It was a shrapnel of Twitter lodged in my soul. Piercing deeply, I hardly knew it was there, until at 4:30 a.m. in post-Super Bowl euphoria, I awoke with a start and felt the wound in my conscience.
After 20 minutes of wrestling to remove it, I knew I was altered by a word that must remain. The words around the word were few and simple, from a pastor friend in Dallas – not aimed and fired really, more of a missive, a jewel forgotten by familiarity, but somehow never known to me. Here’s the tweet . . .
I couldn’t find it! Even though I scanned pages, dang! I know I watched it leap from the screen of my phone. I still feel the way it spun me around as I read and returned to check. He referred to a daughter by marriage as his daughter-in-love. In LOVE – not law, of course! Why have I never heard this before? And now it seems so obvious, I have two of these, a son and daughter by marriage and I believe they know it well . . . how very much I love them – but that’s not it . . .
Sisters by marriage not children – opened my eyes today. My first 20 years I rose each day with no females at all except a wonderful mom. Just four boys in a masculine home that held no flowers and staged no proms. No lines in the bathroom, no tearful breakups, no second checks at the mirror before heading out, no . . . I guess I really can’t say what I missed growing up without sisters, but I tossed and turned this morning with a clearer sense of what law had stolen.
Back then it felt like law, hard and unyielding. “I have fallen in love and this is your new sister.” Save the date, rent a tux, be on time, stand over there. Yes, law described it well, but hid the true potential. Five women have entered my life under law and had I seen it sooner, I would have banished the word. Law is not a way to start, and law is not the true creator of these surprise relationships. Because I fell in love, I was gifted two sisters-in-love. Because my brothers fell in love, I was graciously granted three more. Love is the author and love should be the banner over this incredible potential, lost in some ways, because of what youth couldn’t see and immaturity didn’t know to value and pursue.
An annual rushing in and out of town. A 500-mile canyon between us that was often only crossed by obligation. Funerals and weddings and annual feasts throw people at one another; forced on the calendar as fulfillments and only enhancing the experience of legality. Law is cold and demanding. It does its duty and presses on. Law keeps the rules and never quits, but love fulfills the law. Love pursues and believes and delights and takes time. Love embraces and cherishes and delights to discover. Love shows more interest and slows to listen/learn. Love leans in to deposit grace and value connection. Law gave too little and imprisoned better affection – for years – and it makes me sad to see that I didn’t see it. Law has been lying and saying that relationship cannot begin by force. Love rejects the notion of compelled connection and finds a way to feel. Love begins again . . .
To each of you: because of the grace we share, I want to find a new way – it’s so clear to me now – I have five incredible sisters-in-LOVE!