Why *More* is Never Enough

PHOTOGRAPH BY DAVID THOMAS

PHOTOGRAPH BY DAVID THOMAS

I ran into a girl I used to lead through a recovery class at the church my husband and I attended together. The 12-step recovery group was all about getting to the root of problems like people-pleasing, codependency, addictions, and anxiety. I would describe this girl as one of my "wild-child," she came in every week shared and encouraged other girls but was never satisfied with what God was doing in her life. "I just have never seen him be faithful to me," was her constant cry. She is young, pretty but has a shaky relationship with her parents and her love life was nothing to brag about. 

She wanted to see significant changes in her life, which included a husband, and each week she let myself and her group members know it.

Yesterday, she was different. 

I first noticed a classic emerald cut diamond ring on a young girls finger. Her head was down as she flipped through wedding magazines. She laid the hand that boosted the wedding ring on each page as if she was auditioning for a hand model position. When she looked up and smiled at me it did not register at first, but I knew, I knew the girl from somewhere. Immediately, it came to me as she said hello.

Getting ALL You Want

After exchanging hello's, she told me about her life now and that she was two weeks into her engagement. She shared how she was so frustrated with the group and never really enjoyed the oversharing. She also took issue with group leaders after I left. Today, she is engaged to an engineer who lives in another state, and they are getting married in May. 

"Everything worked out," she mentioned to me while showing off the ring. I was happy to see that she got what she wanted – a new job in interior design, a husband, and a chance for a better life then what she saw growing up. 

The only problem, she wanted more. "I can't believe this is it" and "this is what I wanted but I still see other stuff I want," were statements she made. At the same time, she understood why the recovery program was so important, because after getting what we want our faith is the only thing that sustains us. It was the same lesson I learned in my early twenties after landing a high-paying job, a condo in a prestigious part of town, and my perfect doggy companion, Jack. 

All I could do was smile and agree. She had the nugget that only life and experience teaches. I was happy to see how far she had come. 

Hot Tea & Marriage

Photo Credit:  Drew Taylor

Photo Credit: Drew Taylor

I've been married for one year and four months and let me tell you it has been a bold and emotional experience. Everything about marriage is about leaving yourself behind. If I think about dinner, I think about my husband. If I think about travel, I think about my husband, if I think about my future, I think about my husband. It's all intertwined.

If you marry the right person, marriage is sort-of-like like the movie Mr. and Mrs. Smith, without the guns and the physical fights. You and your partner are a team. A partnership is important within the union because married life is constant. We sleep under the same roof and therefore are engaged in a physical space daily. The togetherness can be suffocating if you marry the wrong person, trust me. Your partner can either inspire your wildest dreams or push you into a place of loneliness. 

My spouse is an introvert. He is always watching and always studying. Today, he found contentment in videos of men debating the Bible. My husband is not interested in showing up at church on Sunday and only taking the pastor's "word for it," he wants to know the truth for himself.

On Saturdays, we venture to a place we call home. Starbucks.

I don't know why we love Starbucks, we met at one, a typical date includes the place, and we spend our free time there. Starbucks is our place away from home, an activity we enjoy. I'm secretly hoping with just enough appearances the place will give us free coffee and tea for life; a girl can dream.

A visit over the weekend reminded me how much I've learned to put my husband before myself. It doesn't happen all the time, but I work towards the daily sacrifice. During this visit, after ordering a venti English Breakfast for him and a green tea for me, the barista handed me both drinks. Hot to the touch, I noticed she forgot his coffee sleeve. You know the brown thing around a hot cup that keeps the hot drink from burning your hand. 

As I walked over to the napkin, sugar and stir station to mix honey into his tea and add that organic sugar in the brown package into mine, I gently slide off my cup sleeve and put it on his. I thought to myself that the cup would be too hot for him and as for me, well, I can handle the heat. 

He would never know otherwise. 

I believe he would do the same for me.

Thyme

google image, 2016

google image, 2016

I stop cooking thyme into my scrambled eggs.
My husband hates the aromatic plant.
He says it gives the eggs a weird, earthy,
groundish sort of taste. He is so much of my joy, I oblige.

I heard a story of an older man who wanted a baby with his younger wife.
After trying for years, he suggested they see a doctor – she declined.
She believed that babies should happen naturally.
Over time they grew apart; he wanting kids, she unwilling.

They later divorced.

I guess that is what love is, what it requires of you.
If you love someone: you try for them, you sacrifice for them,
you go without for them, and sometimes love requires you to visit
a doctor for them.

In my case, love means I go without thyme in my eggs. 

@earlinagreen

The Art of Detachment

Cambridge Arts 

Cambridge Arts 

The Art of Detachment

A couple of years ago I went through a horrible breakup. Even though the split was devastating many lessons came from the period of mourning the loss of companionship.

I became a yoga instructor that year and learned of a principle called detachment. Detachment is used to put people and things in right relationship in our lives. It allows us to exist independent of those things and people. It clears out the human tendency to control, nag, and posses. At that time in my life, learning this way of thinking changed my life.  

Three years later I would meet my now husband and the beauty of our relationship blossomed from the principle of detachment.

I do not own my husband.

He is his own person.

I am my own person.

His needs, wants, likes, and dislikes are different from mine. That is okay. 

Love by nature is freedom.

The Bible teaches this same principle, freeing man from his obsession to make this life, a temporary state, his permanent home. The Biblical teaching goes on to read, "How do you know what your life will be like tomorrow? Your life is like the morning fog--it's here a little while, then it's gone." The message encourages us to not only live detached but to live each day as if it were sacred. 

Complete and utter independence from everything that seeks to own.  

My husband purchased for me a beautiful engagement ring - simple and classic. Most mornings I remember to slip it on before heading out the door. On days I decide to work from home I don’t wear it. But with or without what the world would call a "rock" and a status symbol of belonging and success on a personal level, I hold fast to not detaching myself to its significance. 

I am not defined by whom I am with, what I have, or who I strive to become.

The creator decides the purpose of his creation.

My position is to flow through life grateful for the moments that make up each moment, living in the present, learning from the past.

@earlinagreen 

The Heart of God

This evening my husband and I had the opportunity to meet with a married couple and catch up on the status of our married community group. The meeting was enjoyable. Two newlywed couples together with church leadership discussing marriage and the journey ahead. When I learned of this couples story I could not help but think to myself,

"Here is another one."

 I was listening to another story of two people with a heart for God reconciled after divorcing four years earlier. They laughed and enjoyed their newlywed status being remarried to each other in March. 

Here is another story of God doing what only he can do and that is to get right to the heart of the matter. 

If I can only love people, love my new husband like Christ loves me. Wouldn't that be something? All of us loving each other like Christ loves us.  Wouldn't that be something? Wouldn't that change the entire world? 

I don't know everything but I know this, no matter how far I've tried to run away from the truth of the gospel the message of Christ finds me. The message does not find me in some decorated building but in the lives of people He impacts. 

God, doing what only he can do - changing mans heart from stone. 

Another story. Another life changed. Another marriage saved. Another testimony revealing the heart of God.

Undeniable.