But I realize I’ve brought you into the middle of the story, so let me go back to the beginning and catch you up.
It all started when I came home to find my wife caring for two of our young grandchildren in order to give their ailing mother a break. It was coming up on the kids’ nap time, and my granddaughter said, “Poppy, would you take a nap with me?” So my wife and I decided to divide and conquer. She took our two-year old grandson to our bedroom and I took our nearly four-year old granddaughter for a nap in the guest bedroom.
My granddaughter was struggling with some head congestion at the time and an hour into our nap her snoring woke me up from a peaceful dream. Which brings us to me waking up in a different bedroom next to a young female I’m not used to sleeping with.
I began wondering how I got there, because as I laid there watching this little girl sleeping in a tangle of blanket and stuffed animals, I realized we were stretched out on a bedroom suit that once belonged to her great grandparents, and all around the room were pictures of her grandmother and our daughters. In a sense, this simple little nap was the outcome of four different generations of decisions and sacrifices by two different families.
You see, years before my wife and I were even thought of, two very young couples…completely independent of one another…made decisions to marry and eventually have kids. If either couple had stopped with their first child, my wife and I would not have been born. These two couples were not perfect and they were not always happy, but they committed to hard work, sacrifice, and helping their children grow into responsible adults.
And years before my children were thought of, my wife and I would wind up attending the same high school. It wasn’t until our senior year that we finally started talking, which led to our first date on the night we graduated. Who knew that from that time forward, we would never date anyone else, would eventually marry, and would move far from home the day we were married. Over the course of our marriage, we would move from Illinois, to Oklahoma, Texas, and eventually to Georgia. We could change careers multiple times and eventually have two daughters.
And years before my grandchildren were thought of, my daughters would move from West Texas, to Central Texas, and eventually to Georgia…attend multiple schools along the way. They would pursue life directions they never expected, marry men they wouldn’t meet till they were out of school, and have children that would be just as challenging to them as they were to their mother and me.
And all of this came together like the intricate pieces of a fine watch to lead to my afternoon nap with my granddaughter. As I lay there watching this sleeping girl cuddling a stuffed flamingo, I was overwhelmed by the mosaic of decisions, events, and circumstances that came together to produce this moment. It reminded me of these words:
“Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them.” – Psalm 139:16 (ESV)
What does all of this have to do with marriage? Hopefully it will encourage you to:
- Remember the investment of others. Remember, you’re the product of those generations that came before you. They sacrificed and invested so that you could be here in this moment. They were not perfect, and they may not have given you as much as you wanted, the way that you wanted, or as often as you wanted. But you would not be here without them and much of the good that’s in you and around you comes as a result of them.
- Remember to invest in others. Too many people view marriage as a vehicle for receiving enjoyment, finding satisfaction, and being happy. But generations before us knew that marriage was more about working hard, sacrificing much, and serving your spouse and kids. Just as they invested much in us so that we could enjoy this present moment, so we must remember to do the same; giving so others can thrive…not just taking so we can thrive. “Give and it will be given to you…” (Luke 6:38 ESV)
So, as I laid there on a bed from a previous generation with my arm around a future generation, I found myself strongly appreciative of the past, the future, and the nap that connected them both.
When’s the last time you thought about how you got to where you are, especially in marriage? Spend some time thinking about all the decisions and circumstances that rose out of an infinite number of possibilities to bring you to this place.
Copyright © 2017 Bret Legg