When Contentment and Hope Throwdown

'S.F. Wrestling World Championships' photo (c) 2008, Tsutomu Takasu - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

Last week I was reading this post by my dear friend Tamara about her husband’s move to faith, a few thoughts went through my head. First, I was impressed with the beauty with which she writes. Then I was struck by how hard it is for me to know how to respond to those kinds of posts.

My first response is happiness. Anything that draws a couple closer together is A Good Thing (TM). And I love knowing that another person has found joy in the Christian faith. That make me all smiley and gooey.

Then the conflict starts. 

I am primarily content with our interfaith marriage. Mostly because my husband is still one of my most favorite people to hang around and because he makes me laugh more than anyone else. When I look at my full-featured friend post, he is all of those things. I am content because I am content.

I am also content because I choose to be content. Even as we close in on two years of this being our normal, there are still times when it catches me off guard and my response isn’t immediate satisfaction. In those moments, I need to check my emotions and make a choice to be at ease.

In a corner of my heart, there is a part of me that is hopeful. Hopeful that we’ll come to a place of sharing faith again. As much as I want to rebel against that because I feel like it’s disrespectful to him and his journey, I have to be honest that it’s still there.

I don’t like seeing hope as a negative thing, but in this particular situation, I feel like it is. I tend to live in a place that is flush with contentment, where hope is relegated to the back of the bus. Hope is allowed, but it’s not really welcome.

So when I see a post like Tamara’s, my contentment side and my hope side want to have a throwdown. Their precarious coexistence is thrust into turmoil. My brain sits by the sidelines, shouting out taunts.

“Disrespectful!”

“Faithless!”

“Intolerant!”

The two parts of my heart war with one another, battling for control. Until the referee steps in and declares a winner.

Not contentment. Not hope.

Love is what wins.

Some days love will be expressed through contentment and acceptance. Some days love will be expressed through hope and longing. Regardless of how it’s shown, if love is at the center, my relationship and my heart are the victors.

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