We’ve had sunshine for 2 days in a row now. I don’t know what to do with myself. I know! I’ll have another cup of dark roast, listen to some Renaissance Church music, and write you guys my letter!
Let’s talk about relationships. Something I’ve learned as Lisa and I approach our 33rd anniversary on May 4 is that it isn’t compatibility that keeps us together. It is love, plain and simple.
Lisa and I are very different. We are different in the small ways, like she is more introverted and I’m more extroverted. She is not prone to vices like smoking and drinking and driving fast, whereas I am. I like coffee. She likes Dr. Pepper. I am easily distracted. She is not. She says toe-may-toe and I say toe-mah-toe (just kidding). But you get my point. Our personalities are different and it shows up in all kinds of small ways. Those kinds of differences are fairly easy to navigate.
We are also very different spiritually. We started out more alike. We were two young Pentecostal kids who met at a Pentecostal Bible college in Springfield, Missouri. Theologically we were very much on the same page. Over the years we experienced more growth individually and in our relationship. We matured. We grew more wise. Lisa found her unique style of being spiritual, being a whole person, and I found mine. Now, 33 years later, we are still in the same book but are on different pages. But that’s okay, because we’ve learned something very important about relationships: it’s not compatibility that keeps us together, but the breadth and depth and width and height of our love for each other. As we matured, our hearts expanded to embrace not only all of the other as she actually is, but as she also may be now and in the future. Lisa not only loves me as I am, but loves whatever I will choose to become. This includes our spiritual differences. Love demands… yes, demands… that my heart is large enough to include all of Lisa, both known and unknown, even if something she might believe is different from what I believe. This doesn’t mean there isn’t occasional tension, disagreement and discussion. But it does mean we always figure out a way to figure it out. We figure it out as we go.
Next week I hope to have a Potluck Hangout about this very topic. I know some of you have experienced a breakup in a relationship because your partner could not accept your spirituality. They could not imagine a way to live together with you when you did not agree with them theologically. I realize this might be a painful Potluck, but I also already know that there are people ready and willing to talk about it. I think it’s important.
We can see this same dynamic at work on TLS. We all come with a vast variety of spiritualities. Each and every one of us is on our own theological page. But one of our most crucial values as a community is that we are first of all hear to respect and listen to one another. An interesting thing is already beginning to happen over the last several months where people are discovering other members on TLS who are on the opposite side of a painful story. What do we do when we come across another member we’ve heard negative things about? What do we do when another member joins that we have bad history with, or we know has bad history with someone we know? Again, we widen our hearts, respect the person, and listen. It’s not always about who did what. Most often it’s about what we do to process our own stuff in healthy ways, as well as not carrying someone else’s offense. I’m confident we’ll figure things out as we go.