I remember the day when I was four years old and said to my mother, “Are you from outer space?” I was a serious four-year-old asking a serious question. I actually remember that morning in our kitchen when I asked the question, and my mom smiled and said, “No son. I am your mother.” I had just watched one of those old black and white Sci-fi movies depicting an alien in a flying saucer visiting a small Arizona town and scaring its citizens. My young imagination was moving at warp speed.
This morning when Jan and I got up and stood at our respective sinks in our bathroom, I looked over at Jan and asked, “Are you from outer space?” I retold my four-year-old story, and we started laughing. The bathroom window was open and if our neighbor were also up at 4:15 she would have wondered why people were laughing so loudly somewhere out in the darkness at such an early hour.
Jan and I have been together for so long I tell people I don’t know where I end and she begins. The oneness of a long-term marriage begins to blur some lines of separation in the relationship while at the same time highlighting and protecting our individual personalities in ways that only a life-long commitment can deliver. Our marriage is a gift from God, not a trophy of our goodness, wisdom or always doing the right thing. Sometimes we just look at each other in appreciation for God’s merciful patience with us.
At some point in a long-term relationship, you will enter a new space created by a new season. While you might not ask the “Are you from outer space” question, you might look at someone you love and see something you had not seen before. That happened to me this morning, the actual date of our 45th anniversary. This morning as I stood at my sink washing my face, I looked over at Jan and saw something new in her.
The love of God manifested in two imperfect people, whether spouses or good friends, is not an arrival. This kind of love is the paving stones of a journey that draws two people deeper into each other and into the heart of God. This is a depth never thought possible when the relationship first began. It is an alien form of love on Earth not experienced unless God is the glue that binds two people together when failure or disappointment is experienced.
These two alien lovebirds are starting off on a romantic weekend together. The card is signed. The champagne is chilled, and the red roses are in a vase. While our flying saucer is being fueled, I am feeling blessed.