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Never Let It End: Reflections of a Lifelong Love

Two weeks ago, Matt's sister, Kim, got married.  The day before the wedding, my mother in-law, Ruth, put together a lovely bridal picnic at Veritas Vineyard & Winery where Kim and Tom were married.  We were asked to share a word of wisdom about marriage to Kim from our own experiences as brides.  The first thing that came to mind that I wanted to share was a quote of Ruth Bell Graham's in a book she wrote entitled Never Let it End:  Reflections of a Lifelong Love.  This quote has stuck with me the last four and a half years of our marriage, and I really wanted to share it, but I couldn't remember it verbatim and wouldn't do it justice trying to piece it together.  Rather, I shared something my grandparents told my family about marriage on their 50th wedding anniversary.  I couldn't wait to get home to get my hands on the book to refresh my memory though!  So now, I will share it with all of you.  In her preface, Ruth Graham writes,

"I read my old premarriage poems, among the later ones included in this volume, with a bit of amusement.  I wrote them so earnestly--meaning every word--and lived to find them really unfair.  Pity the married couple who expect too much from one another.  It is a foolish woman who expects her husband to be to her that which only Jesus Christ Himself can be:  always ready to forgive, totally understanding, unendingly patient, invariably tender and loving, unfailing in every area, anticipating every need, and making more than adequate provision.  Such expectations put a man under an impossible strain.  The same goes for the man who expects too much from his wife." 
 
Matt is a husband that is exceedingly and abundantly more than I could ever have imagined in a husband!  But this quote needs to constantly be settled in my heart, as I am a perfectionist, demanding and expecting too much of both Matt and myself.  Yet, even Ruth Graham's quote is written with such tenderness and grace, and is a gentle reminder of keeping Jesus my All, and extending precious grace to my husband. 

We were in Asheville, NC when Ruth Bell Graham passed away.  It was a little surreal as I had thought so much of her the few days prior to her death while trying to recollect her quote that had penetrated my heart so deeply as a young bride.  When I was able to return home and read her book again, I read one of the last poems in the book that caught my eye as it was a poem she wrote about dying.  The timing of reading it again, striking.  So I part with Ruth Bell Graham's words:

And when I die
I hope my soul ascends
slowly, so that I
may watch the earth receding
out of sight,
its vastness growing smaller
as I rise,
savoring its recession
with delight.
Anticipating joy
is itself a joy.
And joy unspeakable
and full of glory
needs more
than "in the twinkling of an eye,"
more than "in a moment."
Lord, who am I to disagree?
It's only we
have much to leave behind;
so much...Before.
These moments
of transition
will, for me, be
time
to adore.

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