Wednesday, July 22, 2009

The Willow Weeps


I am the very blessed daughter of parents who will celebrate their 49th Anniversary next month. In their front yard stands the enormous weeping willow tree in this picture. It has stood through many storms, and sheltered generations of us in countless ways since my family moved there in 1972. In many ways it reminds me of my parents--their marriage, like that awesome willow tree, has stood many storms and sheltered our family too!

Not only have they stayed together in proximity, but they have stayed so together in spirit, and are still so happy with the choice they made 49 years ago to get married, to share
the rest of their lives with one another. Their relationship has been a blessing and an example to me and so many other people who have had the privilege of seeing them together over the years. I am thankful beyond expression for the pattern they have given me. Thankful too, that my husband and I (more than 21 wonderful years together) are just as committed to our marriage as they have been to theirs.

Sadly, this story is not a common one.

Too many of my acquaintances, friends and even other family members have had different stories to tell, and the children of those broken homes are the ones who pay the highest price. I certainly don't come to this subject from a point of pride, only compassion and the humble awareness that "there, but for the grace of God, go I."

My heart is heavy with my prayers for those who already have broken hearts and shattered marriages, as well as for those who are right now just trying to figure out if there is anything left to be saved. I don't have the answers to all the questions, problems, hurts and missed opportunities in these troubled relationships, but I do know the One who does--the God whose idea marriage was in the first place, the God who hates divorce because of the harm it leaves in its wake, the God who loves the hearts that are broken when a marriage falls apart . . . His heart breaks too.

" The LORD is close to the brokenhearted
and saves those who are crushed in spirit."
Psalm 34:18 NIV

The following is a poem I wrote for a dear friend who was in just such a disintegrating relationship almost ten years ago. Although the poem was written for a woman, the truth applies no matter who you are, so I share it now in the hope that through these words, God's tender compassion and ability to heal will be brought into focus for someone who needs Him.

The willow weeps
Delicate branches sway in the wind
Like finest silk spun to golden threads
Bending not breaking
Straining, not snapping
Breezes buffet, storms stress
The willow weeps,
But the willow stands.

God Himself knits roots to earth
Holding fiber to fiber, leaf to stem, limb to trunk.

The lady weeps
Delicate heartstrings strive to endure
To make the best when love's proven false
Loving, not hating
Hoping, not despairing
Setbacks sting, burdens bite
The lady weeps,
But the lady stands.

God Himself knits her to Him
Holding spirit to Spirit, life to Love, branch to Vine.
©Copyright 1999 Shaunie Friday. All Rights Reserved.

If you have a good marriage, pray for wisdom, for God's protection and fight to keep it healthy--don't get complacent, don't let down your guard. It is too precious to take for granted!

If you have lost a marriage or feel yours slipping away, lean into the One who loves you most--You never know what He can do if you rely completely on Him.


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