It’s quite uncanny the lengths we will go for the ones we love. I am writing this from a motor home in a campground so that is sufficient evidence for my love for the man I married but I took it a step further today.
It’s been a surprisingly cold and rainy few days in Jackson Hole. The first day we relished in a game drive and afternoon nap. The kids woke ready to rally for a bike ride since the rain had cleared. Tommy was hesitant. After a lot of pushing, he agreed and we were confused about his response and laughing at his resistance. Cycling is the one thing he truly loves to do daily and he had the four people he loves begging to go on a ride with him. He’s conquered Leadville and had plans to rock the challenge called LeadBoat (back to back races in Leadville, CO and Steamboat Springs, CO) but of course, the coronavirus has changed all of this. He was even genius to realize he could cycle to the rental car center and pick up our car at our Rocky Mountain campground. The boy loves to bike.
An hour or so later after our begging to make the most of the rest of the afternoon, he was a sweaty mess. He fixed the tire that busted while driving down the road, lubed the chains of all five bikes, swapped a seat cushion, and more. It was all a big effort and none of us know enough about bikes to help. We just wanted to enjoy the ride. He knew all that would be needed to go into it. It gave us all a bigger appreciation and it made us want to make the most of the ride together. Thankfully, it was well worth his big effort it and we had a muddy blast.
The following day the kids were invited to drive over to Yellowstone to see Old Faithful with their cousins. Tommy and I had a whole day to call our own. Of all of the things we could do, we saddled up on our bikes in the cold spitting rain and rode into town. I felt fierce after logging the 17 mile ride in my Orvis fishing jacket and yoga pants. He was pumped I was up for it. It was a big expression of love for me because of my willingness to lean into something he loves and try to understand it a little better.
This is the thing about love. It’s one of the greatest gifts but it is also some of the hardest work we will do. Most of us are likely familiar with the famous chapter in I Corinthians 13 that shares how love is patient and love is kind and all of the great expressions we expect from our partner. What struck me as I reflected the on the chapter today is the last part tucked in before the final verse: Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.
Love is learning to know yourself fully and knowing someone you love fully. It’s seeing the shadows of weakness and exploring them. It’s sitting with the truth that stretches between the two of you and honoring it, no matter how difficult it might be. It’s choosing to go through the unknown and stand with each other. It’s bracing for impact and coming out stronger. This seems far easier to do as a parent. There is a responsibility felt in creating a little being and taking ownership for your creation. You almost have to love your little monsters despite their bad behaviors.
It can become far harder to apply in marriage because of the perceived choice you made to connect …which then may allow for the possibility of disconnect. It’s humbling to take the time to explore yourself. Love begins with loving yourself and accepting all the parts you find. It’s pretty clear in I Corinthians 13:2: And if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing.
There is a new normal stirring and the quaranteam you had may be shifting because of it. Re-entry is hard enough when you are alone in your opinions but coming out of the safe space together can be harder because there are so many different points of view to consider. Baby steps can take you a long way. Make the small adjustments necessary. Start with finding ways to love yourself. Then take the time to look at those around you and understand what you might need to appreciate their choices. Put in the work to be known and to know. It may feel like a long road ahead some days, but when you believe you are in it for the long haul, the road opens up to far more possibilities than you could ever imagine.