I wanted people to rejoice with us. At the love we had and have for each other. To rejoice that we were finally able to give the love we’d been storing up for 27 years to one another. I wanted them to see that the love we have is real and not some shallow, naive choice made out of fear of being alone. But they don’t know our stories the way we do. They don’t know how long we waited and prayed for this day to come. They don’t know the faith it took to step out, even though we were afraid, trusting in God to hold us together. They don’t know how we risked our hearts. But faith is believing and hoping even when we can’t see the end.
I wanted them to understand and in understanding rejoice all the more. But this is our love story. So they didn’t see the years of heartache and heartbreak or cry our tears. They didn’t feel the lonely nights when all we had to hold were our cat or our dog. They didn’t ache when the movie theatre seat next to us was empty. They didn’t feel the empty crevices in our hands fisting up to just be held. They forgot how to appreciate someone else’s touch. What it’s like to go months on end without a hug so that your body physically jolts when someone puts their hand on your shoulder.
I wanted them to see our wedding as something glorious and beautiful as our two hearts became one after being oceans apart ever since we were children. But they didn’t see us as children. They didn’t see us swinging on my swing set when we were five. Or how our dads measured our heights by putting us back to back while we walked with them in the field where they would hunt deer. They weren’t in the truck on those multiple Sunday morning trips to church when we picked you up and then went to Taco Bell after the service. They didn’t see you fill your mouth with air and then stick your ears out and they didn’t hear me tell you that you looked like a monkey.
They didn’t hear that loud plane take off that took me out of your world for thirteen years. They weren’t there each time I came back into your world. Every three years we grew taller. We weren’t measured back to back anymore. But we still smiled at one another which were the only words two quiet people needed to share. They didn’t hear the prayers I cried in my bed at night on a different continent begging God to keep you safe and for you not to forget about me. They didn’t know that you never forgot me. They didn’t hear you ask your dad when we would be back in the states. And neither did I. But you did.
They didn’t watch the countless softball games you invited me to. They didn’t see you slide and catch that softball out in left field. They didn’t play Putt-Putt with you and defeat you with hole in ones. They didn’t come to your house on that sad Sunday and hug you hoping to take all your pain away. They didn’t show up at the viewing just to see you and make sure you were getting through. They didn’t care about your heart. They didn’t see the young boy who went through traumas that no child should go through. Or see the wonderfully kind, compassionate man you grew to become despite the evils that tried to break you. They don’t see your strength. Or your love that still survived so many heartbreaks.
They don’t know how every one of our empty spaces is filled by each other. They don’t feel how completely your hand fits mine. Or how your arms hold all my brokenness together. They haven’t heard your voice sing away the fears lurking in my heart. They didn’t dance with you to God Blessed the Broken Road or understand how completely He guided that broken path to one another. They were never a part of our puzzle so they can’t see how completely God fit the pieces of us together.
They weren’t there. They didn’t see, hear, or feel. So how can they know? How can they know the extent of our joy? I wanted them to know. I wanted them to rejoice with us. And it made me angry when they didn’t. Bitterness crept in. Satan tries to ruin even the most beautiful of God’s plans. But I will not let one scowl ruin all the smiles we shared. Because sometimes we humans only know the rules and not how to love. And it was never about them anyway. Even if they weren’t rejoicing or smiling as deeply as we were, there is one who saw it all from the beginning. He was there. And even though we don’t have pictures of us together as kids, He pictured us together when we were just children in a field.
He knew the paths we’d take and the paths that would take us away from each other. He felt our hearts aching and sat next to us in that lonely empty seat. He cried with us when our tears couldn’t be walled back anymore. He hugged us when no one was there to give us comfort. He read the sorrow in our eyes while our lips smiled. He knew the hand that would fill our clenched fists. He knew our brokenness. He knew the healing our hearts needed. And He rejoiced when our paths finally became one. His heart swelled with delight. His smile poured sunlight into our souls. He sees the beauty in our story and He knows every detail better than we do.
So instead of worrying about others rejoicing with us let’s remember His joy for us. Instead of hearing resounding gongs let’s listen to the sweet song of wedding bells. Instead of remembering hateful words let’s remember He was cheering us along all throughout our lives. Instead of remembering the scowls let’s remember the smiles. His smile. Because it’s us and Him and that’s all that really matters. Instead of holding on to the bitterness and anger, let’s hold on to each other and learn to love like He does. Because without love we are nothing. Let’s learn to forgive like He does. Because they don’t know. And love is really what all of us ache for.