As a chaplain and pastor, I have the opportunity to facilitate pre-marital counseling for engaged couples ready to take the deep dive into marriage. Spring is peak wedding season, and I spend many Saturdays officiating.
If you have ever been around young, newly engaged couples, one thing remains constant (for the most part): they are bright-eyed, bushy-tailed, and sometimes obnoxious. Perhaps you remember what it was like to be in love—hanging onto every word your beloved uttered and ignoring their annoying quirks.
Young love is often adventurous, with long walks in the park, incredible meals at restaurants, and deep conversations about the future. Falling in love can be incredible, yet the “falling” is relatively short. Love is more than intense emotions and the inability to be apart. Love is a commitment. It requires effort and choice.
What I tell couples I counsel is this: falling in love easy, but abiding in love is lifelong work. To abide means to remain. Remaining through seasons of doubt and betrayal. Remaining through seasons of sickness and sorrow. Abiding means sacrifice. We are willing to give up the preference of “me” for the sustainability of “we.”
Love is no easy task. While I believe love is the deepest emotion and state of being we can ever experience, love can hurt because it makes us vulnerable.
When we give of ourselves to others, we open ourselves not only to joy but pain, not only to laughter but sorrow. To excitement and the mundanity of everyday existence. We open ourselves to dreams coming true and disappointment. We open ourselves to seasons of creativity as well as torrential rains.
In each of its forms, we live love. When we love, we wander into the wonder of our center. Perhaps this is why we are so persistent when it comes to love.
I believe when we love we tap into the essence of the divine. Perhaps it is our ability to love and to receive love that makes us divine.
Love has the power to cast out fear, and in the presence of this sort of love we learn something profound about ourselves: we are magical. We are capable of the amazing, situated in the impossible, reveling in the unbelievable, and dwelling in the midst of the indescribable because when we encounter abiding love, we get a clear glimpse of the miraculous beauty of our center. This is the space Howard Thurman called home.
May you walk in the beauty of love. May it go before and fall behind you. May it abide in and transcend you. May it cover you in deep sorrow and heights of joy. May you experience it today and tomorrow. For to embrace love is to embrace the majesty and glittering glory of life.