We were naïve and idealistic. It goes with being young. Our world was far more about promises than problems. What lay over the horizon was of greater concern to us than what we could see in our rear view mirror. Although we spent most of our days checking requirements off of our educational dance card, the default mode of our thought patterns seemed stuck on the possibilities of what could be if we made our love official.
I was a freshman in college. Darcy was a junior in high school. Our hearts had found each other a year earlier. But now several hundred miles stretched out between us—separating us from that proximity that attraction so much prefers.
I was living in a dorm in Tennessee; she was waking up on an island in the Chesapeake Bay. During that last year of my high school career, we were inseparable. We’d see each other every moment that we could before, during and after school and talk to each other on the phone until our parents threatened to ground us for life if we didn’t hang up.
Young love is like that. It’s a 24/7/365 battle to keep from being completely preoccupied with the other person. Seasoned love doesn’t have time for that kind of romance. Worn out love can’t remember it. But young love can’t resist it. You’re bewitched by someone who has utterly overwhelmed your present tense.
One evening as I was studying at the little desk in my dorm room, I happened to lean back in my chair and look out the window just as the top of a full moon was offering its initial peek to the Tennessee countryside. I sat there and watched it inch its way up from deep behind the horizon and take its place center stage in the night sky. “Man, I wish Darcy was sitting here next to me enjoying this view,” I thought. And then, the idea hit me. We could both still enjoy this moon together even though we were several hundred miles apart.
It took some research. But a trip to the library and a discussion with a science professor helped me figure out at what time in the evening “our” moon would be simultaneously visible in Tennessee and Maryland.
This was one of my many ideas that Darcy actually thought was a good one, so we picked out one full moon for each of those four semesters we were apart (Darcy ended up on the same college campus by my junior year). I headed out to an isolated hill and Darcy sat at the end of a pier not far from her house. And for one hour, we just looked at the moon…together. I suppose all this sounds fairly silly. And some of you men might be fighting the urge to throw up. That’s okay. I plead guilty to taking extreme and sometimes foolish measures to connect to the heart of the person I love. Lovers do these kinds of things.
So those two moonstruck lovers married, took on life together, had four kids, and carved out their life niche. There have been over 440 full moons that have slipped silently over us in the years since. We’ve barely had the time to give them a passing glance, but we have seen our young love grow into seasoned love—the comfortable, tested and true love that doesn’t offer a lot of time to take in full moons but no longer feels full moons are required in order to feel close. Besides, we found something better to focus on. And we don’t need a clear night sky to enjoy it.
“It” is actually a He. His name is Jesus. He’s been the one common focus of our crazy married life that has enabled us to keep our hearts connected regardless of how close or how far apart we are on a map. There’s something about looking each day at the Author and Sustainer of our lives that keeps our love new. Regardless of how many bed side vigils with a sick child, time zones of separation, or checklists that never seemed to end, there is simply something about a mutual focus on God that has kept us from drifting apart. All things equal–had we not both decided in our desperation to keep our focus towards heaven–our love would have been tired by now.
Tired love can subtly replace seasoned love if we aren’t careful—especially in today’s economy. Stress, disappointments, bills that exceed means…all of these can turn love anemic and move our focus from Jesus to ourselves or our circumstances.
If the young love that you had at the start of your marriage has grown weary and worn over the years, it’s never too late to get back the love you once had. Don’t worry about looking at the moon together. Take each other’s hand and look at the Son—the Son of God that is! God’s Son never sets. And He’s better than the moon any day. The moon can only reflect light. Jesus is the light. Mutually focus on Him.
Maybe it’s refocusing on Him through your church or reading His Word together each day. It might require some private repentance and personal forgiveness. It might be as simple as spooning up close to each other before you get out of bed each morning and praying for God’s help for the day ahead. God’s Son wants to shine His grace on you. He’s the same yesterday, today, and forever and He can make your love that way too.
No matter what else is going on in your life, focus on the things that really matter. Your love matters...to you and to God.
May the Lord bless you, and keep you; may the Lord cause His face to shine on you, and be gracious to you; may the Lord lift up His countenance on you, and give you peace. (Number 6:24-26)
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