The longer I live, the more I realize that success in the Christian life is not usually flashy or spectacular. Most of the time it is a long, steady obedience. With that in mind, I wrote this poem for Neziah for our three-year anniversary
Our Ordinary Marriage
There is a fable
that I would like to share,
written by Aesop
involving a tortoise and a hare.
You see, the hare was fast,
but little bit proud.
And at times, his boasting,
though justified, was a little bit loud.
It kind of got underneath the skin
of our green reptilian friend,
so he said, “hey hare, I’ll race you
from here to just around the bend.”
The hare spit out his coffee
and laughed till he cried.
“Bud, I could beat you in a race
three months after I’ve died.”
The tortoise didn’t say much
but, then again, he didn’t need to,
because after seeing his eyes, the hare said,
“seriously? fine, i’ll race you.”
The sound of a pistol shattered the clear blue air
and unsurprisingly the frontrunner was the hare.
The gap between the two grew increasingly wide
and it seemed the tortoise would lose even though he tried
to keep plodding on, without falter, without fail
without grumbling, without losing sight of the trail.
“This is too easy” said the hare as he stopped for a drink,
he chuckled to himself as he began to think,
“I can’t even see that tortoise” he’s so far behind
maybe I’ll rest, take a little bit to unwind.
He stretched his legs as he lounged under a tree
“I can’t believe that tortoise wanted to race, I mean, race me?”
As the adrenaline of the race began to wear down
the hare settled on the comfortable ground.
He was overtaken by sleep, but what he didn’t know
is that he would soon also be overtaken by his rival, who, although
was much slower than him, had never stopped
had never faltered, never dropped
never turned to the left or the right
had kept his eyes on the goal at the end of the fight.
The hare awoke with a feeling of dread
the sun was no longer directly over his head.
“It’s late!” he shouted and his legs started to churn
his eyes watered, his lungs began to burn.
No animal had seen a beast move so fast
but his sporadic, frenzied, explosive dash
was no match for hours of steady walk,
and he reached the tortoise just as the tortoise reached the chalk
that marked the end of the long-awaited race,
and the hare had shame written across his face,
for though his energy was all spent,
he learned that day hard work beats talent,
when talent refuses to keep to the trail
and doesn’t realize that the goal will entail
a lot of the ordinary work on the roads
there are no short cuts, no cheat codes.
Remember that starting gun, three years ago this day?
We left to the applause of the spectators shouting “hooray!”
But after three years of running, the fanfare has died down
And sometimes when we look, there is no one around.
And sometimes the road curves, and we wander from the track
and we have to feel the jolt of a shepherd pulling us back.
Some of our dreams have died on this road, other continue to grow
but it is a worse sin to be sporadic, than it is to be slow.
The tortoise won because he stuck to his chosen station
so let our marriage be characterized by dogged determination
to love each other, and to show the world,
the masterpiece of Jesus unfurled.
So let’s plant a seed here, let’s plant a seed there
eat the same dinner in the same dining chair.
Have a friend over, tell the story of God
wake up the next day, to the next day’s job.
Work hard during the day, keyboards and cookware
have dinner again in the same dining chair.
Talk about the day, pray, regroup
start preparing for the next community group.
Thank God for the grace of another day’s strife
wake up, do it again, this is our life.
Predictable cycles, that cause us to grow,
as we increase in how much we love and know
one another and our God.
The rhythm of the sunset is the rhythm of our plod.
Heading towards the end of our life here on earth
and only then will we fully know the worth
of our ordinary groups, our ordinary dates,
our ordinary hospitality served on ordinary plates,
our ordinary conversations, our ordinary friends,
who will know Jesus better at our lives’ ordinary end.