We’ve all heard those words dozens of times and likely had them uttered in our own marriage ceremonies. (Maybe we heard “asunder” instead of “separate,” but you get the point.) With rare exception, there is almost unilateral commitment to them and belief in the “art of the possible” when they are spoken. In this, hope truly does spring eternal. Despite everything our own expectations and experience might have taught us, we can actually:
- Leave the families we came from
- Join together in a new and redefining union
- Become one
But what if you have been shown something different. What if, rather than leaving, cleaving, and lifelong commitment, you mostly experienced the opposite? What if it seemed that pretty much everything went “asunder?" What if what you believed in conceptually, almost never seemed to bear itself out in reality? What if books, movies, television, and most other contemporaneous examples taught us something to the contrary? Would it still be true?
I’ve often said that the defining legacy of both my wife and I’s families has been “divorce.” There has been far more of that than ‘let no man separate.” But our families are not completely different than others. You could say that we are all children of a culture of divorce, where as many of those unions go “asunder” as not.
Disengaging from an unhealthy legacy and defining a new culture may be one of the most daunting things we will ever undertake in our families or anything else we lead.
We have to overcome:
- Years, decades, maybe generations of history
- Poor expectations
- Little, if any understanding of how to change
- The overwhelming tide of momentum
- An enemy who hates anything God intends or has established
But we know that He came not to “make new things,” but to “make all things new.” That in Him, “all things are possible.” If we choose, commit, and fight for things to change, in His strength, mercy, and grace, they can. The entire Christian narrative rests on the fact when things were broken and not as they should be, God carved a miraculous path back that allows for restoration to all as it should have been. Restoration… healed, whole, and free is our true legacy.
On Saturday night, my wife and I gathered with a community of close friends and family. We were given some amazing gifts including a new table crafted by my sons (the image on this posts shows my family eating around it) and a carefully crafted manuscript filled with dozens of attestations of a different legacy than we had come to believe was possible. They encouraged, challenged, and celebrated a twenty-five year history of marriage that seemed pretty improbable. It is a testament to something my family history, the broader culture, and the clumsiness of my poor leadership nearly conspired to destroy.
It is a story where the only likely explanation is that He exists, everything He spoke was true, and that in Him, all things are possible.
- What is the legacy of your family or the organization you lead?
- Do you desire a different future?
- Are you actively working to change it? What will you commit to do about it?
Note: Special thanks for Saturday night goes to our friends Brian/Courtney, Robert (who guided my sons in building the table), and to my six children and daughter-in-law.