Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Tired Ramblings about Marriage, Treasure and Risk

Tonight I am thinking about my dear husband, today's gospel, and treasures.

My husband and I have been married eleven years (11.5 come next Monday). Today's gospel was all about investing your talents. And treasures? I'm thinking in terms of the spiritual treasures that are available to us, in Scripture, in graces, in the Church, in the saints, in holy places -- the whole bit.

It is so easy, after time has passed and romance grinds into regular life, to lose any sense of pizzazz, of wonder, of the desire to stretch and grow and seek new territory. And I mean this with regards to marriage, to work or vocation, and to the spiritual life. It's so easy to settle into a rut, repeating familiar patterns, staying in a dull and unfulfilling safety zone.

What did the king in today's parable (Lk. 19:11-28) have to say to the one who decided to play it safe? He called him a wicked servant. There was potential for this servant to do something with the riches entrusted to him, but he, out of fear, let the potential slip away by doing nothing.

It can be so easy for the potential in a marriage to slip away by doing nothing with it. It's so easy to daydream about how wonderful it would be to have someone who would give us everything, do everything we want, be everything we want. But if marriage partners spend all their time dreaming, who is going to do the personal investment required to become that sort of person in the other's life?

My husband is truly a treasure. It can be tempting to want perfection in the other, but really what we need is just the right combination of struggles and flaws to complement our own struggles and flaws. God always seems to provide with abundance in this regard! Spouses need to be thankful for the ways our frailties and weaknesses are both challenged and supported as we stumble forward toward the one goal of our eternity.

So I mentioned those spiritual treasures of the Church, as well. (Forgive my sloppy writing, will you? This daily blogging late at night makes for some less polished and more stream-of-consciousness writing!) Treasures can be very nice to admire, but they really do make for a lot of work and care. My son and I are reading J. R. R. Tolkein's The Hobbit right now, and those dwarfs sure go through a lot of peril and effort to reclaim their treasure. So many Catholics, just like so many married couples, might think "oh yeah, we've got a lot of neat stuff here... somewhere," but in effect the treasure is never theirs if they don't do the work to own it. What good does it do that prayer can produce miracles if we never put in the effort to persevere in prayer? What good does it do if we know that Scripture can transform our minds if we don't put the effort into soaking in it? What good does it do to realize that all the saints and angels in heaven stand at the ready to intercede for us if we never employ their help? If we don't make the investment of our hearts, which is measured in our time, our labor, our resources given in firm, consistent pursuit of the good, pulling together like those pitiful, battling and murmuring dwarfs (and hobbit), then that treasure that exists objectively will never become our very own possession.

So, I'm challenged. Risk, invest, push forward with who God has made you. Everything changes when I remember that my husband is given to me to help me to do this. The fact of the matter is, I need the way my husband keeps me grounded. I need his reliability, his steadfastness, his loyalty which flow out from him in rich abundance. And, he needs me to keep jumping off of cliffs, testing how my wings work, gazing wild-eyed into heaven.

There is nothing like the gift of being embraced for exactly who one is. But there's also nothing like the work it takes to press forward to invest what we've been given.

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