Friday, December 05, 2008

The Compost Pile

One of the reasons i so enjoy reading good books is that i love the pictures authors can paint with words. I love being drawn into an illustration or story. Ever since i read 'Far from the madding crowd' for GCSE English, i've thought words were great.

Rachel and i are reading Piper's 'momentary marriage' together, as a sort of pre wedding prep primer. Each week we try and get some time together where we can be alone and discuss what we've read this week, where we disagree, and why i'm right (i jest). This coming sunday we're headed down to Bonner Point, where our reception we be, to look out over the Pamlico River and talk about chapter four, 'Forgiving and Forebearing.' It will be the highlight of the weekend. 

What links those two paragraphs is how Piper finishes chapter four, and what i'll read to Rachel as we start talking on Sunday:

Picture your marriage as a grassy field. You enter it at the beginning full of hope and joy. You look out into the future and you see beautiful flowers and trees and rolling hills. And that beauty is what you see in each other. Your relationship is the field and flowers and the rolling hills. But before long, you begin to step in cow pies. Some seasons of your marriage they may seem to be everywhere. Late at night they are especially prevalent. These are the sins and flaws and idiosyncrasies and weaknesses and annoying habits in you and your spouse. You try to forgive them and endure them with grace.

But they have a way of dominating the relationship. It may not even be true, but it feels like that’s all there is—cow pies. I think the combination of forbearance and forgiveness leads to the creation of a compost pile. And here you begin to shovel the cow pies. You both look at each other and simply admit that there are a lot of cow pies. But you say to each other: You know, there is more to this relationship than cow pies. And we are losing sight of that because we keep focusing on these cow pies. Let’s throw them all in the compost pile. When we have to, we will go there and smell it and feel bad and deal with it the best we can. And then, we are going to walk away from that pile and set our eyes on the rest of field. We will pick some favorite paths and hills that we know are not strewn with cow pies. And we will be thankful for the part of field that is sweet.

Our hands may be dirty. And our backs make ache from all the shoveling. But one thing we know: We will not pitch our tent by the compost pile. We will only go there when we must. This is the gift of grace that we will give each other again and again and again—because we are chosen and holy and loved.

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