What does it mean to do life together?
This question has challenged me to think deeply, exposing things within my heart that are both frustrating, yet clarifying, as I take a good look at myself.
How do I live with others?
How does that play out within my own marriage covenant and within the four corners of this home I share with my ever-growing children?
While there are many definitions for life, perhaps mine could best be summarized in two short statements: be real and live closely. There is no place where the real me shines more brightly than at home, which is not always a positive for the other members of my household since the real me is sometimes agitated, impatient, unkind, selfish, and occasionally downright mean.
This is a part of the reality of a life lived closely with others.
For if life is nothing else, it should reflect closeness.
Living close means risking hurt.
Unfortunately, it can also mean inflicting hurt upon the very ones whom we love most. Let’s face it, even accidental pain occurs in tight quarters. There’s always the potential for bumping elbows or tripping over one another’s feet when you’re living in such nearness.
My husband has a term of endearment for me that illustrates this perfectly. He calls me his little phalanx. For those of you unfamiliar with the military term for the formation of infantry carrying overlapping shields and long spears, that may seem like a rather unromantic title for your beloved, but for warfare junkies like my husband, it is over-the-top romance at its best.
With this reference, Jon is calling me to join him as we do life together.
He is inviting me into his inner circle of confidantes, not just as a damsel to be rescued, but as a fellow warrior on whose strength he will depend. And I find that highly romantic!
My husband realizes we must form a united front as a married duo, or we will most certainly be the recipients of Satan’s divide and conquer strategy to destroy our marriage and summarily pick off our offspring in the process.
By inviting me to live in such close contact, Jon is exposing his vulnerability to me.
Opening himself to me and entrusting me with his life, knowing full well that I could easily inflict pain on him in ways that others cannot. But as we have both discovered throughout our years of married life, “It is worth the risk.”
We’d rather walk closely, risking the hurt, than live separately in supposed safety.
Doing life together means facing the daily challenges and joys as one.
If a family member is hurting, we are all hurting.
If one of us has reason for rejoicing, you can bet we are all celebrating along with that person.
Because we are choosing closeness, even when distance would be safer and easier. We choose to love amidst the pain. We risk failing and being failed, and we defend against others with a fierceness of commitment that only comes from living in tight ranks as we overlap our shields and protect each other’s weak spots. Baring our hearts, we also bear each other’s burdens and grow a little stronger each time we succeed, and perhaps even more so when we fail.
Life is an invitation to share ourselves with others as we invite God to fill the moments with His love.
It is believing that living is a goal to be accomplished rather than just a possibility to be pursued. Above all, it is trusting that God will be enough for us as we live and move and find our being in Christ even as we embrace the here and now which we are given.
One vulnerable moment at a time.
Barbara Snyder is a homeschooling mom, writer, and editor with a passion for missions. She is continually challenged to embrace life fully with her husband, five children, and the growing number of missionary sons whom God has grafted into her heart. You can get a larger glimpse of her life by visiting her blog at www.merewhispers.wordpress.com.
[Picture: TablinumCarlson, Flickr]