I was digging through an old folder yesterday looking for some papers and found a card someone had sent me many years ago. This folder contained all the important memories from my past. Letters from friends from the past, thank you notes, newspaper articles about one of my businesses, pictures of people and places. This folder is small comparatively speaking; I mean my wife’s stash from the past is basically the detached garage. Anyway, between two water-damaged photos, the card fell out. It was a card from my wife when we were only 2 years into our marriage and in a challenging time in both our lives. It really broke my heart, some of the phrases you will recognize: “wanted you to know I love you and to remind you what it was like in the beginning”, “there was less to do and more time for love”, “want us to be in love always”, “we may lose perspective now and then, but we’ll always come back to being us”. I was instantly in a different place and time and remembered how magical those first years really were. Her smell, her laugh, the travel, sleeping in each other’s arms, being at the beach holding sweaty hands, a quiet dinner with her laughter flitting over the whole place, on-and-on it goes. All married people know what I’m talking about or should anyway!
It seems to me, when children begin to fill our lives, the inevitable “shift” happens and we struggle daily to stay in love. When it was just me, it was all about me. When we fell in love, it was just about us. When you have children, there is less to go around (intimate time I mean) and depending on how many children and grandchildren, and close friends you have, the portions may be very small. It is all about intimacy; that is where you really know your spouse better. Intimacy is the gateway to the soul. From long conversations about childhood to confessions to love making, the intimacy gives it all true meaning. That is the person you love; and there, in front of you and in you, it proves itself above time and space and even emotions. My wife doesn’t have the time or the inclination to spend hours with me, stroking my hair, and whispering a soft “I love you” in my ear every five minutes. My children have school, friends, sports, piano, gymnastics, and family time. We all get a little intimate time, but it is never enough. So this brings me to my point: who has time for intimacy with me so I can really be myself?
Somewhere along the way, I discovered that having affairs or pursuing financial dreams or buying a dog was not going to fill the hole that was a craving for intimate love. Love, to me, makes everything good; it is the barometer of happiness. But how do I build my life on love? The answer is actually too simple: intimacy with my God. I began to pursue Him going on an assumption that He wanted me to pursue Him. That was my first step of faith: believing that God wants you in an intimate way. Jesus came here and told us Himself; He said He was here to reconnect with the creation He loved. He was willing to do anything for us and did. When I first recognized in my spirit the love God has for me, it broke me and melted me and changed me forever. I, at least in part, understand that God fills us with His love and that love pours out to others. But if you don’t have the intimate time with Him, it is impossible to truely love. For we are all learning what love really is: He teaches us a little more each day we spend with Him. It is an unending process with no other goal than to be closer. Thank God for His love, peace, and joy! One can’t help but give it away; it is overwhelming. So when life is full speed ahead, it is most important to have that intimacy with Him; for if we don’t, then the portions will be small. There will not be enough of us to go around. We must tap into overflowing portions, and there is only one place to find that love: intimacy.