. Dearly Beloved,
Grace and Peace to you.
Today Beth and I are celebrating our thirtieth wedding anniversary. In all the blessing, the love, the riches, the struggle, the self-discovery, the joy and the surprises of these thirty years, the greatest mystery is this: that through it all, in idyllic times and troubled ones, when it was easy and when it was hard, whether she felt like batting her eyelashes or rolling her eyes, she never left me, never gave up, never stopped loving me, never ceased to draw out of me my love for her.
Marriages go long and short, deep and shallow. Not everyone is as lucky as I. But I know this and trust it as surely as gravity: that love is at the heart of Being itself. Beth's love is not an oddity in this universe. It comes from somewhere. And thought it's taken hard work, my love is not a product of my effort. It's a gift. These thirty years are a glimpse of eternity. The deep love we've experienced is a part of a greater, infinite love that burns at the heart of all things. There is One who loves you deeply, unfailingly, gently, despite all your faults, including the most terrible things you've ever done. The Loving One, the Embracing Mystery, knows you at your worst and loves you. She also knows you at your best, better than you know yourself, and draws you toward that perfection with a strong and tender force. The Infinite Spirit of Love does not judge “worse” or “better” in you; she simply loves you and holds you to the truth of who you are.
“The Lord has called you like a wife forsaken and grieved in spirit” (Isa. 54.6).
There is always more, deeper love to be had. That's the part that takes hard work, commitment, self-examination and sacrifice. But it's always, miraculously, abundantly worth it, a hundred times over. All you have to do is stay with her. Stay attentive, stay faithful. Receive her blessings. Learn her wisdom. Submit to her call in your heart. Serve her without hesitation. Love her. No matter what, give thanks. And riches beyond measure or deserving will be yours— now, for many years, and to eternal life.
Steve Garnaas-Holmes firstname.lastname@example.org