I felt honored to have been asked to prepare a cake for some friends’ 50th Anniversary. I relish opportunities to create, particularly things useful. When I finish I cannot stop looking at my creation. I simply love what I create. It doesn’t come out perfect. None of them ever come out perfect, but the flaws are part of the creation.
For the anniversary cake pictured below, I was asked to use an icing recipe I’d never used before as well as an application method that was new to me. My feelings were strung between confidence that I can do things I put my mind to and nerves that I could possibly ruin a key element of my friends’ special occasion.
The week of the event I baked on Thursday, wondering whether the two larger cakes forming the bottom layer were done in the middle despite the toothpick having come out clean. Friday afternoon I uncovered questionably dense, moist centers in both. Were they safe? After consulting my local expert, Mom, I decided to cut out the centers and replace them with smaller cakes. The resulting bottom layer was white with a chocolate center.
Allowing for emergencies, I iced and stacked the cakes Friday, and things went smoothly once I had the centers replaced. I awoke Saturday morning to separation in the icing. Places where I had used heat to smooth the crusting buttercream frosting now glistened with melted butter. Although I was able to dry the spots with paper towels, the cautiously driven ride to church made visible the frosting’s weaknesses. Cracks! Despite this fact, everyone was pleased with the finished product.
How appropriate. Marriages are like that. They have cracks. Even when we take care on the ride, cracks develop. The question is what do we do with those cracks. If we focus on them, we will only see more faults and may despair. Those people who make it to their 50th wedding anniversary are the ones who have chosen to make the best of it. There are no perfect people, thus their are no perfect unions of people.
Some flaws can be covered so no one ever notices. Other flaws are right out in the open where everyone can see them. It’s my choice whether I create something beautiful around the cracks or whether I discard the structure.
Here’s the tough thing. Building a beautiful marriage isn’t a choice that is made once and for all at the altar. It is millions of tiny choices made moment by moment.
In a group of older women I once told of a time early in my marriage that I considered leaving my husband. I was surprised to discover that every one of them had been there. We all honor those who persevere and make it through the long haul.
50th wedding anniversaries bring tears to my eyes every time I see them. THAT is love. It’s not giving up when you have every reason. It’s choosing to see the jewels that God put in your spouse despite the ugly that is showing its head.
Today I choose life. This moment I choose life.
If you are a believer, you above others can make it the long haul. You have a secret weapon living inside you called Holy Spirit. You are not obligated to do what your nature tells you when your spouse offends (and vice versa). You can call out to the Lord. He knows you inside and out and loves you just the way you are, cracks and all.
May you find joy in the journey.
“Whoever would foster love covers over an offense.” Proverbs 17:9a