There is a musician named John Prine, and he wrote a song titled, In Spite of Ourselves.
There is some borderline crudeness or edgy humor in the song (depending on your definition of crude and edgy, and I guess, borderline) but nothing too extreme. Have a listen if you are up for it.
Sometimes in my life, I catch myself looking around for the big thing. Like, what is it that’s coming my way, or that I’m working towards, or that I might discover if I look hard enough. What is the “brass ring” so to speak, in this life I’m living, and what will it take for me to discover it?
And there is a line in this song, that says:
“In spite of ourselves, will end up sittin’ on rainbows,
against all odds, honey we’re the big door prize…”
As I was listening to this song the other day, it struck me, the big thing is right next to me. My wife can’t solve everything for me, and she can’t save my soul, but, I think (at least for me) that I can get so caught up in searching for and trying to create my “moment” that I forget that I’ve already won. They did the raffle, and they called my name, and I went home a winner the day that Jennifer said “I do”.
And as it relates to “I do”, consider this:
One of the concepts that is frequently quoted at weddings, or when discussing marriage, is the idea of 2 becoming 1.
(It’s also, apparently, a Spice Girls Song. I categorically deny listening to it after I Googled “2 become 1”).
I think there is a natural tendency for us to hear “2 become 1” and think that the “1” will be us. Like, “Oh, of course, we will join together…and then we will be like me…with a little bit of her mixed in.” We are the 1, in our minds, and someone else is joining in.
But that’s not how it works. We didn’t get married and become me, and we didn’t get married and become her. We got married, and together…we are living, not to become more like one or the other, but instead, to become more and more like Jesus, together, in our marriage.
We are not the 1. It’s Jesus.
Recently, I wrote my wife a note, taking a quote from F. Scott Fitzgerald (who apparently was a Mack Daddy) that said…
“I love her, and that’s the beginning of everything”
And as I wrote it, I wondered if I should feel a little guilty, because, shouldn’t Jesus be the beginning of everything? And maybe that was sacrilegious, and maybe I shouldn’t be copying F. Scott Fitzgerald, because he probably wrote that just to get some action.
And then I thought, that maybe Jesus would understand, because he is far away, and Jennifer is close by, so maybe it wasn’t that big of a deal.
And then (I obviously am way too analytical) I realized this…
Jesus is not far away.
Jesus is close by.
And I know Jesus is close by, because Jennifer is close by.
So I think He understands my note.
And if He doesn’t understand my note, I know that he understands my heart.
And while I certainly feel the need to lead, and we both have roles that we fill for each other and for our family, I think things are best when we are both simply close by. And mostly, I don’t think I’m called to get out ahead of my family, and make clear the path. I believe WE are called to walk alongside each other, together, and stay close by.
Most of our challenges probably come when one or both of us forgets this, and gets a little too far away. Our best reconciliations, with our spouses, and our friends, and our Jesus, come not when we provide answers or give apologies, but when we return to each other, and get close.
WE are the big door prize. And when we can accept that, believe it, and live it out in our marriages and our families, we will all be better off,
In Spite of Ourselves.