There's this movie I keep watching on Amazon Prime. It's called "Sweet Land."
I don't know that I've ever experienced this with a movie.. but I've gone back to it several times just to watch certain scenes.
The one I love the most, one of the most beautiful shots I've seen in cinema, is the man and woman, the main characters, waltzing together in a green field of grass with the blue sky touching the waving horizon and their white house just perched in the background. Geese flap and call overhead, and the credits roll by in the sky as they dance and stumble a bit and laugh and finally cavort out of the picture. And the music that draws to a close when they leave, it haunts me and seems to somehow encompass fullness of joy.
The joy of lifelong companionship in hard work and home sings right out of the screen and leaves me grinning cheesily to myself.
I recommend it.
There's a quote central in the movie central to the marriage and legacy of the main characters, Inge and Olaf:
"A thing of beauty is a joy for ever:
Its loveliness increases; it will never
Pass into nothingness; but still will keep
A bower quiet for us, and a sleep
Full of sweet dreams, and health, and quiet breathing." - Endymion Part I, John Keats
They spoke this beautifully into the film, and I was like, wow, I want that! I want to have a marriage that is a thing of beauty and a blessing to those around me. My heart wrestles a bit about singleness and marriage lately, wrestles with the question of what I want or what would be good..
And um, God has been gracious in showing me that, actually, what I want isn't so important.
We've all bought the Disney dream that tells us to "follow your heart," though we will scoff and say we haven't. We still bow down to our desires (our idols). But Jesus calls from the high hills and says, "Follow me, I know a better way that leads to life everlasting. That way leads to death."
So I try to stumble after Him and stuff the desires. But they are pretty pesky, as you have likely experienced.
Relatives and friends asking expectantly about a boyfriend sear my heart like a brand. Such encounters will tempt you to mark your heart with the lie: "less than" or "unwanted,"
and maybe they leave you believing God has withheld something good.
As college juniors, my single friends and I are facing the prospect of leaving college as singles and having to journey without a companion to the next destination. This doesn't seem so bad to me personally. It sounds like an adventure most times. BUT it can be a serious battle not to compare lives with your now-getting-engaged peers and to fear and wonder about the FURTHER future. I really don't like the possibility of never getting married! And if you came into college expecting to be married near the end of it and are still single at this point... expectations can be evil little devils that will hemorrhage your lifeblood of hope and joy.
"If marriage shows us the shape of the gospel, singleness shows us Christ's sufficiency." - Sam Allberry
It can be hard to believe that Christ is good and sufficient here in singleness, in a place others will tell you ain't great.
Something that I have found so good for my worried and discontented heart is a truth that C.S. Lewis speaks about. He reminds us that our desires aren't too strong, but too weak! We are just begging to live in a muddy hovel, but Christ wants to lead His children to the seashore. Whatever we are now hoping or planning, God would give us something better, not worse.
As long as we live and breathe, the Lord is NOT somehow wasting our time with singleness (or whatever situation we don't like)! He loves us. Singleness is truly a gift from Him, for real, that allows for friendships to flourish and that can show us our Savior's sufficiency. To be single in college has been a great blessing in my life, and Christ has shown me so much through it. I wouldn't trade it for a prince! I have grown so close to my friends. Friendship is underrated, you guys. Life with them has been a priceless treasure.
Even when we can't see "results" such as friendships, He is beyond worthy of our trust and obedience. The truth is, it's sinful to pity ourselves and grow bitter when we have received great grace! We are blessed beyond hope already if we know Jesus. And look back! See how He has always graciously provided.
So maybe waltzing on the prairies with a good man isn't my lot, isn't your lot.. Then there must be a better blessing or lesson that God's got. Our earthly desires show themselves silly in the eternal rays of His grace and glory.
And in every day and place, God has good work prepared beforehand for us to do in Christ Jesus.
It is a sweet land we are living in - the land of God's love. It is a sweet land to which we go.
Given to God, our lives (single or married) will be redeemed "things of beauty... that will never pass into nothingness."
"Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the LORD forever."
- Psalm 23:6
[Now only if I and all my single friends can remember these burning truths.. pray for us!]