Saturday, April 30, 2011

Duane leaves for Fiji tonight--and I will miss him!

This morning I woke up at 5:30.  Normally I would go ahead and get out of bed and start my day, but this morning I rolled over and snuggled up to Duane.  He leaves for Fiji this evening, and I will miss him.

I know he'll only be gone a week, and I know that military wives (and husbands) go through long, frequent separations.  So I'm not complaining, only stating the truth.  And I'm really glad he gets to go to Fiji to install low-tech water filters with Give Clean Water.  Still, I will miss him.

I met Duane two months after I turned 16.  And now I'm 51.  You do the math.  I have known Duane longer than I haven't known him.  This July we will be married 33 years.  That's a long time.

Duane is my life.  Or to be more precise, our lives link inextricably so that he is a part of me, and I am a part of him.  When he is gone, a part of me goes with him.

It hasn't always been like that.  We started out as friends.  And then we fell in love.  And then we committed to spend life together.  And then we started living, and life gets hard sometimes.  But over the years, through good times and not so good times, as we've walked through all kinds of things--injuries, finances, children, job losses, miscarriages, and so on, we've grown together.  Duane isn't just my husband; he is my best friend, the one person I trust more than any other person.   Together, we have shared all of life's major milestones.  More than anyone else, he knows me.  And I know him.  And yet still we constantly learn new things about each other.

He wants what's best for me.  He believes in me.  He wants me to step out and do things I've never done, things I've been too afraid to do.  He's behind me when I succeed, and in case I don't do as well as I would like.

And I'm behind him.  I want what he wants.  Even when, sometimes, it isn't what I want.  But I know he'll never push me into something I really don't want.

I think this is what my relationship with God should be like.

It starts out fairly superficially and, over time, as I learn to know him, I fall in love with him and trust him increasingly.  I  want to please him.  I want to spend time with him, to snuggle up to him, if you will, just to be close to him.  I know he will strengthen me as I venture out into new adventures.  I know he's with me when I succeed, and in case I don't do as well as I would have liked.  I want what he wants.

As much as I trust Duane and know he loves me, I know--at least cognitively--that God loves me more than Duane does and is much more trustworthy.

I say at least cognitively because sometimes Duane's love for me is more real to me than God's.  I will also say that our relationship reveals things to me about the potential for my relationship with God.  I think that's why the Bible is so filled with analogies revealing the Israelites as God's beloved or the Church as the bride of Christ.

The love relationship we have with our spouse--or the one we wish we had--shows us what's possible with God.

Sometimes I think I put Duane ahead of God in my day-to-day life.  It's easy to do.  I can see Duane, touch him, hear his voice.  We live together--eating, sleeping, walking, talking every day.

Certainly nothing should ever come ahead of God.  But if we're honest, really honest, I think most of us find that other things frequently come ahead of God, whether it's ministry, our kids, our spouses, school, music . . .  And over time, as set out hearts on things above, as Paul instructs us to do in Colossians 3, God becomes increasingly important.  We begin to put him first.

It's part of that falling in love process.  That growing together.

Just as Duane has become a part of me, just as this has become increasingly true over the years we have spent together, God is a part of me, and this becomes increasingly true as times passes, as I learn to depend on him, as I learn to lean into him, to love and to trust him.

I will pray for Duane while he is in Fiji.  And while we are apart, I will take the time to grow closer to my other love, the one who loves me even more than Duane does.

Incidentally, the best part of this, is that Duane loves God just as I do.  We share this journey of learning to put God first.  We challenge each other to know God, depend on him, love him, and trust him.


Kj said...

I love you! You two help me see things clearly. ((((hug))))) I'm here for you if you need anything at all. Thank you for sharing something so dear to your heart. Blessed to have read it.

Erin Flew said...

thanks, Krissy!

michelle cullum said...

Loving your best friend is wonderful! It is hard sometimes to see where one of us ends and the other begins....that is true love and friendship. Thank you for the warm thoughts.