This weekend, I get to marry my friends.
It’s funny, when I say that, people hesitate and then politely try to ask me if it’s some sort of threesome.
I’m marrying them, as in: officiating.
What an honor. What a weighty thing. I just finished writing out the whole ceremony, word for word. Because, in a similar vein to Mammy in Gone With the Wind, who knows “nothin’ bout birthin’ no babies,” I don’t know nothin’ bout marryin’ nobody! So forgive me if I don’t exactly wing it.
But, I do know this.
I know that love is a beautiful butterfly; it takes your breath away when it lands on you. Its fragility is staggering; it crushes so damnably easily.
And it’s also a garden that you grow. Yes, nobody else but you. You want a relationship that is trustworthy and peaceful and kind and compassionate and sexy and true and stands the test of time.
Then you plant those seeds.
And then you take those seeds and you nurture them.
It’s true, love is not always up to you. Sometimes, the person to whom you’ve given your love takes its gossamer wings and plucks them off with all the tenderness of someone removing lint from their sweater. And then he takes your wardrobe and tries to give it to his brother.
Um, not that I’m speaking from experience or anything.
But what you can control is the way you keep loving the person you decided to love years ago. Or months ago. Or yesterday.
If things have changed, maybe you’ve stopped doing whatever it is you were doing whenever it is you made that decision.
And another thing I am struck with again while writing out this wedding: the power we hold over someone else when they give us their heart. In U2′s song, Mysterious Ways, Bono sings:
To touch is to heal, to hurt is to steal;
If you wanna kiss the sky, better learn how to kneel.
And see, loving someone is the kind of double edged sword that gives somebody the ability to reach you. Whether they touch you or hurt you, though, is up to them. But you’ve gone and made your heart accessible, exposed to whatever it is they choose to do. And yeah, that should put the fear of God in you, I think. Cause it’s a big deal.
And then the next line–the one about wanting to experience the heights of love, that heady, kiss-the-sky-sensation–well, you can’t have that without some humility. Some ability to prefer the other person.
To love them.
In that I don’t always feel like putting you first, but I will anyway, kind of way.
Because I love you, it’s as simple as that.
Of course, you don’t have to do any of this.
C.S. Lewis very succinctly spells out another option here:
To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything and you heart will be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact, you must give it to no one, not even an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements. Lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket, safe, dark, motionless, airless, it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. To love is to be vulnerable.
Yes, we certainly have that option.
But I’d rather take the other one any day.
Cause not all brokenness is bad. In fact, in a lot of instances, you can’t get to the fruit of something without first breaking it. Maybe that’s the way it is with a heart. But choosing to love someone is never a waste; in fact, I think, as people who are created in the image of a God who is love, it is exactly what we are meant to do.