elsewhere, and inside

photoRight now, I am sitting on a train somewhere in Massachusetts. The world rolling along outside my window is awash in bright sunlight, verdant vistas, and intermittent views of small town streets and urban skylines. It is America…countless stories of the coming and going of everyday lives being lived alongside one another, brushing up against these rails I’m traveling.

IMAG0869IMG_20130720_031946It is the internal landscape I am considering at the moment, however. The spaces between thoughts and feelings…between experience and aspiration. Remembrance, reflection, and the desire for refining. Traveling – especially when I’m doing it by myself – tends to put me in an introspective frame of mind.

Earlier in this rail journey I was doing something that would probably prompt others of my gender to revoke my Man Card: I was looking at Pinterest.

If you need to stop reading this post now…I will understand. I hope you’ll hang in there a bit longer, however, and allow me to explain why I was willing to risk my masculine credentials. I was looking for ideas to make great relationships even better. Date night suggestions, romantic notions, anniversary observances…creative ways to help me communicate my adoration to the woman I love. (For the record, there are some pretty amazing resources among the multitude of Pins. I feel no shame for looking.)

As I consider the beautiful place where I am in this relationship and where we may find ourselves in the months and years ahead, I think also about mistakes I’ve made in the past. Opportunities I missed…extra steps I could have taken…ways I allowed the passage of time to cool my passion and dull my romantic nature. There are seasons in any relationship and, to be sure, I did many things right through my two decades of marriage. I also fell short when I should have gone the extra mile.

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That is precisely what I don’t want to do this time. I don’t want to take things for granted. I don’t want to waste moments by being thoughtless or mediocre or insulated. Rather, I want to be real and transparent…passionate and observant…appreciative of the small miracles and breathtaking – yet subtle – realities that stoic eyes tend to overlook. I want to convey my feelings in meaningful, genuine, and creative ways now so I won’t look back in the future with reflective sadness.

If that means I risk my reputation by perusing Pinterest, so be it.

Love is worth it.

One of the sweet facets of waking up each morning is having – to some degree – a blank canvas upon which to paint. Fresh opportunities and second chances…redemptive possibilities. None of us can be perfect, but we can learn from where we’ve been…from WHO we’ve been…and do better the next time around. That is my prayer today. While real love – according to 1 Corinthians 13 – keeps no record of wrong, my human brain does a remarkable job of tallying up my many missteps. May we keep the past in mind but press on to better things.

May we – you and I – create something beautiful and lasting. Something that those who see it will speak of with appreciation.

Here’s to living and loving in a Pin-worthy fashion.

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