by Romi Pierce
I remember my wedding day as if it were yesterday. It was a dream. Every detail of the reception from the food to the wine to the Michael Jackson impersonator was perfect! But the most important part was the ceremony.
I really didn’t understand the significance of what we were about to do until moments before the rehearsal. We had been so preoccupied with the details of the wedding, we hadn’t even processed what it meant to make a lifelong commitment to each other. I was scared, nervous and excited all at the same time.
At the ceremony the next day, as I watched my bridesmaids walk down the aisle, I whispered to myself, “for the rest of my life,” and started to cry.
The only time I had ever really said those words out loud was when made a new commitment to the church as an adult. I had left the church for a few years and found myself wandering without guidance. I had found my way back through being in community with others and through reading the Bible. In the reading, praying and gathering, one night I found myself saying out loud to Jesus – “for the rest of my life.” And I knew that was that. This love was meant to be forever.
In saying those six words to Jesus and again to my husband the night before our wedding, I have felt what a commitment truly means when it comes from the heart. I have also learned that when I speak this commitment and take these vows, it doesn’t mean that life gets easier – it actually gets harder.
Those six words meant I would have to be open and willing to stand on a new foundation. Ultimately, that means no more being solely self-reliant, but opening myself to trusting someone else.
That vow also meant that I couldn’t say or do things I didn’t mean. I had to be more intentional in my actions and in my words, because I could hurt my beloved.
It meant accepting our imperfections. As I grew into what those vows meant, I also learned that we need to communicate clearly and respect each other’s boundaries. And in the push and pull of our commitment to each other, I have discovered that tensions can spark and frustration can build. But those words, “for the rest of my life,” have the strength to pull us out and call us into the hard work of reconciling and seeking love, understanding and forgiveness with one another.
I’m delighted to say that my husband and I will celebrate three years of marriage this month. And just like my relationship with Jesus, our love has not been a straight line but rather a squiggle. The reason I love our squiggly line is that the ups and downs allow us to learn more about ourselves and also deepen our love for each other. The annoyances of life – things like dirty socks that never quite make it to the hamper – don’t cause heartaches but opportunities for understanding. And sometimes that’s just how it goes.
Those six words “for the rest of my life” carry me through each day, from when I wake up until I fall asleep. Thanks be to God.
1. Have you ever made a forever commitment?
2. How did this commitment make you anew?
3. In your life’s peaks and valleys, how have you opened yourself to trusting Jesus? What was that experience like?
Dear loving Jesus, thank you for the opportunity every day to breathe your word into our lives and for loving us as we work through understanding, toiling over and holding true to our forever promise and commitment to you. Every day is not perfect. Every day is a new time for growth. And every day is a chance to serve you, to love you and to be in joyful community with our friends, family, loves, and partners. Thank you for showering our relationships with truth and love, and for giving the gift of each other to journey alongside us as we live our lives. We pray for your grace and love upon us, and to hold us close as we deepen our commitment and devotion to you “for the rest of our life.”
Romi Pierce lives in Oakland, California, with her husband. She works as a neighborhood collaborative manager to advance residents’ health and well-being. Romi is a board member for the World Day of Prayer and a member of Women of the ELCA’s Today’s Dream, Tomorrow’s Reality anti-racism education network. In her spare time, she loves to travel and cook. She considers herself a foodie.
Photo of woman in red shoes by Scott Webb. Photo of couple by Morguefile. Used with permission.