Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails. – 1 Corinthians 13:4-8
First, the math. 13,880. That’s the day count. And, yes, I included leap years. Ten leap years means ten elections, six presidents. Or, less stressful to think about, ten summer Olympic Games: Moscow, Los Angeles, Seoul, Barcelona, Atlanta, Sydney, Athens, Beijing, London, Rio.
Thirty-eight years. That’s a lot of morning coffee! Three apartments; four houses. College, seminary, work; then three careers – one for her and two for me.
We could measure this in children: two – but the number is meaningless unless you imagine the lives. And – Andrew and Naomi – such lives, such wonder, unimaginable supernovas of light and explosive life. And the two became four, and now there are grandchildren.
Cars, more than twenty; lost count, don’t really care. Pets, now there’s something; just four, but all overachievers when it came to loving us.
Churches, three; Pensacola, Brandon, Wake Forest; God’s good people are everywhere!
Great loves, just one; that would be each other.
I’m talking about our anniversary (if you hadn’t done some long division and figured it out already). And – if you’re wondering – no, we didn’t have even the vaguest idea about what life would look like in 2017, all those years ago, back when Rebekah was one of the only women at Columbia Seminary and all I knew was – well – absolutely nothing.
What a journey! What a Great Adventure! What a ride! What a blessing! What a litany of surprises! How immeasurably more than all we could ask or imagine!
Struggle and Blessing:
Here’s what I’m really thinking about this morning, and I believe this is apropos. I’m thinking about how Rebekah and I have moved forward – from Day One – without conforming to the norms and roles expected of us. If we had bowed to the pressure to, “color inside the lines,” “stay on the expected path,” or, “play this by the book,” then we would not now be 13,880 days into the most satisfying relationship imaginable.
And here’s the other thing – and it might sound unromantic if you don’t think it through. Thank goodness, thank God, we’ve had so many struggles, crises, roadblocks, and challenges along the way. Seriously! What I’m saying is that – after almost four decades – the tree that is our marriage has some beautiful grain; our life together is beyond rich.
Somehow – and probably because Rebekah lives and loves with such creativity and imagination – this epic song that is our life together has constantly allowed the dissonance to resolve. As a work of art, I believe we’re more Max than Michelangelo, more van Gogh than Rubens.
As a living testimony, we are certainly more grace than works. But that’s okay, because we want our lives to tell the good news story honestly. It is not our desire to boast “aren’t we special!” because of our joy, but to invite every other stumbling, imperfect, get-on-each-other’s-nerves, real-world family to take this same journey – in the context of faith, and forgiveness, and humility, and grace, and mercy, and the perfect love that God offers.
This is our story. And, on many levels, we are just now hitting our stride.
Care to join us? You can. Because of Jesus, anything is possible!
Happy anniversary, Rebekah, I love you more than I ever thought possible – Derek
And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.
Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we could ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen. – Ephesians 3:14-21