I used to be sharp. Really I was. I could remember most things, I contributed intellingenly to conversation and I could accomplish more than two tasks each day. It’s somewhere in my distant memory, but I do remember (and miss) that me.
I’ve also been looking a little rough lately. I shower less often than I go grocery shopping. I have had 2 babies in 4 years and nothing I own fits me. We have chosen to be a one income family and at this point, my personal style is not topping our list of prime concerns. My husband is down to one pair of shoes and my big splurge this month was some yoga pants from Costco.
Our energy and our money have new priorities and we’re (mostly) happy to embrace even the hard parts of this season. Instead of saving for Europe and trying new restaurants, we save for zoo passes and get our favorite pizza on Monday nights when it’s half off. We do go on dates occasionally but as my son (then 3) said to me one night, “That’s a really nice purse you have and I really like your costume.”
Almost 9 years ago when my husband got down on his knee in the little town of Solvang and gave me the most dazzling ring, I felt like that diamond- all shiny and set high. I had a lot to offer; I had interesting ideas, time to dream and a great haircut.
While we were dating, engaged and in the early years of our marriage, we were adventurous and romantic. We’d take impromptu drives to the mountains just to hike around and see fall leaves, often ending the day in a coffee shop dreaming up ways to redesign the town to include a town square and lots of festivals.
We could go for a run together, have a conversation without getting interrupted and even take time to refuel so we could give our best to each other. Now, we’re lucky to squeeze in a family walk, a healthy dinner and some time to talk after the kids go to bed. Feeling rested, creative, attractive and fully engaged all at the same time? Not so likely these days.
It’s easy to feel like I’m less than what my husband bargained for. Or that I did some false advertising. Not that he has ever indicated that, but the lie creeps in on my harder days. As I have aged and deepened, more ugly parts than I thought existed have risen to the surface. I surprise myself sometimes with what I think or how I act. I am not that mom that struggles with anger or that wife that stomps around the house hoping he’ll notice that I want his help. Right? I am an easy going, patient and fun person that knows how to communicate, aren’t I? Evidently, I’m not always peaches and cream. I do yell and stomp and get grouchy. And then I feel like a tarnished promise.
But I’m not. I am real and sinful, multifaceted and precious. Even beautiful. Forgive me for citing the urban dictionary, but the phrase diamond in the rough relates to the fact that “naturally occurring diamonds are quite ordinary at first glance, and that their true beauty as jewels is only realized through the cutting and polishing process.” Cutting and polishing sounds terrible, but failing to tap into the complex beauty that lies beneath that first glance sounds even worse.
There are days when my sin is obvious and I am far from attractive, but a deep and intimate marriage is one that has had some bright sunshine and some heavy rain. I suspect that none of these rough edges in me are new. I just had yet to be sleep deprived enough and inadequate enough to have them surface. Once they show their ugly selves, I can face them, ask for forgiveness and and let God transform me.
To be fair, these years have also allowed my husband and I to see more beautiful parts in each other than we knew existed. We daily witness playfulness, sacrifice and tenderness. We marvel at each other’s wisdom and delight in these little people that we get to raise together. We are grateful for the sweet life we’ve built, outdated clothes and all. I am thankful that our marriage is refreshing and fulfilling and I’m glad we are beyond the honeymoon stage.
The gray hair begging to frame my face and the pounds I’ve gained make me think I’m less dazzling than this ring I wear, but I am getting shinier. I’m being cut and polished to reveal the jewel that has always been there. Truer beauty now than even on this lovely day.