One of the rewards of a long relationship fraught with trials and tribulations, is a quiet, comforting trust – a faithfulness that just is. This is what I want to say, but it is a lie, or more accurately a partial truth. Along with the trials and tribulations, I need to include a willingness to walk back into the war zone with an unshakable desire to make the relationship work. It required that one of us, but over time both of us, be willing to stop spewing hurtful comments, to ask what the other needs, and listen. It required that both of us be willing to say I’m sorry more than we wanted to, and to look directly into frightened eyes to share forgiving grace and peace.
We didn’t enter our relationship knowing how to do this, we were just leaving our teens, we had to learn. We had to learn the kind of faithfulness that is more complex and takes more work than just not having sex with someone else. This is the kind of faithfulness that allows me to trust that J really wants to give me the emotional and physical things I need to grow, develop, and be at my best. It requires that I be diligent about what I say and do, so he will also trust that I want the same for him. This faithfulness is warm and comforting, but continues to take a lot of work – it can feel fragile at times.
The Christian ceremonies of Easter are over and life returns to our normal routines. All faiths and belief systems need ceremonies and rituals to remind us of why we remain faithful; but what does faithfulness look like in the routines of our non-ceremonial days. This is a question I ponder a lot. There is a part of me that feels secure in my faithfulness to the God I believe in; but I also question if I do enough. I have read and listened to many who have more theological knowledge, and my acts of faithfulness don’t align with how they suggest I demonstrate faithfulness. I worry that I don’t do enough.
Is it enough for me to move through my days with the calm assurance that all is right within our relationship; God and I, J and I? Do we need to have scheduled meetings to make sure we are hearing each other, or can I trust that we are – until an edginess tells me we aren’t? Can I trust that we love each other until an uneasiness requires I ask? Can I trust that my needs will be met if I am wise enough to recognize the gifts? Do I need to give up the quiet comfort of being together, long times of hearing even when words aren’t spoken?
My faithfulness to God and my faithfulness to J developed side by side. A crucial element seems to be knowing that the faithfulness of the God I believe in is different, is special. I needed to learn and trust that the faithfulness of God is pure and total and the logical conclusion is that ultimately my learning about faithfulness, about love, has come from my God. Because I know this, J & I can continue to practice this faithfulness together in our relationship. This faithfulness can spread into our world. I experience comfort and confidence in this.
Maybe, just maybe, I can trust that it is working. And if it is working, I don’t need to fix it. When it needs fixing, I will attend to it. Feels like faithfulness to me. And my God smiles.
Thank you to Charlie for planting the seed of inspiration that grew into this reflection. You can read the post that did it by visiting his blog Read Between the Minds. He is a very talented poet who shakes up my mind on a regular basis.