Being married is a odd thing. When done properly it takes your heart to strange places.
Places marked with warning signs that you can only find by taking paths that are over run with thorns and wild flowers. These are the lonely passages that all young children, who still dare to dream, are convinced will be their tromping grounds when they manage to get a little taller. But when taller comes the flowers look so much smaller from up above. The thorns bite so much harder and at that view you can see what looked like a days walk would take much much longer than that.
And there is the partner. The path is made to be walked in two’s. You had always known. That was part of what gave the path such wonder when you were a child. But now you find out that this partner and you must be willing to walk standing next to each other with your inner feet and hands tied together. Like some crazy three legged race. Balance, direction, and walking must all be relearned as now there are two hearts working together where before there had always been just one. It is made very clear that at no point may the ties that hold you together be undone. Not even when you reach the other side.
How abusrd? How ridiculous! Illogical and inappropriate to be asked to do such a thing. Just to walk down a silly path.
And so, with the wise council of those who say they have traveled that journey and it is not worth the struggle, those young children turn to grown ups and take paths that are clean and well kept, well known and well traveled, full of company- but require no ties what so ever.
And as they walk down this smooth path, were the flowers have long since been trampled and the thorns cut far back out of the way, a surprise awaits them. Longing. In their sleep their hearts soar and take them back to that dangerous path. What fool would return there? Who would dare think themselves so privileged to find what lies beyond? But still the longing stays. Like an itch in that place in your back that you can just never reach. An itch is hard to live with, but some say it is better then a cut.
The sad truth that they do not know is that those who warned them against such reckless travels. Who brag constantly on the wounds and are quick to show the scars, they never made it to the strange places. The ones marked with warning signs. They walked for awhile and soon learned that when their partner moved to avoid being cut by a thorn it caused them to be cut instead. Over and over and over this happened and the once sweet smell of the flowers turned to an infuriating potion. The furry caused pushing and pulling which caused more cuts and then sooner or later one of the pair chose to turn back.
Well you see that is when the trip really gets difficult. This path was not made for returning. It was made for going. Once someone turns back all the thorns are against them and the flowers wither in the shadow of the returning heart. What took but moments to enter into takes days to fight back out of. But fear takes over. It pushes and pulls the heart out of that nasty road and back to where it started. Now broken and bleeding, crushed and stained and with a deep hatred for flowers.
And so the stories are told that the path is wicked and you’re better off using the other one.
However if the path was used as intended this would not be the case. The reason the little children long for the wild places is because they were made to inhabit them. But even a present must be unwrapped and unwrapping takes strength to rip and pull. So that is why it is when they are grown that they are given the choice between paths. Because it is true, there are thorns mixed in with the flowers. Children are not strong enough to walk through thorns. But adults are. A little cut here it there will not cause us to loose our heads, if we choose not to let it do so.
The thorns are a necessary part of finding your way to the wild places. They show your weakness. It would be foolish to enter into a new land as an explorer without knowing how to be careful of yourself. Pride is no way to win anything.
Let me not forget to mention the other purpose of the thorns. Being tied to another person there is no way to avoid them. But by working together most of them can be easily avoided. And those cuts that must happen can happen in a way that both are prepared and willing to move forward- even though they know that next step will hurt.
And whats more is with all this talk of the thorns we quickly forget the flowers. A slight brush of their petals and the sting of the thorns is greatly diminished.
When two people are brave enough, patient enough, strong enough and committed enough to make it to the warning signs they will find that the strange places are filled with treasures; Intimacy, satisfaction, unconditional love, endurance, patience, understanding, joy, hope, security. As a child these words are all we can hope for. As adults they are dangerous and worthless words, said only by fools. We expected such treasures to be obtained for free. But all things of value come at some sort of price.
That is why their is a warning sign. The journey doesn’t end there. Even someone born to be a great painter must at some point learn how to paint. And so it is with these gifts. They must be taken out of the box, explored, tested, understood. And in this process the price of making mistakes must be paid.
There will be days of frustration in that wild place. As well as days of sweet victory. With time skill develops. And with skill a desire to learn more. And so we come upon excellence. A rare treasure. Few have made it to that place. But those who do whisper to the hearts of children that there is hope. That the wild path is worth taking- oh yes how it is worth it! And the price paid seems so small for the value of such wondrous discoveries and gifts received.
Understand the path. How it is designed and the consequence for using it incorrectly. Choose your partner wisely, because without their help, you won’t make it. Once you start walking do everything you can to make it to the warning sign. Everything. Because turning back has a high price. And don’t forget about the flowers. A little beauty goes a long way.