Ambient Words

I have a confession…my husband and I don’t celebrate Valentine’s Day.

We’re just odd like that.

But before any actual feeling of surprise settles in, I will admit we are inclined to do a little something the day before. Or on the 13th of any random month for that matter. Philip proposed on the 13th (of December) and so that seems as good a reason as any to set aside time for just the two of us. Unusual? Perhaps. Being normal isn’t quite as much fun as the alternative.

So, February 13th rolled around, and we decided it would be a good night to go out to dinner. It was shaping up to be a pretty nondescript evening. We were waiting for our table and talking over blog posts I had read on homeschooling, what it is that makes road trips exciting and how it is that a love of learning might be cultivated in a person. In the midst of this seemingly trivial conversation, something unexpected began to seep in. Something deeper.

Our attention turned to potential changes on the horizon and how we can live in a way that is an outflow of our adoration of Christ when we find ourselves in the heart of uncertainty. Do we try to preserve bits of ourselves by tucking things away into dark corners, for the security of knowing they are there? Are we reassured with the knowledge we have something familiar hoarded in the wings if we need it? We think we do not have to fully rely on God and His goodness if we’ve got a Plan B at the ready. What does it look like to let go and rest in Christ alone, not in our own fail-safes or resourcefulness? What does it look like for all we do to be motivated by the hope of glorifying God?

We posed hard questions. We wrestled with them. And most still linger in my thoughts. I look back on that evening and remember little of what we ate or how attentive the waitress was. That night was marked by good conversation. The kind that requires something of you. Vulnerability. Honesty. Effort.

I can’t help but wonder how can we spend our time talking any other way. Sometimes I struggle to remember what it was Philip and I used to talk about when we were dating. And I can begin to see how even in marriage, two people might one day realize they have become strangers. When your heart is left out of communication, it’s empty. If it doesn’t cost you something, it’s cheap. To know someone requires sacrifice and asking good questions is an art that is undervalued. I am grieved at how often I have wasted my words and settled for flippant exchanges. I am too easily satisfied by the superficial.

And so I am left wanting. Wanting to speak with wisdom, with truth, with hope. But more importantly, wanting to listen.

This life is meant for more than just filling up the silence.