Saturday, July 4, 2009

Wife Rule #111: We are Forever

My wife and I recently spent some time together in one of the beautiful temples that our church builds as special places of worship. We hold these buildings sacred, as dedicated houses of the Lord. When we visit them, we come as His guests, seeking to gain communion with Him and learn His will for us. We try to attend the temple together on a regular basis, and we are always rewarded for our efforts.

One of the most worthwhile effects of worshipping in the temple for me is the way that it seems to elevate my thoughts above the transitory, earthy subjects that so often capture my attention. For a few precious hours, my mind is lifted up out of the world, to contemplate things of a much more lasting, permanent import. I am reminded that not only is there a God in heaven, but that He has a plan for us as His children. I am also reminded of the very prominent role my wife plays in God's plan for me.

This most recent evening as we sat in the temple, I found myself quietly thinking about the sheer immensity of God's creations, both in space and time. I contemplated the sobering reality of the never-ending future I will have, in which I will undoubtedly have occasion to think about the choices I make today that are shaping that future. Then I thought of my wife, and the fingers of my right hand found themselves tracing the shape of my wedding band on the ring finger of my left hand. Around and around they went, in a circular pattern that had no natural end. I recalled the words my wife had engraved on the inside of the band:

Together Forever

With such limited space available, it is somewhat amazing to me that such a profound message could be encapsulated in a six-syllable sermon on the inside of my wedding ring. Forever: a word that describes the indescribable. Is it really possible for two people so wholly in love with each other to continue on, like fingers tracing the outline of a circular ring, without an end to their union?

When my wife gave me that band, she gave it as a visible token of the eternal commitment she was making to bind herself to me. The ring I gave her was given with the same intent. And since the day we exchanged rings, we have each tried to live those commitments with our whole hearts, the never-ending circle of our union continuing in an eternal round, but expanding in scope as we grow in our capacities and commitment to each other.

The births of our children have each served as catalysts for sudden expansions of the circumference of our circle. You might think that adding these little souls to our family would cause the circle to change shape, to sprout new starting points of other paths leading in other directions; but in fact, the cyclical shape of our family it retains its integrity as a whole, uninterrupted, sealed entity without any apparent entry or exit--it's just bigger.

Our experiences with our children bear this out. After adjusting to the initial changes that each child brings, we quickly settle into a family routine where it seems unlikely that this child was ever not part of our family; that surely this person was meant to be with us, and of course will continue as part of us, forever.

And so it also feels natural that my wife and I are together. It may sound trite or foolish or fantastic--take your pick--but it feels as though we have always been together. The funny part is, I can remember that it wasn't always this way; we have had--and still have--plenty of spots in our relationship that require smoothing out. But nonetheless, my wife's efforts to harmonize with me have at length resulted in such a natural fit and compliment to my rather strange edges, with my reciprocal efforts fitting around those equally singular edges she must also have, that together we are complete: a whole package; a single, unbroken surface whose synergy covers the barbs and quirks.

It's as if we were meant to be. As if we just are. As if there never was a time when we weren't a part of each other, nor ever will be. Without beginning and without end.

Like a ring.


1 comment:

Shell said...

I'm so glad you love Brooke, she's awesome. So are you! I'm glad I can be an extended part of your family