New Voices: By and about young adults
In my marriage, we’d hit that inevitable slump that seems to hit all marriages around the seventh or eighth year. Amid the difficulties, when God speaks, it comes as water in the desert, and God’s message came to me from the parable of the sower in Luke 8. During this hardship we were experiencing, we had glimpses of real connection and growth, but these moments quickly turned for the worse with just a comment or conversation topic, reminding me again of the consequences of bad sowing in my life.
My desire has been to learn to love, to love even when I don’t feel like it or when I’m with a person I don’t always like. Yet I realize that my work in this relationship is my own journey of seeing the rough edges in me that need softening and the blurriness that needs greater clarity. This is not the time or it would not be worth my energy to try to change my partner. That is futile. So the question that lingers is how I learn to love and live in this relationship just as it is, just as he is.
Here I come to Luke 8, where there are birds, rocks and thorns along the way. The Spirit shows me a new way to see this passage and reveals that God is also sowing God’s unconditional love in each of us, and it comes to me as a song of love. While I tune my voice to sing this love song, the enemy flies in, and unbelief makes a nest in my heart. I begin to doubt that this love is possible, that it is real, that it can be mine. My voice quivers, and I stop singing. I let it go to be taken away, and I live in doubt and loneliness. No sooner did love arrive and it was gone, and I could not reap the benefit of it in my own life, much less give it to anyone else.
The second experience I can relate to begins with love finding an open door within me, and it gives me and those around me great joy. I have moments of delight in marriage, but then the inevitable, rugged terrain of conflict, struggle, argument comes and, alas, it’s gone. This love produced a new song to sing but without a strong melody, no one to sing it. It had nothing to sustain its life.
The last of the depressing conditions I’ve found within my marriage are the thorns that arise. He and I have been able to reconcile the initial problems that were once obstacles to our intimacy, and we find our house becoming a home anew, but soon enough, the deeper issues arise—the concerns of this life, the worries, cares, riches and pleasures reveal the great divide within us, and our love does not mature. It’s as if we join in song, have the same song, then suddenly our songs are unrecognizable to each other, and we are no longer in unison.
Yet God’s unconditional love perseveres, and God’s song continues to be sung within us all if we are willing to hear, willing for love to grow in intensity and volume. We with Spirit work on tuning our ears to hear by first going to that place within. Find the original tune that God has been playing within you. Hear that song grow in strength and courage. That may mean nurturing yourself and your relationship with the Sower. Let the Sower speak to you with God’s song of breath, breathe the melodies and harmonies that you need to be in greater unison for producing a song unique to you. In turn the original song between your beloved and you arises, and you become one.
This love “you hold fast with an honest and good heart, and you will bear fruit with patient endurance.” It is here that I’ve found the answer to my question. First, instead of the enemy taking it away, I hold fast to the rhythm within me, and with all honesty and graciousness, our love song may be created. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends.
Janet Trevino-Elizarraraz is a member of San Antonio (Texas) Mennonite Church.