Monday, July 19, 2010

The Golden Sea

"Tell me how many songs that I must sing before I can see you in your glory, hear your whole entire story, bathe inside your golden, golden sea?"
- Trevor Hall

I realize you just read the above quoted lyric, and maybe you liked it. I ask you to please read it again, and drink it in slow like hot, honeyed tea. Go ahead... It's delicious, isn't it? The song is 31 Flavors by Trevor Hall and is one of my favorite hymns to love. I discovered his music through one of my senior students last year - thanks Tosti!

So now.... give yourself a minute to ponder this: How many people do you really know on Planet Earth? I don't mean know about, or have encountered in your travels, or clicked "confirm friend" with on Facebook. I mean face to face, heart to heart, soul to soul friends.

How many people do we really know, deep down, to the core, and to the point of practically being able to finish their thoughts for them, predict their actions, read their hearts, swim in their golden, golden sea of experiences? Is it one? Two?

The only soul I can honestly say I know on that intimate, almost spousal level, is... well, my spouse.

As we approach our 7th wedding anniversary (just three weeks away), I've been thinking of her more and more. I mean really thinking of her. This whole marriage thing is pretty earth-shattering you know. What a blindingly brilliant thing it is to be able to say to another human being, "Come in..... look around. The place is yours." What a crazy thing it is to say to another person, (you with all of your sins and weaknesses, they with theirs) "Let's become One. I give you sovereignty here. I turn over the key. What's mine is yours and what's yours, I ask of you, let it be mine."

I am convinced that God gave us marriage as an aid or a preparation for Something More, Something Big. Namely, HIS entrance into the human heart, and our hearts entrance into the Communion of Saints in Heaven some day. Marriage is a "school of love" and a fertile field where the fruits reach high, "so high that I can almost see eternity" (that's Anne Murray by the way, not Trevor Hall). But to plant Heaven's seed you need to dig up that soil, scour those fields, remove the rocks and old roots of selfishness and greed and ego. Marriage is farming the fields.

We all speak of a forever love too. We want it to spread wings big enough to escape the fields of earth, of the gravity of time and death. We want to soar. But we know simultaneously that even as it soars, "at death do we part." As wonderful as my marriage has been these past seven years, I know it's not the be all and end all of my existence. We don't exactly "complete each other" - what human being could really do that for another? The sooner couples realize this the healthier the union will be! A certain debilitating pressure comes off the shoulders. Who is the ultimate Bridegroom after all? It sure ain't this Jersey boy. And who is the spotless Bride of Revelation, the wife of the Lamb? I say Rebecca is a close second ;)

And I would lay down and die
For one glimpse of those open eyes
How am I to describe
The one who holds the Sun's Fire

Earthly marriage is a foretaste of a Heavenly one. "The Spirit and the Bride say 'Come, Lord Jesus!'" The Immaculate Daughter of Jerusalem and the reflection of the Son's Fire in her eyes is what I see in Rebecca. And I can only hope she sees the Fire of the Son in me. Therein lies the daily work of marriage! What she shines with is more than her own making. In fact, when she shines brightest is when she is outside of herself - transparent in her mothering of our son, of her nieces and nephews, caring for those marginalized, the poor, the lonely and abandoned, and in her patient love and support of me, inspiring me, serving me in so many thoughtful ways throughout the day, always thinking of me. She shines with a "heavenly" light, like stained glass.

So there's joy and struggle and effort and grace as we share in swimming this "golden golden sea" of married love. And it's a beautiful opening hymn to the Communion of Saints that's coming! Maybe it takes us to the sea's horizon in this world, and then the veil lifts, to a Blessed Realm. Then the ultimate Marriage begins! Then we shall know and be known, we shall see and be seen, and we shall "hear our whole entire story, and bathe inside His golden, golden sea"  forever...

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