Sunday, June 18, 2006

Thoughts on the marriage of Brent and Dawn Miller

I remember a discussion I had with Brent and his little brother Derrick about 14 years ago in the parking lot of Son Light Chapel. We were in the back seat of their gray minivan on a gray night – it looked like it could rain. Zeb and Zach had just started coming to our church. And we were not yet friends with them. So after making fun of the Yoder boys, our thoughts turned to the topic of “who is the best person in the world.” I put the question to Brent, who after some thought, said “well, after God and Mom+Dad, I think it’s Ryne Sandberg.”

Perhaps after what we witnessed today it’s safe to say that Dawn has replaced Ryne Sandberg on the top of Brent’s list of Best People.

Who is Brent?

Star little league pitcher, collector of Ryne Sandberg baseball cards, Pennsylvania Dutch speaker, fierce competitor, weight lifter, shortstop or second baseman, frustrated golfer, hutch maker, willing worker, easy going volley-ball player, purveyor of world socio-politics, loyal friend, husband of Dawn.

I grew up with Brent. I’ve seen him grow and change over time. I’ve seen him with his face smashed in by a softball that took a bad hop. I’ve seen him limp around wounded after a surgery to straighten out a hernia somewhere near his stomach. I’ve heard him describe wrecking a dark blue Probe on a gravel-strewn, rain-swept road outside of Mt. Hope on his way to Wes Miller’s old place. I remember the time 12-year-old Brent thought that jumping off our 12-foot-high balcony onto our old dark-red bean bag wouldn’t hurt. I’m not sure the bean bag or Brent were ever the same.

Maybe becoming married is bit like jumping off a balcony onto a bean-bag. It might knock the wind out of you. Being with someone other than yourself everyday, every night, and every moment in between can leave a person gasping for air. You might have to learn to breathe all over again. Sharing your soul with someone else is hard; it takes guts. But I wouldn’t trade the security, confidence and love I share with my wife for any of the brief moments of exalted manliness I’ve experienced before when winning a debate, beating the other team, climbing a mountain, or jumping off a balcony. Sharing love and life with someone else is not an achievement in as much as it is a state of being. Becoming married is in its essence becoming a different person. To use the Biblical terminology “becoming one flesh” is the merging of two people into a new and different mode of being.

I don’t know your wife well Brent, but based on my travels with her and others in the backwoods of Laos a few years ago – she doesn’t complain much. It seems to me that if you want to continue jumping off balconies and the like, she might just jump with you.

But your identity is no longer yours to shape alone. Almost every decision you make in the future will be colored by her opinion. You’re not free to merely be the guy who loans-his-Lexus-to-friends-from-New York when they need some wheels and you feel like being generous. Not only are your things no longer yours alone; your time is not longer yours either. Now you’re the husband of a woman, another person, another soul.

Speaking from a year of experience, you better not treat being/becoming married like you did jumping of the balcony – it probably will hurt sometimes. And you definitely better not treat your wife like you did our old bean bag.


Blogger Meredith said...

Very eloquent, Darren! Your MIL

7:38 PM  

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