If we are honest with ourselves, we all want our stories to reflect one thing, hope.  We want our lives to show an unending belief in the fact that life is worth living.  We want our history to be a testament of overcoming, of victory.

We want to live on the mountaintop.  And we ignore the valley.

Too many of us have bought into that lie, into the stories of endless mountaintop moments, of perfect lives flying above the storms.  Too many of us believe that if we were just good enough, we would finally find completion, we would know hope because we would know what we were hoping for.

That isn’t real life.

Last weekend I stumbled across a stack of old postcards lying scattered in a box in the back of an antique shop.  As I thumbed through them looking for artwork that would catch my eye, something else made me pause and start over.  I began to read the letters, the messages on the back of the cards.  There were more than thirty, each dated from the early 1940s.  And each one penned by Private Divis, opened with Darling or Dear Sweetheart and was sent to a Ms. Jennie nee Garnik of Chicago, Illinois.

They were love letters, letters of hope.

Sometime in 1944 they were married.  They stayed married, to each other, up until Mrs. Jennie Divis’ death in 2007.

Sixty three years of marriage.

I would love to believe that once they were married, they hopped from one mountain peak to another, each more beautiful than the last.  But real life tells me that in sixty-three years of marriage, they faced hardship, pain, and the loneliness of the valleys.  I would like to tell myself that the young love I heard whispered between the words of each post card carried them through those years, kids, careers and life with a sense of ease, but I know differently.

And so do you.

Tomorrow

Tomorrow, Christianity pauses to remember a moment in time that rewrote our stories.  And again, I am tempted to paint this memory, this remembrance with the quiet pastels that permeate this season.  But in doing so, the bloody reality of what took place over 2000 years ago is lost.  Tomorrow isn’t about bunnies, ducklings and little baby chicks.  Tomorrow isn’t just the celebration of life, but of a life lived in sacrificial love.  A life lived perfectly, because we were imperfect.

Tomorrow, we remember the death of a Saviour and mans first taste of salvation.

Tomorrow we will read the first of many love letters written to you and I more than a millenia ago.

Promises

And as I sat there and read those postcards, and as I read the story we celebrate tomorrow, I hear the same message.  We were never promised lives full of mountain peaks and empty of valleys.  We were promised however, that we would never walk this path alone.

We were never promised a life void of pain and heartache, but we were promised that if we followed this Saviour who lived perfectly and died in our stead, we would find our true life, real life, abundant life.

I am following Him, Christ.  Because more than anything, that is the life I want.  I want to know that one random Saturday in the year 2074, someone will be walking through an antique shop and will find my postcards, love letters, letters of hope to my future wife.

And I pray that they will reflect a hope greater that my own.  Not because my story was one filled with the pinnacles of life, but because I have found the life, the One I was hoping for.  I found abundant life.

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