Monday, October 1, 2012

On the Road to the Altar – 54 Days left

Sunday in church our campus pastor shared the story of a young newlywed couple (members of the church). On their wedding day, the excited groom presented his blushing bride with a bag filled with 77 marbles (I believe he said they were purple). The marbles were to represent the number of years of marital bliss he hoped they’d share together.

The couple’s lifetime of holy matrimony lasted somewhere around a year. Til death do us part came unannounced and much earlier than either of them ever imagined. The groom died in a tragic accident while communing with God’s goodness on a nature hike. I imagine this beautiful young woman’s bag of shiny purple marbles now felt like no more than shards of their shattered dream and her broken heart.

With 55 (54, by the time you read this) days until my wedding day, the truth of this young woman’s story and the reality of the uncertain future that lies ahead of me is now lodged in my throat and tries to take my breath away.

I wept at my seat as an entry from this young widow’s personal journal was read aloud to a very silent congregation. My tears met the cries of her heart poured onto these pages. I identified with her basic pain of losing a loved one and my thoughts threatened to careen out of control at the mere possibility that something so tragic could happen to me in the early morn of my marriage soon to come.

The text (biblical scripture reference) for yesterday’s message was Philippians 4:12, 13.

12 I know how to get along with humble means, and I also know how to live in prosperity; in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need. 13 I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.

Armed with these verses I can annihilate those extra pounds I want to lose; I can steward a bank account that runneth over or I can manage a more meager existence. I can diligently type my way to my first book or I can wade through the frigid waters of rejection letters. With the strength of Jesus Christ, I can be high, low or anywhere in between yet be content and make it through, right?

But could I survive that?? Could I do that thing? Could I walk her path?

I’ll be honest. Hearing this woman’s story made me shake. Indeed, life is unpredictable; I get that. But what do I do with this truth as I prepare for my own bag of marbles? I can’t say I landed on any solid answers except this: I keep going. That’s all. I just keep going. I commit myself to this very moment, because this moment, this breath is really all that’s certain.

My heart bleeds for this woman, and I admire the grace and courage she’s exhibiting as she puts one foot in front of the other and tries to tap into the power of the verses above. Lord knows I don’t know what I’d do if I suddenly, quickly, unexpectedly lost the man I’ve waited and prepared so long for. Today, that’s not my “all things,” so there’s no sense in my trying to figure out what I’d do if it were. Nope. I’m moving forward, carrying her story in my heart as a reminder that life is precious; our loved ones should feel and know they are loved, and I now have a mere 54 days left on this road to the altar (*insert me dancing a little jig here*).

Until next time…

Completely me,