Friday, June 24, 2011

Starting Over

When we got married, Matt's parents gave us a blue spruce tree as a gift. It stood less than 4 feet high when Matt and his dad planted it on the side of our little farmhouse, and after just 3 years it was already taller than Matt. It was a really pretty little tree, but that's not why I liked it. I liked it because of the way it represented our marriage.

During a heavy storm I would look out the window and see the wind tossing it back and forth, the roots digging deeper into the ground with every pull. I think about some of the tough times we've had and those that are to come, and I'm reminded that with strong roots and determination, we can come out on the other side of any stormy season of life. In the spring I would look out the window and see its noticeable difference in size; a mark of the growth that resulted from the rainy and sunny days of the past year. I think about the good days and bad days of our last year, and I'm reminded that it's all a part of what makes our love grow bigger and stronger and prepares us for more growth in the coming years. I loved that our tree endured hardships, gathered strength, and grew right along with us as we did the same. 

Last week (coincidentally, on our third wedding anniversary), we were having our septic system replaced when a chain broke on a piece of machinery and our tree got destroyed. Now when I look out the window I see flat ground where our tree once stood. Its absence, although sad, has taught me the greatest lesson yet - that even a seemingly healthy marriage can be destroyed by a single crushing blow. It taught me that we should never believe our relationship is invincible; that we should never take each other for granted; and that we should never assume that tomorrow is a given. It taught me that if we get too comfortable, if we forget to nurture our love and protect our marriage, then someday when those crushing blows come, we might not have the strength to recover.

Matt and I have already decided to plant a new tree in the same spot and now every time we look out the window, we'll see the new tree in place of the old tree. It will remind us that even a strong marriage can be hit by the unexpected, but those who have prepared themselves for it and protected their love from it will be left with enough patience and determination to pick up the pieces and start over.

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