We’re 1 year in to a beautiful marriage.
We’re 11 days in to a dream-stretching, destiny-shaping trip to Cape Town.
I’m not sure which one has been more revealing.
We’ve learned a lot about God’s love for all types of people on this trip to Cape Town. We’ve also learned a lot about ourselves, and a whole lot about each other.
I don’t know what I did to deserve such a handsome super-husband (aka: my polar opposite), but we undoubtedly go together. We don't quite go together like the proverbial peas and carrots. (He hates peas.) Or like cookies and cream. (I don’t waste time with any dessert less than 85% dark chocolate… And he says my chocolate like tastes tree bark.) Or like peanut butter and jelly. (He puts his peanut butter on apples. I put mine on chocolate. Dark, dark chocolate,)
He walks to get somewhere, and I stroll for the scenery.
He sees life in pictures. I hear life in words.
He finds rest running up a mountain. I find it sprawled out on a sandy beach.
He comes alive in wintery weather. I savor summer days.
I could go on and on, but you get the point. We’re different.
We were both born in America - the nation often referenced to as a “melting pot” as a result of every type of person in the world influencing one another to create a whole new culture. We met and married in South Africa - the nation that calls itself "The Rainbow Nation" because there are so many colors, cultures, languages and lifestyles that live side-by-side, like the bands of color that create a rainbow.
There’s a big difference between a melting pot and a rainbow.
There are big, big, big differences between the culture groups, neighborhoods, income brackets, and worldviews of the people in the city limits of Cape Town. I’ve been trying to make sense of something with each new accent, new street, and new encounter while we pray through the city and purposes God has for us here. I can’t. I can’t melt them into one, and I can’t paint their colorful differences like a defining banner. I can’t hold the whole world in my hands.
But I can hold one hand. And we can go on a walk.
Yesterday, my husband changed his plan for the afternoon. (My man loves to have a plan and to stick with it.) He gave up his sunset mountain run to get back into the zippy rental car he’d driven all day and drive me to the beach for a sunset stroll. He wanted that run, but he wanted to reach for me even more than that. He knew that sunset walks on the beach fill my soul, and he wanted to give me a sunset.
We were surrounded on all sides by mountains. The flamingos hardly noticed the horses and dogs that ran by playfully while the sun set dramatically on the ocean. The clouds danced and the sky turned all the right colors while we walked in the warm water of the tidal pan. We watched a sunset surfer silhouette on the waves and felt like we had the beach to ourselves.
|This is real. All photos by super-husband Chris Ladd.|
For more, his instagram is chrisleeladd. #worthit
There’s no single word capable of describing the heights and depths of my joy last night. I felt so deeply loved by my husband and so blown away by God’s beauty. It was too much to wrap my mind around. But I didn’t have to. I just had to experience that sunset.
And it was so fun.
We can watch the news happening anywhere in the world and be overwhelmed.
We can hear the tense buzz of conversation about university riots at the coffee shop table next to ours.
We can wonder at the source of brokenness that gets covered by the latest fashion, the fastest car, or the fiercest gang name.
And we can get afraid. Or overwhelmed. Or something that stops us from doing anything, going anywhere or reaching for anyone because there are so many differences.
I don’t know how to turn all the bad news into good news or make those university students around the corner stop guzzling wine instead of going to class. I don’t know the first step for the fashionable and the fierce to stop hating each other, or even to start seeing each other.
But I do know about sunsets.
I know I’m not made to hold the whole world in my hand, and I could never have planned an encounter with the Creator as incredible as last night’s sunset. I know that someone who is very different from me gave up his plans and preferences for me yesterday, and a very dry place in me got watered.
It may seem outlandish to compare the issues of humanity to a sunset walk on the beach with your husband. But maybe it’s not if we put things into perspective from the proper vantage point.
The Church is the bride. Christ is the groom.
That Husband gave up his seat in heaven to come sit next to people full of sin and very dry soul-places.
He reached for His Bride while they hammered His hands, and He reached across the gap for Her.
It was a gap much larger than peas and carrots or mountains and beaches.
A Groom gave Himself to reach for His Bride, so She could access true, free, unlimited love.
He said it was to make His joy complete.
My husband gave up his sunset plans for my good, and I found out there was more space for love in me.
And we had fun!
What if we don’t have to hold the whole world in our hands?
What if we just use our hand to hold another?
Or if we just give up a sunset for someone else to experience a love beyond what we could create on our own?
What if we had fun with someone because they’re worth it?
Your love story of the day may not be giving up a mountain run in exchange for a flamingo-flocked sunset. (I’m sorry if it’s not.)
It may be turning off that cell phone at the dinner table to play highs/lows or turning down the news on the radio on the way to school to practice multiplication rap. It may be beans and rice for dinner every night so everyone can eat as much and as often as they like. It may be having one less of something so someone can have one more. It may be having one more of something so there’s enough to share. It may be giving up a sunset for a sunrise. It may be really, really fun.
It doesn’t feel quite so ominous or overwhelming when you think about it that way.
It’s not the whole world in my hand or yours.
It’s not saving South Africa - or even Cape Town.
It’s one hand that reaches for another.
It’s choosing to do whatever it takes for someone else to encounter love.
Fun, freeing, beautiful love.
Go give someone a sunset. And you might just have fun.