Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Close Enough to Forget: Love Believes First

About this series:  We all need encouragement, to be reminded we matter. Sometimes the nearest and dearest to us get the least of that needed encouragement. We've all spread ourselves too thin at times leaving little reserved for the ones we've committed to give to most, our spouse. So we're going to do something about it. We're going to focus on the ones living right under our own roof, sleeping in our own bed. But no worries if you're spouse-free. You can apply the encouragement to someone in your life who needs it: children, co-workers, friends, family members. Any soul will do because we all long to know we are seen and heard. Wherever you see "spouse," substitute someone else's name.  So grab a cup of coffee or whatever it is you're drinking today, and get ready to give a little. You'll be glad you did.
photo credit
Underneath a capricious prairie sky, we drive east along the Trans-Canada Highway.


The autumn sun is behind us. It pours out all it has left, in yellow and gold, and turns this concrete highway into a river of fire. But today as we drive home from Thanksgiving, we remember how to feel safe in the wispiness of clouds, remaining open to receive whatever comes our way, even as a dark and steely weight walks across the prairie and sets off whispers of a looming storm.

In the far distance, some of the clouds have already collapsed into thin strands. They hang over the barren fields like frozen tears.

A train hums along beside us and we eventually pass it. The colourful cars stand out against the sky which has turned strange and smoky grey. Ella Fitzgerald's "Solitude" comes on the radio. "Dear Lord above, send back my love."

Her prayer wobbles through the speakers.

"Are you looking for a rainbow, too?" asks Toby. She doesn't look at me. My wife simply leans forward in her seat, into the promise.

Our youngest is sleeping in the backseat. Our oldest sits behind me, musing over the infinite questions which a five-year-old mind can already harbour. Meanwhile, I'm wrestling with just one question: what can I say about marriage?

I don't know. But I do look up into the sky and see how love dances. And how love also moves along, beside me, drawn by the tracks of a purposeful journey.

When love moves you in so many directions, marriage becomes a daily practice in the art of vision.

Eight years ago, when Toby and I first met each other online, we were living in separate countries. Within days, though, we both began seeing rainbows. And now we've been watching them unfold ever since. Because we both continue to believe that our greatest promises will show up, even during our darkest moments.

Before anything else, marriage is an act of believing.

And then seeing.

The world often sees it the other way around: seeing is believing.

But love believes first -- and then chooses to seek and find a promise in any sky.

Sometimes I'm guilty of focusing on the grey. I wallow into a despairing chair of solitude. But I cannot sit there for too long because God has shown me the richness of colour, how His promises can light up a sky.

As well as two beautiful eyes.

My wife has brilliance. Her colours touch me with the weight of heaven. Her heart serves as a kind of prism, refracting everything which passes through it. I learn to see her in a new way. I learn to see myself in a new way. And I learn to see -- and understand -- God in a new way.

Love always believes there is something beautiful waiting to be seen. Once you commit yourself to actively looking for the promise, you are bound to behold glory.

Regardless of how long the highway looks today. Or how capricious the sky.


Tips for intentionality:
1.    Begin looking (not demanding) for a quality in your spouse that you don't currently see.
2.    Find something specific and concrete (your own rainbow) that you and your spouse can begin looking for, something you can celebrate together throughout the coming days and months.
3.    Sit down together and describe a dream. If either of you feel any tension or old hurt surrounding it, then begin today by simply giving words to the dream -- without the pressure of expectations or timelines. They'll come in time, after you first nurture the vision.

Matthew Kreider is a husband, father, writer and professional rainbow spotter. After 13 years of teaching high school students in Northern Indiana, he and his wife finally decided to pack up the house and move to Canada, where they were greeted by a rainbow at the border. Matthew is also a contributing writer for Tweetspeak Poetry.  You can read more of him here on his blog, Matthew Kreider.

Linking today with Emily, Jennifer, and Laura.

36 comments :

  1. "But love believes first -- and then chooses to seek and find a promise in any sky"

    This is beautifully written, and I really connect with the way you and your wife view marriage. It reminds me of my own, and encourages me to look for the hope,"Regardless of how long the highway looks today. Or how capricious the sky."

    I know I've seen you around the internet from time to time, but now I will pay more attention :) Thanks for contributing to Close Enough to Forget.

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    1. Thank you, Lori! I'll be looking for you, too. :)

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  2. Goodness knows I've seen only tornados in my marriage at times, but you are right -- love believes even when a rainbow isn't even a thought in my mind. I love your words, Matthew. They are beautiful and hopeful.

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    1. Faith is a posture, isn't it? Being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.

      Thanks for your invitation to write this post! :)

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  3. Matthew - I have SO missed your beautiful voice out here. Thank you, Jen, for inviting him to speak into this space, this topic. Please keep writing, Matthew, okay? I had hoped that your silence at your own blog and even at TSP was because you were a.) settling into your new life in Canada, or b.) working on a book that I might be able to buy and hold in my hands some day. Whatever the reason(s) for your absence, please know you've been missed and It is delightful to see you back here.

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    1. Oh, Diana. Thank you for these words of encouragement! (And for speaking to my heart. :)

      And I won't lie: the past THREE MONTHS have been a big transition...and a great adventure! Maybe I'm beginning to find my old groove again? I hope so.. :)

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  4. "our greatest promises will show up, even during our darkest moments." So true. Beautiful post!

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    1. Thank you, Eileen! The promises are so great. (Though sometimes I need special vision goggles (blinders?) to train my eyes to see them. :)

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  5. P.S. There is NO way that is a picture of a Canadian prairie. Looks like Kauai, the pali on the north shore, to me.

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    1. You are right -- I found that picture and put it in. I don't know what the Canadian prairie looks like, but I was in a hurry. :)

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    2. Diana - But we certainly dream of the north shore during winter...

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  6. oh, what perfect timing...
    thanks for these precious words.

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  7. What a wonderful post and how blessed the two of you are - I praise God daily for my amazing husband and pray we have many more years together :) Have a fabulous day!

    http://thejoyfulservant.com

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    1. Thank you -- I hope you (and your husband) have a fabulous day, too!

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  8. This was like reading poetry--I had to go back and savor each word picture. I especially like the tips for seeking a rainbow.
    Well done, Matthew.

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    1. Thank you for sharing that, Janice. I hope you'll find some "rainbows" soon. :)

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  9. Good to see you wielding the Ticonderoga, Matthew. It's still just as sharp, I see.

    :)

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    1. You're the greatest, Lyla. Thanks for stopping over. :)

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  10. Matthew, I love seeing this side of you. You and Toby are a stunning couple! I think you've found your pot of gold...

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    1. Oh, the gold is precious. :) Thanks, Laura.

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  11. Oh Matthew, you wrote so beautifully. Your words just drew me in. I watch clouds so we have something in common. LOL

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    1. Thanks, Jean. It's been a long time since I've paid so much attention to clouds. But these prairie skies are pure poetry. So beautiful. :)

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  12. There you are.......I concur with Diana--so nice of you to take Jen's invitation to guest post at her place. It's great to hear your voice again, Matthew. You and your lovely wife have made some big changes. Three, four, even six months sound about right for a life adjustment like that.
    And your post, well, just lovely, lyrical, like reading poetry as my friend Jan said.

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    1. It's great to hear your voice again, too! And I concur with you: the changes have been big! And good. :) It's funny, though -- because, looking back, the changes appeared so big and daunting. But then we kept putting one foot in front of the other. And then faith -- and maybe a little poetry, too -- filled up the spaces in between. :)

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  13. Well, those eyes of your wife twinkle with delight. You honor her with your words.

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    1. Thanks for dropping by, David. Always good to see you. Someday in real life, right? ;-)

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  14. Your words have brought much color to my day, Matthew. I've found a rainbow here. Thank you.

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  15. "When love moves you in so many directions, marriage becomes a daily practice in the art of vision."
    Not only marriage, but life itself.
    Love does believe first.

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    1. Vision is the main thing, isn't it? Relationships grow dim when we lose it. And you're right: life is no different.:)

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  16. "Love always believes there is something beautiful waiting to be seen. Once you commit yourself to actively looking for the promise, you are bound to behold glory." I love that phrase. And love believes first...then sees. There is such beauty and hope here!

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    1. Thanks, Theresa! And that hope and beauty is everywhere -- we just have to believe it! :)

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  18. Matthew,
    So, sweet and tender. I love that you saw a rainbow upon your arrival. What a sign? Right?

    Beauty, in the writing, and your sweet wife...she's gorgeous!

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    1. We saw that rainbow less than a mile from the border, directly over our crossing. We still had a lot of immigration anxiety in our heads -- so you can imagine the noise we made in the car once it appeared in front of us. :) We had taken all sorts of risks to make this move, and then, suddenly, we were reminded of His perfect peace and love. :)

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