All is fair in love and war…or so goes the old saying that traces back to John Lyly’s Euphues written in 1578. For centuries, the adage has granted individuals the right to cheat on the battlefields of both ground and heart.
Ironically, any solider who has fought for his country will tell you that there is nothing fair about war. No matter the reasons for entering a fight, terror and ugliness abound savagely. But I’ll leave the subject of war for other writers to discuss. Love is the impetus of my current thoughts.
Contrary to Lyly’s famous line, the only commonality that I know exist between love and war is that neither is fair. Yet, unlike war, it is the unfairness component of love that can add unfathomable beauty.
Love, in its purist, sacrificial form has never been fair. As God sculpted Adam from the fresh earth, He knew that His most glorious creation would break His heart. Yet still, God breathed man to life. It was not fair, but the beauty cannot be denied.
When the world knew only darkness and despair, God sent hope in the form of His son, Jesus Christ. The sinless man and true embodiment of love was scorned, spat upon, rejected, beaten, and killed by a method that glorified cruelty as sport. The image of my sweet Savior nailed to a brutal cross swells a lump in my throat. It was the greatest atrocity committed by mankind, one in which I bear some of the blame. It. Was. Not. Fair. But the beauty, the stunning, breath stealing beauty, cannot be denied.
Ten years ago today, my mother and sisters helped me step into a white gown and placed a bouquet of pink roses into my unsteady hands. Pachabel’s Cannon played as my dad and PapPap guided me down the aisle to my Professor. As we exchanged vows, pieces of cake, and many kisses, delusions of fairness occupied space in my mind.
It took me less than two weeks to learn that our marriage was not going to be fair. Fifty-fifty? Equal give-and-take? Those are just good-intentioned, but flawed concepts. Our marriage, just one year shy of a decade, experienced illnesses that rattled our faith, emotional pain that rammed us to our knees, and losses that ransacked our haven. Our marriage is not fair, but its beauty cannot be denied.
Arms open to embrace one in need of forgiveness…beautiful. Fingers entwined as a new life swallows her first gulps of air…beautiful. Tears cried for the one who aches…beautiful. Hands steadying the one whose body is ravaged my pain…beautiful. Laughter echoing throughout corridors…beautiful. Feet that stumble as they walk a rugged path, but also glide as they dance…beautiful. Lips that touch softly as evidence to both passion and commitment…beautiful.
Love. Unbridled, agape love, a love that is taught by its Creator, is not fair. I don’t think it was designed to be fair. But its glorious beauty cannot be denied.
Happy anniversary my Professor. Thank you for choosing to love this flawed, undeserving woman. Your face is handsome, but your heart is beautiful.
Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. I Corinthians 13:4-7 (New American Standard Bible).