(Play this while you read. You don’t have to watch the video.)
Last night, after the littlest kids were tucked in, after a long and frustrating day (did I mention school was cancelled yesterday?!), Marc and I were getting ready for the Bible study we have at our house every Thursday night. Marc was cleaning the kitchen (loading the dishwasher and hiding the dirty ones that didn’t fit in it). He’d put on our Indigo Girls cd for some reason, looking specifically for the song above.
The lyrics are so beautiful:
There I am in younger days, star gazing,
Painting picture perfect maps of how my life and love would be
Not counting the unmarked paths of misdirection
My compass, faith in love’s perfection
I missed ten million miles of road I should have seen
Meanwhile our friends we thought were so together
Left each other one by one in search of fairer weather
And we sit here in our storm and drink a toast
To the slim chance of love’s recovery.
The words make me think of the couples I know who have separated, those who have had to forgive many hurts, the long relationships that have lasted, and of what I’ve learned about love in my relationship with Marc. How love isn’t about not hurting each other, but about a willingness to stay and to love when there are many hurts — accepting the limitations of human love both in ourselves and in our partner. There are no “picture perfect maps”. We will never love perfectly. And when we think like that, we miss the chance to be loved as we are.
Like the moment last night where, after that long day, Marc needed me to stand up so he could open the dishwasher. My hands were covered in pear gunk from making cheddar pear pie for the Bible study. Instead of starting to load the dishwasher, Marc stopped and stood in front of me and hugged me. I hugged him back with my arms stretched far to not get pear gunk on him. And as we hugged there for a long time, in our messy kitchen, after a crummy day, these words played:
To let this love survive would be the greatest gift we could give
Though it’s storming out I feel safe within the arms of love’s discovery
And I got tears in my eyes and realized again what a delicate and precious gift it is to be loved deeply in the middle of the messes of life. That we can’t hate the messes, because that’s how the love becomes deep. And that that is where true contentment is — tired, in the messy kitchen, with pear on my hands, resting in someone’s arms.
(Oh, and here is the song (unfortunately, with poor sound) of the song done with Sarah McLachlan in three part harmony! Which always makes anything better!)