on unity and the lighthouse: a love story


The following is a segment from our love story and is the only installment written in second person, to Seth – for Valentine’s Day. You’ll want the back-story first. Click My Love Songs tab at the top.

Oh, and how full of love I’ve been for you, though I didn’t mean to lie to you that day, on our wedding day. I guess we all lie. I guess unless a Spirit fills to the tip of my tongue and spews out my eyes with timeless perspective, I will be conditional toward you, whose lack of love was so much less than mine.

In the shower, how the truth hurts, I moan in tears, how my confession unravels you, how you question me, my every thought, every promise I ever made. Even the truth doesn’t feel like truth to you at first, but it does to me. I combine all the grief I’ve ever known, and it is only a wrist slap in comparison.

I pull the towel down. It soaks my dripping hair, the salty face. There you start to hug me, not afraid of my dripping, and now that I’m clean, all I want are your arms, but you pull back and hold my shoulders, say, “Listen.” Then your words pour like cold shock.

“Please forgive me,” you say. “Please forgive me for leaving you during Law School.” You say “forgive me” for other things, too, and suddenly aware that I hadn’t forgiven, I realize I believed the lie first. Unforgiveness is not a safe harbor, no haven of rest. Unforgiveness is a wedge. It’s a burned-out lighthouse.

My sin has so overshadowed yours that I never saw it, so dark.

I forgive you. I gladly forgive you, and I finally fit in arms like conquered puzzle.

We are small people. We are two drops in mercy sea, and we love like we have brand new skin. Let us never grow old. Let us hear the other breathe. Let me call your depravity my own. Let us stay at sea.

Let us call this unity – the two becoming small, new, kindled,

one.

amberhaines
About me

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39 Comments

~love
Reply February 12, 2010

beautiful. how precious is Grace in that it showers us clean every single day?

i appreciate you sharing this journey so very much.

    Amber
    Reply February 12, 2010

    Thank you, ~love.

    I know it's gushy.

    I think I learned while writing this that a part of the reason we ask God to forgive us as we have forgiven others is that unforgiveness so divides us from GOD that we simply can't receive the forgiveness for lack of belief. If we understand how we been forgiven, then we are able to forgive. We are incapable of not forgiving. Seth's response to my hurting him was to ask himself what he had done to hurt me. To have a husband exhibit that kind of humility is so undeserved.

    I love him.

Ol' Seth
Reply February 12, 2010

And that's the day we met Grace, I think. Grace and unforgiveness are at odds, like the polar sides of a magnet pushing against each other.

This is a personal story, I know. I love that you've shared it. I support your sharing. I hope that grace abounds and rings supreme in it. Your grace for me continues to astound me. You teach it to me. Thank you.

Why are we too good to forgive and to *learn* to ask for it? What is the institutional obstacle to grace? Why did it take us so long? These are questions I hope your readers ponder. I hope.

Happy Valentines Day (or at least Happy Friday).

I love you.

    Roni
    Reply February 24, 2014

    Four years later at 11am... your readers still ponder....

Cassie Boorn
Reply February 12, 2010

This post has me in tears. So beautiful and honest.

Wendy
Reply February 12, 2010

I love you BOTH for being the proof of forgiveness, love, transparency, and Grace...... you inspire me!

hamster
Reply February 12, 2010

"and I finally fit in arms like conquered puzzle."

damn. tattoo that on my wing-span.

Jenn
Reply February 12, 2010

Amber - I've been away from cyber space for a while (new baby and all) and I came back to your site today. Amazing. Your talent from writing is amazing. Thank you.

dearabbyleigh
Reply February 12, 2010

from laughing with you to crying with you in 10 minutes.
this is why i love to write and read writing that is more than words.
thanks friend. enjoy your valentine's and every day with your partner in grace and forgiveness.

HisFireFly
Reply February 12, 2010

I was thinking I was going to get through this with dry eyes for a change.. then I read Seth's comment.

Thank you both for being an example of the kind of transparency our Lord is asking us to walk in these days!

BlueCastle
Reply February 12, 2010

Beautiful. The writing, the forgiveness and the heart of your husband. I love reading about your love story.

Nancy
Reply February 12, 2010

Honest and lovely. Thank you.

Kelly Langner Sauer
Reply February 12, 2010

He's a good one. You should keep him. :-) I love your story of you. I am continually surprised - God has done so much to fill you...

Kelly @ Love Well
Reply February 12, 2010

I have tasted that grace. It has washed over me like the most powerful shower. And it changed me forever.

Thank you for exposing your personal story, Amber and Seth. May God get the glory for the beauty He's forming in your lives.

Corinne
Reply February 12, 2010

"We are small people. We are two drops in mercy sea, and we love like we have brand new skin. Let us never grow old. Let us hear the other breathe. Let me call your depravity my own. Let us stay at sea."

Just beautiful Amber. This passage has me in tears.

To Think Is To Create
Reply February 12, 2010

Grace is such a beautiful gift, yest we so often withhold it from others. Teaching that here in this space is your gift to all of us.

xoxo

deb
Reply February 12, 2010

Amber,
It was an honour to read those words,
and Seth's.

laura
Reply February 12, 2010

Amber,
tonight i have been reading your love story. post after post...in between getting dinner ready and sending children for sleepovers. i'm just--well, i just have no words for how your story touches.

i thank you for sharing it. it is a beautiful valentine's day gift. i think i will love better for reading these sweet, vulnerable, strong, brave words.

Kimberly
Reply February 12, 2010

I have known that kind of unforgiveness as well, and it is a silent soul killer. Seth's response, to ask you to forgive, is just....beautiful. Love at it's best. Thanks so much to both of you for being so transparent.

Boy Crazy @claritychaos
Reply February 12, 2010

Oh, Amber. Thank you for sharing your story with us. It is so moving and powerful, such a message that pours out from your poetry.

You describe love so beautifully. I am moved to chills every time I read a segment from your love story.

Really -- thank you for sharing it. (And thank you to Seth, too.)

-elizabeth

Ashleigh (Heart and Home)
Reply February 12, 2010

Your transparency is beautiful... breathtaking... and even more than the vulnerability, the grace.

grace
Reply February 13, 2010

I really appreciate this post. I needed to read your story today.

Jane Anne
Reply February 13, 2010

Your openness and honesty blesses me. Thank you for sharing and for commenting to each other in the comments. This reminds me that unity isn't always a picture of perfection. It can be piecing back the broken to become whole again.

Linda
Reply February 14, 2010

Amber,
I have gotten to know you a bit through (in)courage. Although I am old enough to be your mother, I have been so enriched by your heart through your beautiful writing. I have been reading your blog, here and there and filling in the gaps.
Thank you for the transparency, the humility, the sweet, sweet spirit that permeates this place.

Ann Kroeker
Reply February 14, 2010

The whole thing could have driven you so far apart you might have never found your way back to each other again...were it not for forgiveness. Grace. Love. And the power of the Spirit moving in you both, bringing you to unity, through humility.

Your story shows what's possible in a fallen world when our loving, gracious God works in your lives...and we respond.

Laura
Reply February 14, 2010

A small, new, kindled one -- that's beautiful!

And all because of grace. Praise our God.

Christy B.
Reply February 14, 2010

I read your entire story tonight. Wow. Grace indeed! I pray that many are moved to deeper levels of love, forgiveness, mercy through your words.

Amy
Reply February 15, 2010

I don't think I have ever introduced myself Amber...I'm Amy, I visit you here often, and really love my time on your blog. Thanks for sharing it with us. Nice to meet you!

@bibledude
Reply February 15, 2010

What a beautiful story of love and forgiveness! My pastor has been teaching a great deal in forgiveness lately so this was a very relevant example for me right now.

I believe that forgiveness can be more for ourselves than it is for the person whom we are forgiving. If we hold on to unforgiveness it is us that pays the price more than anything else. It is important to forgive so that we can experience freedom...

Caroline@carolinecollie
Reply February 17, 2010

Another heartwarming, woven tapestry of words! Thanks for sharing your gift -- the love, the grace, the forgiveness, and the ability to tell about it!

Liberty
Reply February 17, 2010

incredible. Thanks for your honesty and insight. Such a wonderful thing to ponder at the beginning of Lent.
Blessings!

Elora
Reply February 7, 2011

oh, this. it hurts to read yet heals. thank you for sharing, friend.

Brittany
Reply November 1, 2011

There's too much here that I can't fight tears in reading.
I know this feeling too well, my heart is aching today.

Truly, thank you for sharing your love story. Even the darkest parts of it.

-brittany

Brittany
Reply November 1, 2011

It's so evident. Further fuels my faith in words and that truth comes out in them. Nothing more sacred than truth, no matter how hard.

PL
Reply January 27, 2012

I found this and read all of your love songs on a day when my husband of almost 12 years will be leaving to spend the weekend with his girlfriend. I read every entry with tears in my eyes. It was no accident that I found you, found your writing that oozes out your soul. My husband left me 3 months ago. I have never stopped loving him and I never will. I believe that God will heal our marriage, take down his blinders placed there by Satan, and turn his face back to Him and return him back to our home. I believe it in the pit of my soul. I know that God is doing a work in me and a great work in my husband. But, today is hard. Today I needed to read how you stumbled, how you fell and then read of your soul aching love for your husband; needed something tangible to look at as I wait on God's perfect timing. Thank you.

Jemima
Reply February 29, 2012

This is sheer poetry, i read all the posts today, your writing movesmeto my soul BLESS YOU!

Tanya Marlow
Reply September 14, 2012

I'm embarrassingly late to the party, I know.
I just needed something to read today where I could hide away and have something minister to my soul. I discovered your love story posts and have just devoured them in one sitting. I think you may be my new favourite poet. You remind me of W B Yeats, and yet unlike anyone else i have ever read.

And i cried at the end, just at the beauty of your love story. Something about the reminder of just how great undeserved love is and mutual forgiveness and lots of other things all wrapped up together. It completely floored me. There are times when I need to hear the word of God preached straight and boldly, but there are other times when my soul is sick and weary and I need truth to come in sideways, straight into the solar plexus. That's what your writing always does for me, and I am so grateful to you for the way that you show me the character of God (sneakily, sideways).

In other news, I am really excited that you are writing a book.

Roni
Reply February 24, 2014

I read every word.. listened to every strain of your love song this morning. Thank you, Amber.

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