On Love and Committment
Isaiah and I realized this weekend that we had been a slight bit lazy for the last week or so. You know…we moved the mattress into the living room on the floor…haven’t picked up for a week at all…have watched a disgusting number of movies. Beyond that we’ve spent the last week scarfing down Stouffer’s enchiladas and other pre-made meals. Saturday we went out to Olive Garden with our couple friends and didn’t succumb to the usual “eat, then go-home” yuckiness. Sunday we decided to walk the mile to downtown Denton and enjoy the day out and about. We browsed at Recycled Books for a few hours and got some frozen yogurt.
We’re trying to pick it up by living a bit more deliberately. We wanted to read something together. One of my favorite books is called Blue Like Jazz. The tagline for the book reads, “Non-religious thoughts on Christian spirituality.” Whether or not you’re a Christian, the book is insightful and hilarious in a totally accessible way on our day-to-day life-y-ness. My favorite writers are able to write about something that happens to all of us in such an accurate and real way that I’m all, “Yeah, that’s exactly how it goes…good work.”
One of my favorite bite-sized phrases from author, Donald Miller:
[In love] there [is] somebody in the world more important than [you], and that, given all that happened at the fall of man, is a miracle, like something God forgot to curse.
I went to a small, Christian school from grades preschool to sophomore year of college. I rebelled against the church and landed with a letter of the “We’d prefer it if you didn’t return next year” persuasion in my lap. Belief is a tricky thing. Religion is possibly trickier. My initial rebellion was for rebellion’s sake. Later on, I felt the repression of Christianity weighing on me daily. The searches of my car and person, room and bags for cigarettes, not crack, like you could assume, were getting old. I believed in God, but that wasn’t enough for them. I wasn’t good enough the way I was.
A friend of mine, Amber, used to say, “Whatever voice you have inside telling you you’re not enough, shaming you, doesn’t come from God. He couldn’t use shame, it’s not in His nature.” The church is what uses shame. Associating with the particular sect of protestant church I belonged to made me feel like I belonged to a cult. We used to joke that 99% of the girls at the college were only there for their M.R.S. degree and the joke wasn’t funny anymore when engaged girls were dropping out of school left and right. Believing in God always made me feel like a little less of a badass and more like them. Miller and I agree on that point.
He explains believing in God as this: The goofy thing about Christian faith is that you believe it and don’t believe it at the same time. It isn’t unlike having an imaginary friend. I believe in Jesus; I believe He is the Son of God, but every time I sit down to explain this to somebody I feel like a palm reader, like somebody who works at a circus or a kid who is always making things up or somebody at a Star Trek convention who hasn’t figured out the show isn’t real.
Anyways, I read a piece of the book at my mom’s wedding three years ago in my maid-of-honor speech on love and commitment. The passage is from Miller’s play, Polaroids. It’s a little old-timey in style, which is actually why I like it. It’s the most traditional passage in the book, actually, in its view on God and love.
I will give you this, my love, and I will not bargain or barter any longer. I will love you, as sure as He has loved me. I will discover what I can discover and though you remain a mystery, save God’s own knowledge, what I disclose of you I will keep in the warmest chamber of my heart, the very chamber where God has stowed Himself in me. And I will do this to my death, and to death it may bring me.
I will stop expecting your love, demanding your love, trading for your love, gaming for your love. I will simply love. I am giving myself to you, and tomorrow I will do it again. I suppose the clock itself will wear thin its time before I am ended at this alter of dying and dying again.
God risked Himself on me. I will risk myself on you. And together, we will learn to love, and perhaps then, and only then, understand this gravity that drew Him, unto us.
There are a few things I love about this part of the play. First, the idea of giving yourself to your spouse every day. Recommitting and deciding to stay in love despite the ridiculousness that might present itself.
Second, I feel so much like Donald Miller in that I refuse to let Christianity interfere with my love for God. But relationships often taken precedence over whatever you believe because you have a new most important being – your love. Keeping your beliefs, whether they be in God or Allah, chaos or Buddha, whatever they be, in your relationship is really difficult. Remembering, in my case, that God gave us the love we enjoy helps keep Him inside of it.
Chris Rock has a bit where he talks about sharing interests…Your spouse can’t go to church and then you stay home and light up the crack pipe. It just won’t work. No, I don’t think couples with different religions can’t/shouldn’t/wouldn’t work. Not in the least.
I am certainly not preaching, I hope it doesn’t sound that way. I have far too little energy today to convince someone it’s Tuesday, let alone of anything spiritual. Why do you care about this book, faith and what not? We’re on the verge of deciding what kind of wedding we want to have. I love the idea of twisting a traditional wedding into something interesting…writing our own ceremony and what not. I have, however, decided that I want our beliefs to be integrated into the wedding. I want the wedding to be infused with our values and what’s important to us…I didn’t think our wedding would ever resemble a wedding. I certainly never thought that reading from the Bible would happen at any wedding of mine. But I think I want it to.
What’s traditional about your wedding?
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