Welcome to Sketches
These sketches began in the notes app on my phone. I started recording them for a few long-distance friends and now they are here for you in voice and text, the silly and the serious, my joy and my depression, and the weeds I call flowers in my Iowa garden.
Some moments don’t fit perfectly into prose or poetry. These sketches are more like photographs—true, but not the whole truth—because a camera can’t capture that. And neither can words. I will press “pause” on a few moments here in this column and I hope they will make you feel a little less alone in the wrestling with and waiting for all that has been promised. —Rachel
Ketchup on Their Pizza
I make the bed and he makes the coffee. Six months into marriage, we have some routines down. But this week I decided to become a “morning person,” an experiment I try from time to time. This morning, Evan noticed that I was picking out my clothes alongside him and it clicked that there would be a race to the shower. He told me with fake exasperation, “Hey, you’re throwing off my routine! You take night showers. I shower in the morning. This is what we do.”
“Well, now I’m a morning showerer. And you’ll have to race me.”
I proceeded to grab my clothes and run downstairs to get to the bathroom first. I knew I would be done showering by the time he picked out his tie (I was) but he pretended to be grumpy about it anyway. We both know that by the end of the week I’ll be back to my regular routine of writing late into the night and getting up after he’s already had two cups of espresso and watched the morning news.
There are some things you don’t try to change about the person you’re with. In fact, there are very few things, because what we fear most is “to be known and not loved,” and so the more you know about a person, the greater your opportunity to show them the kind of love that quiets fear.* This love tells us something about God, how he loves us in our quirks, routines, and idiosyncrasies—that even when we tell a joke that doesn’t go over well at a party—we are still fearfully and wonderfully made. So laugh with them, even if it wasn’t very funny, and spend the car ride home making more jokes rather than picking each other apart for all the ways you failed to live up to one another’s expectations. We are not blank canvases or someone else’s future art project. He doesn’t need more green and she doesn’t need fewer metaphors. We need to be able to sigh and set down our masks for a while. Rest our smile muscles and know that it’s okay. That it’s safe.
I’m not talking about ignoring sin. I’m saying: if they like to put ketchup on their pizza, let them. And not begrudgingly, but with joy, appreciating who they are, even the parts you don’t understand.
When you look back on any relationship, you won’t regret words of affirmation but the argument you had over the color they wanted to paint the front door. It’s just a door. They are person—a precious image-bearer of God.
Tim and Kathy Keller said, “. . . here’s what it means to fall in love. It is to look at another person and get a glimpse of what God is creating, and to say, ‘I see who God is making you, and it excites me! I want to be part of that. I want to partner with you and God in the journey you are taking to his throne. And when we get there, I will look at your magnificence and say,
‘I always knew you could be like this. I got glimpses of it on earth, but now look at you!’”
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