Marriage. For better, for worse. For richer, for poorer. In sickness and in health. The vows spell it out for us. The words remind us that both happen. It's not all cloud-free days and a bouquet of roses. Why are we ever surprised when the wave knocks us over? We know it's there. We knowingly choose to get in the water. Sometimes we see it coming. Sometimes it sneaks up on us when we're not paying attention. Then, WHAMO...we toss and we turn. For a moment even we might not even know which way is up. Hopefully we remembered to take a big breath before we went under or else we're gasping for air. If we're lucky we pop back up to the surface and all is calm again. And we float. And we enjoy the calm. And we get ready because another wave is coming. The ocean waves crash one after the other and then there's a calm. Like they need time to regroup...or they know we do.
Today, I take a breath. A slow return to my feet. I was swirling about in the wave, but my feet have at last found the sandy floor. It started with a small wave, enough to knock me off balance a bit. A wave of stress, followed by a tired and a burdened and a plate too full hit me. This is life. This is what it's like to be a human. This is living out the vows. This is feet digging deep in the sand when the currents want to take you away.
But I'm thankful. Thankful he's still here. Thankful he didn't wash away with me. Thankful that the wave didn't keep me under for long. Maybe it's the perfectionist in me that thinks this shouldn't happen. Maybe it's the very thing I need to open my eyes and remember that I'm not in control. As much as I try to keep my feet under me I can't keep the wave from knocking me under.
Oh, there are times when I see it coming. It's big and ominous. And I take a big breath and dive through it head first. But then there are other times when I see it coming and I just hold my nose and let it come over me. And I don't fight the wave. I let it swirl me around and even though it feels like chaos I trust that when it passes over me I will come up again for air and be mostly unscathed. I know my diving through it is me controlling, self-protecting. The sooner I can get through it the sooner I'll be standing on two feet again. But is that the best way?
There is something freeing about letting go in that wave. About letting yourself be tossed about. And trusting that it will be okay. Trusting not in yourself. Believing in the plan God has for you and accepting it, whatever it may be.
Like the rhythm of the ocean waves on the sand...struggle, rest, struggle, rest...this is the rhythm of life. Don't dive through. Just let go!
The LORD is gracious and righteous;
our God is full of compassion.
The LORD protects the simplehearted;
when I was in great need, he saved me.
Be at rest once more, O my soul,
for the LORD has been good to you. (PSALM 116:5-7)