The morning after Valentine’s Day I drive 252 miles away from my sweetheart. I pack my bags and drive north through a thin trickle of flurries. I have a conference to attend and my beloved and I don’t get hung up on these things. In May we’ll celebrate 20 years of marriage.
When I leave the roses still blush quietly on the kitchen table.
I drive through the morning and into the afternoon and I watch the countryside don white frocking—a course rickrack around the edge of the highway. When I cross the state line, all this white has me missing my groom and I wonder that I can miss him after all this years; I wonder at the gentle way the yoke hangs around my neck…and I smile behind my hand as I glide through snow gossamer.
Funny how a little distance can sharpen the focus.
The way I’m missing my man reminds me of something Donald Miller says in his book Searching for God Knows What:
…Moses said God knew Adam was lonely or incomplete or however you want to say it, but God did not create Eve directly after He stated Adam was lonely…He did not create Eve right away. He did not give Adam what he needed immediately. He waited. He told Adam to name the animals…it turns out there are between ten million and one hundred million different species. So even if you believe in evolution that means there were between on mllion and fifty million species around in the time of the Garden, and Adam, apparently, had to name all of them. And the entire time he was lonely.…this was a man who, despite feeling a certain need for a companion, performed what must have been nearly one hundred years of work, naming and perhaps even categorizing the animals….The thing is, when Adam finished naming the animals, after all his work and effort, God put him to sleep, took a rib out of his side, and fashioned a woman…here was this guy who was intensely relational, needing other people, and in order to cause him to appreciate the gift of companionship, God had him hang out with chimps for a hundred years. It’s quite beautiful, really. God directed Adam’s steps so that when He created Eve, Adam would have the utmost appreciation, respect, and gratitude.
I think about one hundred years and suddenly 252 miles doesn’t seem so bad. But missing him this way makes me long for Jesus because he loves me like Christ loves the Church and it feels like my heart will break if Kingdom doesn’t come: right. now.
The first thing I do when I get into town is call my sweetheart and let him know I made it fine. And then I wrap my arms around myself and hug this ache close. Because I know if I wait well then one hundred years will seem like a minute.
And lonely never felt so sweet.
Place me like a seal over your heart,
like a seal on your arm;
for love is as strong as death,
its jealousy unyielding as the grave.
It burns like blazing fire,
like a mighty flame. (Song of Songs 8)