Several years ago, Lucas and I attended some friends’ wedding in Ottawa. It was a beautiful ceremony and the reception was loads of fun.
During a wedding ceremony, my favourite part is definitely the marriage vows– provided the couple writes the vows themselves. The sacredness during those minutes is so real, so tangible, you can almost feel it in the air.
One of the lines in the bride’s vows said something like, “I vow to fight to continually show you the parts of my character that I have worked so hard to hide.” That line stuck in my head and the reality of it brought so many scenarios through my mind– over and over again.
We grow up learning to mask our weaknesses. We learn to withdraw from the group if we need a break; we leave the room if we can’t have the conversation at that moment; we change the channel when a show upsets us. We change, we move, we leave. We escape. And so, I can go through most of my life with most of my friends believing that I am truly a patient and forgiving person. They don’t know how long and arduous the forgiveness process may have been or how many tears were shed over an issue. I can give most people the idea that I’m pretty put together and stable emotionally… you know, levelheaded and composed. Yet, they don’t see how many hours I’ve spent journaling about the issue, how much quiet time I needed, and how long I had process the situations with others.
But married life strips me of those escape routes quite quickly. Retreating into “my space” is difficult– if not impossible. I am forced to deal with character traits that are unfavourable because well, most people never even know how impatient and over-sensitive I can be.
The parts of me that I want to hide are the parts of me that I need to see more clearly. These are the areas of my life that need to be brought out of darkness and have more light shed on them, not less. The parts of me that I try to hide are the parts that I need help admitting are actually issues that need to be dealt with. They’re the ones that make me cringe and I can feel shame when people find out they’re my issues, but these issues are the exact the ones where I get to experience the grace of Christ that much more.
Lucas does, quite frequently, bring out the best and the worst in me. He sees the tired, cranky, selfish, prideful, hyper-sensitive, and resentful Viviana more than anyone else. Yet his continual love for me is a living picture of the gospel. His patience and kindness remind me that I cannot work to hide parts of me; it will never work– they will always find a way to show. Instead, I must get down on my hands and knees, roll up my sleeves, and get to work weeding out these areas.