Stars In Our Eyes

So, a couple I know (not intimately–we were only ever acquaintances) has been getting a lot of flack recently for an article announcing their marriage. Maybe it was the way the article was written (which is the author’s fault, not the couple’s, yes?), but a few other bloggers picked it up and ran with it–ran it and the relationship into the ground for being too.. romantic? I’m actually not sure why there was so much animosity generated from the wedding announcement.

I knew these two a few years back. In fact, I didn’t know them as a couple–they were both dating other people at the time–but they were every bit as academic and enthusiastic and geeky as the sources let on. And then they fell in love.

I admit that when I read the notorious announcement, I, too, rolled my eyes. Partly because sometimes other people’s love stories seem a bit far-fetched and fairy-tale-ish. Partly because I knew enough about the couple to know that most of what was reported was based in fact. But also, partly, because if someone had written a story about my husband’s and my dating/engagement/wedding shenanigans, it would have read similarly saccharine.

We were so freshly in love then. We had stars in our eyes and we had dreams and plans and we were all in our own little world and “come what may” and who knew or cared what the future may hold and dream on and Promise and Hope and Love.

Stars in our eyes.

And yes, over the last 10 years, we’ll be the first to admit that many of our hopes and dreams have not come to fruition the way we thought they would. Or at all. We’ll confess that we’ve had hardships we never expected, and suffering we’d specifically prayed against. Marriage is hard. Love is hard. We knew that, at the beginning.. at least intellectually. But no one who starts on the way of self-sacrifice can tell you exactly which parts of himself he will sacrifice. In the ear-deep muck of daily living-out one’s vocation to love for the good of the other few are there to remind you to look skyward at the stars you once knew so well. Mostly folk say, “I told you so.”

Those stars in our eyes.

But I’ll tell you what’s held us on the way these many years of Loving, and it’s Hope. Not the light-hearted wish of “hope you have a good day” but the deep, eternal longing for true happiness and profound fulfillment. We hold out hope that the clouds will break and we’ll see the stars again because we have seen them. We remember, in those early days of our relationship, even on our wedding day, how effortlessly we Loved and gave of ourselves. We have Faith that the stars have not disappeared, but that we will see and Love them again. We hold on Hope in the darker times, because something outside our (broken, imperfect, silly, saccharine, inconsistent) selves is ordering things for our Good.

And I look for those stars, always. Peeping sometimes through the cloud-wrack, such light and high beauty cannot fade away.

Sometimes, at an especially blessed and peaceful event, I see them again. An ordination I photographed recently where a young man was so filled with Joy that it filled our own hearts and overwhelmed us with tears. Or welcoming a new, longed-for child into the family, and marveling at his smallness, every coo, every giggle, every tear. Or at a wedding, where Hope and Love and Promise are so present they are palpable. Two people who are no longer two but one, beginning a new life, so filled with Hope they cannot help but smile. I see stars, again, in their eyes.

I refuse to give in to the nay-saying, the “wait a year and they will separate” or “they don’t know what real Love is” because who’s to say what they know, or what they may come to know? Hope lives, and the stars remain. And I believe they will forever.