On November 10, 2012, I will say "I do" to a man whom I love more than I ever thought possible. "I do" to sickness and health. To be true in good times and bad. To love and honor him all the days of my life. It's a mighty promise, and even as I contemplate those words with an unshakeable confidence and certainty, I am also in awe of the magnitude, the epic scope of such a vow. The course of my whole life. The greatest thing I could ever offer another human being.
Thousands of people do it every day. They say "I do" at their weddings and then spend the rest of the marriages with it absent. I do. So active, so present, far more adamant than "I will." They say it once, forgetting that their "I do" began long before they stood together at the altar. And in losing the memory of the first "I do," the origin of all their love, they neglect to carry it with them.
You don't just say "I do" once. It doesn't just happen on the day of your wedding. Whether or not you were aware of it, you were saying "I do" even before you met each other. And you should wake up saying it to yourself and each other every day for the rest of your lives.
It's hard to exactly pinpoint when my life became more about "I do" than anything else. "I do" is a simple, straightforward phrase. It is active not passive. It is present tense. For a while, especially in the very deepest times of my struggles, life for me was "I want" on most days, "I can't" on the hardest ones, "I did" when I felt I'd already done enough to earn it, "I was" when both the failures of the past overcame me, and "I am" on those days when all I wanted to do was lie in bed and be enveloped by the grace of sleep. On the best of days---the most hopeful ones---I mustered an "I will."
It took me quite a long time to arrive at "I do." But when I got there, suddenly I had a choice. It had been there all along; I just was blind to it in my perpetual over-complification of things. "I do" contained power. It involved activity, motion, determination, and the here and now. Certainly my friends and family helped me on the path to an "I do" way of life. But the biggest contributing factor on the way to "I do" was a faith that had intensified until it became the most important element of my life. My life was my faith.
God had always been part of my life. But things changed when I realized that God did not need me to perform for him, life wasn't an achievement test, and the things I'd been trying to force and the demands I was making of myself, the people around me, and God needed to be released. Trust. Love. Suddenly those abstract concepts took on real meaning, and the fear that had crippled me for most of my life began to ebb.
For the next 31 days, I will chronicle my journey to I do. Every day in the month of OCtober, I will write until we arrive in November, the month I will finally be a bride. I will remember it all. My struggles and doubts---"where is he? I guess this is supposed to happen for everyone but me"---the joy of falling in love, and the amazing preparation for not just my wedding but the even better, bigger part of all this---a marriage that will last a life time.
The miracle of "I do" is that it wasn't me doing anything at all. It was God bringing together two people He had intended to unite all along. And through His love, we found our own.
Please stop on over at The Nester to see the other wonderful writers and their 31 day journeys.