on heights of the heart, and on mountains, that have nourished our souls. We have disappointed each other. We have nourished each other. We are determined to live into the possibilities.
Little did we know on that night of proposal. We’re still learning and growing...even at day 16,791 of our marriage. We are committed to beginnings...daily...some days, hourly. That we learned in our youth. That we are still learning today...proposing to be the husband and wife we long to be.
Recently I purchased a book, no clue where I heard of it, but I’ve now read it twice through. It is a book of raw and righteous and reflective life-giving poetry by Ted Loder: Guerrillas of Grace...Prayers for the Battle. He wrote this about new beginnings:
Help Me To Believe in Beginnings
God of history and of my heart,
so much has happened to me during these whirlwind days:
I’ve known death and birth;
I’ve been brave and scared;
I’ve hurt, I’ve helped;
I’ve been honest, I’ve lied;
I’ve destroyed, I’ve created;
I’ve been with people, I’ve been lonely;
I’ve been loyal, I’ve betrayed;
I’ve decided, I’ve waffled;
I’ve laughed and I’ve cried.
You know my frail heart and my frayed history--
and now another day begins.
O God, help me to believe in beginnings
and in my beginning again,
no matter how often I’ve failed before.
Help me make beginnings:
to begin going out of my weary mind
into fresh dreams,
daring to make my own bold tracks in the land of now;
to begin forgiving
that I may experience mercy;
to begin questioning the unquestionable
that I may know truth;
to begin disciplining
that I may create beauty;
to begin sacrificing
that I may accomplish justice;
to begin risking
that I may make peace;
to begin loving
that I may realize joy.
Help me to be a beginning for others,
to be a singer to the songless,
a storyteller to the aimless,
a befriended to the friendless;
to become a beginning of home for the despairing,
of assurance for the doubting,
of reconciliation for the divided;
to become a beginning of freedom for the oppressed,
of comfort for the sorrowing,
of friendship for the forgotten;
to become a beginning of beauty for the forlorn,
of sweetness for the soured,
of gentleness for the angry,
of wholeness for the broken,
of peace for the frightened and violent of the earth.
Help me to believe in beginnings,
to make a beginning
to be a beginning,
so that I may not just grow old,
but grow new
each day of this wild, amazing life
you call me to live
with the passion of Jesus Christ.
(.....................to be continued.....................)