Tuesday, October 18, 2011
The Beauty of the Infinite
When a woman marries, she becomes a new person. Her identity becomes swallowed up by her husband's and this is a good thing. This is the way it is supposed to be. She doesn't forget who she was, she just brings it with her and then with the addition of her husband's personality, becomes an entirely new creature. Even when embraced and celebrated, this process can be difficult at times because a woman has to learn to be this new person. And that takes time.
And it takes God.
"Three things are too wonderful for me; four I do not understand: the way of an eagle in the sky, the way of a serpent on a rock, the way of a ship on the high seas, and the way of a man with a virgin." Proverbs 30: 18-19
It's also a mystery the way God weaves her into the fabric of her husband's soul. No one can be quite sure how it is done. Yet that weaving together produces a beauty that no other relationship could. It's one of difficulty at times and one of excitement too. Yet nevertheless, it is a stitching together and God Himself, laces His own person through, in and out, to create bonds that cannot be broken.
"Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up! Again, if two lie together, they keep warm,but how can one keep warm alone? And though a man might prevail against one who is alone, two will withstand him—a threefold cord is not quickly broken." Ecclesiastes 4:9-12
So a woman takes on her husband's identity in name and she becomes as much who he is as she can. Over time, as her respect for him grows, so does her pride as she learns to identify who he is and what God has made him to do.
For every man has strengths and God has gifted them all with something to do, able work for them to provide for their families. It is these talents that a woman learns to love and respect over time. She may not always understand them but she must learn not to compete with them for his affection, but to revere them and glory in them. For they are God-given.
When Steve and I met, I learned quickly that he loved math-passionately. I also learned over time that he not only loved it but that he was unusually gifted in it. He saw things that most people don't see and the more I began to look through his eyes, the more I learned that he really saw the world in logical patterns, numbers and shapes. And these patterns just came out at him blinking like a lit up summer night.
Yet I am a literary girl. I love language. I love words. And I love books. So, even though I had never hated math, I had also never come to see the same beauty that he sees as he calculates and brings his proofs down to completion. Nor have I understood the feeling of euphoria he feels when he conquers a problem he has wrestled with for over eight hours. These things were not a part of my world before and I didn't know how to relate or how to be proud. It was a mystery to me and one that I could only cheer for at a distance and pray for as he fought.
Steve often tells me that he wishes he had someone to talk to about what he is learning. It can be lonely. It's like reading an amazing novel and having no one to discuss the ideas with. Or like eating a fantastic dinner with no one to share it with. Or drinking an amazing wine all by yourself. It's lonely. As a result, as God has knit us closer over these last nearly ten years, what I have learned is not linear algebra or numerical analysis, for those are things I will never learn, but instead, I've simply learned to listen.
As he explains, he tells me what he's doing and how it works. And as he speaks, I can see, even though I don't understand, why it is so beautiful to him. Did you know there is more than one infinity? Mind blowing I know. Did you know what a google is? It's a really big number. I mean a really, really big number. I believe it has a hundred zeroes (not totally sure if I'm remembering correctly though). That's where Google comes from. A google plex is even bigger. Just ask Caleb. It's his favorite adjective. Everything is "goo goo plex big" and so forth.
I've started to pay attention to all of the scraps of paper lying around, riddled with math speak, letters, numbers and symbols and have come to love those lines as if they were my own. Why? Because those numbers, those symbols represent the very heart of the man I love and are the key to who he is. How can I not respect, revere and love those scribblings? How can I not embrace the beauty and care written down in his quest for understanding? If I love him then I love his work and passions, and marvel in them with him as much as I can.
Every man's passions point him back to his Creator. For mine, every equation, every unknown, every variable, reminds him of how God created the world so intricately and amazingly. He sees the Beauty of the Infinite in these details and it causes him to worship.
Some of the best advice I ever got in my early years of marriage had to do with respect for what Steve loved. Don't ever be afraid of loving and revering your husband's talents. Marvel in them. Do your best to understand them. They won't be the same as your neighbor's husband but who cares? If you love him, you'll love what he does and what makes him tick. You'll love what excites him even if it doesn't make sense to you. Cultivate that respect and watch it grow over time.
As you do so, God will give you glimpses of who he is (your husband) and who He is. And your souls will be knit further together. And as you are woven, you will see the Beauty of the Infinite.