It’s 4:30 am. There are 30 more precious moments of sleep to be had, but the pain down my leg and the restless tossing of the one next to me is robbing my tired eyes of those last still minutes. I know he’s staring at me, you just know these things. He’s a morning person, though I dare say he is broadening the definition of “morning” wider and wider every year. I prefer to not speak one syllable before my first sip of coffee, but he smiles and cracks jokes the moment his eyes open. He’s like a 4 year old on Christmas morning, pacing the top of the stairs, waiting for permission to race to the bottom and tear open the gifts left in the night…every. single. day. The sun used to be his permission to rise, but not anymore. Sometimes he sings ridiculous morning songs, because he knows then I will laugh and relinquish my bitterness towards the morning. And he’s right.He is a gift.
I finally open my eyes. There he is smiling at me, head resting on white sheets still seeming grey because of a dark room. The first words from his grinning mouth are, “What were you doing 15 years ago at this very minute?”. “Sleeping” I tell him. “I was sleeping soundly.” He laughs out loud and I laugh on the inside, because we both know that isn’t true. I was wide-eyed and nervous. The Methodist church I grew up in had a long, burgundy-red carpet aisle I was scheduled to walk down later that Saturday evening, as if I was royalty. I was royalty, I just didn’t know it yet, but that’s beside the point. It was a long walk to embark on when you’re nervous and everyone you know is watching. And for the record, burgundy-red is a dreadful color to work with for a summer wedding. Like maybe the worst.But 15 years later, the same smile that waited for me at the end of the burgundy-red aisle, is still waiting for me to open my eyes each morning. He pours me coffee as a peace offering.It’s the best part of my day.
Not because it’s perfect, but quite the contrary. It’s not perfect and yet it remains safe and solid. It’s the walking out of Christ’s life right in the middle of mine every day. His covenant, His love, His grace, His mercy, His security, smiling back at me as a promise at 4:30 in the morning when not even the birds have begun singing.He should have been a farmer.
But he’s not. He’s a sales engineer which means he better have a decent golf swing; and I’m a girl who should be a social worker but instead has the audacity to believe she’s been called to teach women that we have a God who has brought down the high tree and exalted the low one. A God who has chosen the foolish to shame the wise. The silliness of this call is more ridiculous than you could possibly know. It’s certainly not where we were 15 years ago when we exchanged holy words beyond our comprehension, all while standing on an ugly carpet. I haven’t gotten over the carpet.And now 15 years.
Life is full. It’s busy, in both good ways and bad, and we do our do best to search out a balance. It’s hard to straddle two residences, hearts with hope of glory and a promise land, but tired feet still walking the soil of this earth. We are still assigned to this place, a home where there are soccer games to watch, math and spelling to learn, savings accounts to balance, and children to raise up in the knowledge that they are called to lie down.
There’s still work to be done here, but 15 years has taught me something huge. Something radical. Promise land living doesn’t have to wait until heaven. This beautiful mystery of Christ in me, Christ in him, has already made us more than conquerors.
Victors right here on this turf where He poured Himself out, right here in this home where he wakes up smiling at me and telling jokes.
We can live it now. Today. I’m so grateful. But I’m not gonna lie, I would be more grateful if my “today” started a little later than 4:30 in the morning.