Marriage Letters: On Serving Together

Dear Amber,

The early days of spring shoot across the property like English ivy, flower like clover.  This property can grow up quickly.

Last weekend, after a healthy dose of weed pulling and lawn mowing, Isaac and I measured twine to string across the tomato beds.  He used his Bear Grylls pocket knife to cut the twine, closed it responsibly after each use.  He helped hammer nails into the wooden frames and tied off the loose ends.  When we were finished, we stepped back to survey our handiwork and he said, “I know you love me when you let me work with you, dad.”

I think that’s a proper summation.

Amber, we’ve been hoeing rows together for a few years now, and we’re trying our best to make them straight.  We’re learning to serve four boys, teaching them to work hard, pray before meals, and live at peace with others.  We’re trying our best to serve a community of friends, sharing meals, struggles, and faith with one another.  We’re hunkering deeper into church, and I hope to God we’re serving them half as much as they’re serving us.

Serving together seems to change things.  When we put aside the argument du jour, when we roll up our sleeves and get the dirt of service under our fingernails, I feel a kinship.  We know we’re on the same team, pushing toward the same goals.  There is a freedom in this kind of service, in denying ourselves for the best of others.  It is a constant point of refocusing, a reorientation toward what matters and a misdirection from what doesn’t.

In serving together, I’ve seen your wisdom, compassion, and mercy take flesh.  I’ve seen you as God intended.  And that’s really pretty.

Thank you for serving with me.  Let’s keep spurring each other on to love and good works.

Seth

***

Please join Amber, Joy, Scott, and me as we celebrate the truth about marriage. Every Monday in April we’re writing letters because we believe that when we bless our own marriage, we bless the marriages of others. If you write a post, share your link at Amber’s place. Thank you for joining us.

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6 Responses to Marriage Letters: On Serving Together

  1. My grandpa was a Canadian prairie farm kid, not really religious at all. But he always used to say that only God could give you a blessing in a curse, he called work the most honourable gift. He loved working and thought most of our ills could be cured, our troubles, too, by a good day of honest work. I am starting to agree with him more and more – not in the anti-welfare kind of way or only wage-earning way – but in the way that yes, work is somehow co-creation and doing it together matters. Loved this one, Seth. LOVED it.

    • sethhaines says:

      I agree with this… There is deep meaning in work, whether at the office, the family farm, or the church. And when you share that deep meaning with your wife and family… well that’s where the real joy of family set in, at least to me.

      I like your grandfather. Sounds like he was a good man.

  2. melissafed says:

    A little choked up over here…
    I can’t even seem to come up with an adequate response.
    Blessed by it though…Thanks.

  3. hopefulleigh says:

    Dang, Seth. I just like the connections you make and the way you write.

  4. pastordt says:

    Serving together is grace in action. When our kids were teens, we all were on the team for catering and cleaning up after weddings at our church – it was fun and it was so needed. My husband and I prepare and serve a meal at our local shelter for homeless families a couple of times a year and that, too, is rich and rewarding. We learned how to offer hospitality together in our home right from the start – following the good modeling of both of our parents and that has been a primary way for us to serve together. That and raising children and caring for grandchildren, of course! I actually think that is a primary way we are called to be servants – in our own family setting. Thanks for these good letters, Haineses and Bennetts. Really wonderful contribution to the health and nurture of marriages.

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