Our Valentine’s Day looked a little bit different this year – it was a little harder this year, because loving each other deeply has included a lot of falling down. Getting scraped up. Feeling our own and each other’s brokenness so heavily. It has meant quitting a job in order to check into rehab, moving our first apartment into storage, and doing yet another round of long distance. And it hasn’t been very pretty.
In fact, it’s been hideous. We’ve been so disheveled from wrestling the addiction to the ground that we hardly recognize our own bodies and the people in ’em. We’ve been so mangled and tattered from entering ring after ring of conflict that we seem unfamiliar to one another. We’ve been so nauseous from riding merry-go-rounds with the opinions of all our well-meaning loved ones that we fear there is no cure for our sickness. And in this hurricane of lacerations, head blows, and vomiting, there is no escaping our need.
There is no escaping our lack.
And when two newlyweds become best buds with all their lacks and all their needs, choosing to love each other feels a little like jumping out of an airplane without a parachute.
But we’ve already made the jump. We are free falling without anything to slow our descent. And there is no pretending that we have the proper tools to meet our desperate need for a safety device. With the earth that will kill us both coming into better focus, there is no comfort to be found in the marriage pretenses of “you complete me” and “we’re perfect for each other.” There is just suffocating fear of impending doom and a prayer that by some miracle two parachutes will attach themselves to our backs.
Unfortunately for us, no safety devices have materialized. We’re still falling. We’re still terrified. But we’ve been joined by a third sky diver who doesn’t appear to be phased by our descent. Instead, He’s asked us to have some faith in Him, that He’s not going to let us shatter when we finally touch earth again, that He’ll take care of the ‘chute issue before then. But since we’re already here, spinning through the sky, with all our lacks and needs floating in open air, we might as well let Him use the falling to shape us up a little bit. We might as well let Him take some of the extra weight that’s speeding up our plunge. We might as well let Him teach us how to love each other because of all our needs and lacks, not just in spite of ’em.
So that, maybe, by the time we reach the ground, instead of shattering into our demise like we’ve foreseen, we’ll land with two feet on holy ground. Maybe we’ll land a little more whole than when we had jumped, because we’ve seen each other’s lacks, we’ve faced our own needs, and we’ve chosen to love and be loved anyway. Maybe we’ll land in a little trio of laughter because we’ve survived the scariest journey of our lives, and our story is more beautiful than if we’d never jumped at all.