February 2016 - Thoughts on Marriage

Anniversary 'Selfies' :)    

Our anniversary getaway - This past December 5th was our 34th anniversary.  And, coincidentally, there was a concert on that very day, December 5th, at Carnegie Hall in NYC, featuring Augustin Hadelich, below, (facebook) (website), a violinist whose playing is always unrivaled and so exquisitely beautiful, who we've spoken of before, and who we hear whenever we can!

(Photo by Rosalie O'Connor.) You can enjoy watching part of that concert program by watching Augustin playing in this new video  - a playful piece newly arranged for soloist and chamber orchestra. In this, Augustin plays with a conductor-less orchestra, so he is essentially playing the role of a collaborative conductor as well as a soloist. :) We are excited that this fall he won the inaugural Warner Music prize and also that his most recent recording of the Dutilleux concerto with the Seattle Symphony and Music Director Ludovic Morlot was nominated for a Grammy award in the category of "Best Classical Instrumental Solo" - and on February 15th 2016 he won his first Grammy!!! Augustin's hard work as we have followed him over the last 7 years is certainly paying off, but that's another story I guess.

A wonderful trip! So we got tickets and planned our first trip to Carnegie Hall in NYC!  The hotel room was free and walking distance from the concert. Augustin's playing was just incredible as we have come to expect, but always are awed by! The meals were on gift cards from friends and family.  So the expense really was nominal considering what we were able to do.  And we ended up taking a bike carriage through Central Park which is such a gorgeous pocket of nature in the middle of the NYC metropolis - we had never been in that section of NYC before and it was/is amazing! We also added 2 'obstructed view' tickets to the Nutcracker ballet for the next day, at the Lincoln Center, which is a special place with special memories for us because of other trips taken there with our family. It was such a special and fun anniversary trip for us!

'Selfies' but not on social media? Bernie and I are unusual.  We have no facebook.  We have no instagram.  No twitter.  No typical social networking type things.  Bernie keeps connected with people through a massive email list and a 4x6 card contact box and the telephone and a tendency to keep amazing records and keep track of lot of details about people.  And I guess also 'LinkedIn.' And I keep connected mostly because of him.  I am pretty content with my family relationships and have, with few exceptions, never been particularly good at keeping up long term in more than a casual way with people outside of that. That may seem weird and small and even wrong to you, but it is enough for me. I think those social media tools for me would make me feel like my life is nothing compared to whoever's beautiful life I would follow, (except for people I am content knowing I can never be like.) Then also if I didn't get any comments or 'likes' on my pictures or posts = sad, too, most likely. Is that pretty silly?  But I know myself! And for both of us, Bernie and I know way too much time would be squandered with those tools.  Maybe someday I guess, but I am still not on board, believe it or not! For now, for me, writing and putting pictures here is a peek into our lives that happens every month or so, a small look into my private world and thoughts that I am willing to make public.

But, in spite of our social media lack, we thought it might be fun to take a bunch of 'selfies' on our trip anyhow. For the record.

So what are my thoughts on marriage and what does that have to do with all these 'Selfies?' 

Maybe this is the 'selfie' part...in marriage when you love your spouse, you love your 'selfie' because the two are one. :)  So when you love your 'other half,' you love yourself.  And when your 'other half' loves you, they love themselves. Simple yet profound.

In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. After all, no one ever hated their own body, but they feed and care for their body, just as Christ does the church - for we are members of his body. “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.” [quote within this passage from Genesis 2:24] This is a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the church. - Ephesians 5:28

Women get stuck sometimes on the idea of submission, but we must remember the context is being a reflection of Christ and the church. We all, as part of the church; the bride of Christ, submit to Christ. So although Paul singles out the wives to reflect the mystery of the submissive aspect of the church to Christ, he also singles out the husbands to reflect the mystery of Christ's forgiving and sacrificial love for his church, by loving their wives as Christ loves us.  Which do you think is harder?  Submitting to your husband or being perfect and redemptive in love like the perfect incarnate God/man that is Jesus Christ?  To me the call for the husband actually seems harder than the call for the wife.  And I think both are virtually impossible without the help of the Holy Spirit. And women don't forget that Paul also says in verse 21,
"Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ."  So the husband is actually being called on to do both things.  And ultimately as women, so are we, because in Christ, by the power of the indwelling Holy Spirit, all believers are called to 'be Christ' in their love for each other and for those who don't believe. So both parts of the mysterious pairing in marriage have a big calling and big job. Submit to each other and love each other as Christ loves us.

Summary...So the wife part of the marriage mystery is to reflect the bride of Christ which is the church, and the husband part is to reflect the perfection in love that is our head and cornerstone, Jesus Christ.  But yet, we are both called to submit to each other out of reverence for Christ, and we both are called to love our spouse as we love ourselves, because how can we not?  We are one.  Can we love only half of the mystery that is the oneness of marriage?  Nope.

Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything. Ephesians 5:22-24

In conclusion, I want to say that I am grateful for the humbling call we have as a couple, to learn about and seek to reflect Christ and the church by how we portray marriage to the the world, however difficult and imperfectly that may be sometimes for Bernie and I; it is our calling and privilege. I am so grateful to the Lord for all our years together, for the ministry work we can do together, the family we have raised together. After all these years, I am also so grateful that Bernie and I still love each other in a ever growing and deepening and maturing way, still have fun together, serve and sacrifice for each other, and are best friends.  We definitely compliment each other and are able to do more together than either could on our own.  We sharpen each other! (at times the hard part, but good for us!)

So I guess that's it, I hope that all makes sense! And I hope you enjoy my marriage ponderings and also our anniversary 'selfies'! 

Happy Valentine's Day 2016 to all, and God bless you!


PS...My granddaughters found my wedding dress and veil the last time they were here...and wanted to try the veil themselves, which quickly moved into pleading with me to try on the dress, which incredibly and unbelievably was only about 2 inches from actually fitting, ha! Then next they insisted that I had to go upstairs and surprise Granddad. He was - and it was pretty sweet. :) Then when he took the girls home, they insisted he show the pictures to their Mama. When she saw the pictures, she suggested that they might be great to include in this anniversary, Valentine's Day, devotional. Then when all four of us were together the next night my other daughter-in-law and my own daughter concurred, so here they are! I hope you enjoy a few pictures of the rather silly, crazy time. 34 years since I last wore this dress! I surely am so grateful for these sweethearts so full of giddy enthusiasm about the whole thing. :) All the 'Cinderella and the birds fixing the dress' poses were their idea too. :) I think I look a bit 'deer-in-the-headlights-can't believe-I-am-doing-this-and-it-is-being-photographed-for-posterity'...but it was fun. I really am so blessed by such sweet girls, the big ones as well as the 'littles.' Having raised three boys and one girl who was never particularly 'girly', having these granddaughters and daughter-in-laws added to the mix is a whole new world that honestly I do love.  God is good. 

Some day...we will all be finally free from sin, as we all wear pure clean white and stand before our redeemer.  "For I know that my redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth" - Job 19:25 

May our lives and marriages be a reflection of and bring glory and praise to Him alone!