I had the honor of conducting another wedding ceremony on Saturday.
It was a complex and challenging weekend full of travel and ministry and family burdens and laughter and silliness and argument and loving each other when we’re not all being nice. It was a microcosm of what Alex and Anna made vows to endure and embrace together.
After all of the wedding work was done—the ceremony concluded, the license signed, the cake consumed, the cleanup complete—we did manage to go for a drive down the coast for a little bit. We had about 30 minutes to just walk on the beach.
We took a few pictures.
Pretty, isn’t it?
These moments of peace and simple joy are… better.
They are the “better” that we eagerly embrace. They are the richer moments that carry us through the poorer times.
Those few moments on the beach are precious. But, just a VERY few hours later, we were up at a ridiculously early hour, packed and loaded and off to the airport. We made one flight and then, after some shifting around, took off for the final leg home.
I don’t have pictures of this, but I’m pretty sure there are some formerly white pants here somewhere that testify of the debacle that took place on that flight to Oklahoma City.
I wanted a Coke. The flight attendant eagerly provided. And as I moved some things out of the way, I somehow turned this thimble full of soda over on the tray and it flowed freely across my lap and seat. This very small cup somehow seemed to multiply in volume as it spread all across my lap and the seat.
And, despite her quick move over to the empty seat on the other side, all over my dear wife’s white pants.
Our good-natured flight attendant ribbed me pretty appropriately and offered great condolences toward my beloved. She offered me a sippy cup.
I was stuck there primarily absorbing the majority of this liquid.
And then, as we approached Oklahoma City, the young lady in the seat behind me picked up her bag from under my seat. She (rather loudly) announced, “My bag is full of Coke.”
The horror in my heart was deep. I apologized sincerely. She acknowledged that she knew I didn’t do it on purpose. But she continued to talk about it… all the way down the jetway into the terminal. Every stupid mess from my childhood was stirred up within me.
And my amazing wife just walked along beside me with her cola-stained white pants. This is the “worse” in the vows we witnessed on Saturday. This is not by any means the “worst” we have experienced. (Don’t we wish it were?) But this is the cost of loving someone and committing your life to serving them. Their mess gets on you. It affects you. Their mess IS your mess and vice versa.
That whole “one flesh” thing means that my mistakes and successes are hers and her victories and defeats are mine.
And so we walk on—stained and scarred and weary and worn—together, hand in hand. Because that’s what we promised we would do… for better AND for worse.
“Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall be one flesh.” (Genesis 2.24)