“Inevitably there have been times when one of us has outrun the other and has had to wait patiently for the other to catch up. There have been times when we have misunderstood each other, demanded too much of each other, been insensitive to the other’s needs. I do not believe there is any marriage where this does not happen. The growth of love is not a straight line, but a series of hills and valleys. I suspect that in every good marriage there are times when love seems to be over. Sometimes these desert lines are simply the only way to the next oasis, which is far more lush and beautiful after crossing than it could possibly have been without it.” -Madeleine L’Engle
I know those dessert crossings can be a day, or weeks, months or even years. I have experienced varied lengths of those journeys at different points and am learning to embrace it for what it is. After reading a number of Madeleine L’Engle’s personal books now, I am grasping a deeper understanding of her writings and why I connect with her. She is very much an artist in sharing her heart. I am thankful for her words which capture the needs of the human soul. We need messages of hope and images of a better way, a better ending. Her writings ooze her connection with the creator and our need for a savior.
This past weekend our family got away for a quick overnight, which, chuck the expectations out the window, was nothing like we hoping. We were at a beautiful destination (that’s lake Michigan above) but the turn of the weather and above all else our children’s naughty and unpredictable behavior tainted our hopes of a contemplative end-of-summer getaway. A few days later on a walk with a friend this funny little image popped in my mind – didn’t Jesus want us to come to him like little children. Seriously in all their craziness and distracted nature, like children? I love my kids and know they have such a precious side, but the thought of the maker walking into our campsite this weekend, makes me shake my head and ask for a do over.
In truth I think what he is after is the rawness of our emotions and that neediness of childhood. He wants us to chuck our unrealistic expectations out the window and fully understand that we need him, and love him, as a child loves and needs to be cared for. Our ideas of perfection are so skewed compared to his perfect reality. We need him, our marriages need him, and our children need him. This is great news! We have an excuse to not have it all together. When it comes to Jesus we can just be, brutally honest, expose our rawness, and hurt, as he scoops us up and comforts us. Our heart is worn outside for all to see, with peanut butter on our faces and wearing our favorite leggings with the hole in the knee – like a little child. He is ready for us wherever we are on that dessert line (married or not). We need him, like we need that next oasis. He is waiting patiently for us to guide us through the desert to a place more beautiful!
Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these. Matthew 19:14