No more love.
The cat's wound was inestimable. Laying on her side, the cat seemed bemused by the attention she as getting. Yet, who cannot help but stop and stare. She had a huge gaping hole in her stomach which revealed all her innards. There was movement; and I realized to my disgust and horror that maggots were already squirming. It was a marvel that the cat was still conscious. But she did not mew. A kindly man came with a small container of water and tried to flush out the maggots. The cat winced and then simply laid her head down…
My mind returned to this real-life incident because I was thinking about my wound.
It probably happens to most, if not all, marriages. The love simply runs out. I had tried hard not to go in that direction. But finally, I had to admit, the feelings had long run out. O, what a huge gaping hole I felt within me. It was unbearable. I hated myself for loving so poorly; and for being able to stop loving (for so it felt). No matter what I filled my day with, this reality swirled around within me like a haunting tune I could not stop humming; and this suggestion kept seguing in: 'get out, move on'.
The big D word hung over me like a metal sheeted cloud. Light was finding it hard to break through.
But still, Light did. Small, faint shafts, a glimmer here, a spot there.
And of course, I was not the only one. The D word fell out of our hearts. When we heard it, a tremor shook our now wan souls. After all, we knew the Word. We knew the real-life stories. But most of all, we knew God makes a difference. But how?
We had to deal with the daily grind.
We had to struggle against a constant assault of negativity.We had to fight guilt, despair, anger, hopelessness.
But God did not zap these things away. Instead, he nursed the wound, slowly, gently, carefully.
While I cried out regularly with my barrage: 'His fault!'; God's Word dew the barren landscape.
'Whoever wishes to gain his life loses it. But whoever loses his life for my sake gains it.'
'Be kind to one another, tender hearted, forgiving one another.'
'For I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you and not harm you….'
Slowly, repeatedly, I had to come before God and confessed. I blew it - yet again. It did not seem like I would succeed. It was dismal. We were too different. My heart was numb. I had a wound so deep. Often, it seems my valiant efforts went unnoticed and unrewarded.
I did not love. And I was unwilling to.
God's Word began to make clear the cost of loving.
Yes, we have all heard to said: to put the other first blah blah….it was mostly blah to me. Not hogwash, for I know it is true; not just because of other folks and how things turned out for them. I know it is true because that is precisely what my Saviour did: Jesus did put us first; He relinquished His heavenly rights for us, out of His love and obedience to God! Jesus shows us that a Greater Love can bring about all loves.
So loving my spouse and loving God are bound together. It is all Love or it is not. But I have met my Waterloo. I cannot win this one. I dread to think that I am failing to love the One who has loved me when I was just a bundle of cells floating and forming in the darkness of the womb. "For anyone who does not love his brother, whom he has seen, cannot love God, whom he has not seen" - 1 John 4v20.
There was no dogding when the Light becomes so spot-on accurate.
'O God, I am wretched! I simply cannot . do . it!'
And then, suddenly, I could.
Very little. Very unsteadily. Inconsistent. But it comes.
Yet it is not our willpower that will save the day, or the marriage. It is God's Will that does it. When we align our wills with His, something happens - God's power in invited into the situation.
Now I see it: God's grace preserved us. Many times we would have totally broken; but His grace broke through and we mend just enough to cease hurting each other. All this time, God was slowly and gingerly, lovingly and patiently working at my wound. No, he does not throw water hoping to flush out the infection (yes, that's it). He remembers that I am but dust.
To restore my soul and close the wound required his expert hands and the timeliness of his healing touch.
I have slowed. I am more rested. I am more hopeful.
Whereas I tried to do what a wounded soul could not - love heroically
Whereas I kept doing what a wounded soul does - question, fight, struggle, cry, get cynical, curl up in self-defense.
God brings us again and again to the One Failure that will turn us right side up and lead into true Success: we are unable; but, are we willing?
I cast myself daily into my God's strong arms. At times, I can almost feel Him hold me. Other times, He seems awfully quiet. Over time, one thing is sure, the wound is healing, there are more bright spots than dark ones. Hope starts to float about in the air and the spaces.
Some days I wake up with a smile on my face as I contemplate an even greater wonder and an enduring Success so sublime: Christ is being formed in me (imagine that!).
|reflections of Light require that|
we face it