The Slow Beauty of Tangles

HairMethodically I pull the pink brush through long, golden curls. It feels soothing to brush my daughter’s hair.

The inevitable tangles take a bit of time and patience.  I start at the very top and slowly pull down toward the tangle. When I get stuck I patiently start at the top again and pull down. I get a little further this time. And I start over again.

Working out tangles is a life skill.

Marriage, for example.

Sometimes we glide along serenely. Clear sailing ahead!  And then we hit another patch of conflict. It feels discouraging. “Really? Are we here again? I thought we were done with this.”

It’s good for me to remember that it’s just another tangle.

In long hair and marriage, tangles are inevitable. They just require time and patience.

So, we start back at the top. We re-establish date night. We brush up on active listening and hand the pencil to the one who is speaking. We pray for each other and with each other. We sometimes sit with a wise counselor and ask for help with the more stubborn tangles.

I guess I need to accept that even the marriage tangles are, as Calvin and Hobbes’ dad says, “Good for my character.” They slow me down and begrudgingly shift my eyes away from myself.

“Let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we will reap if we do not grow weary.” Galatians 6:9

So, I will go back to the top and keep practicing good… ways to bless my husband, to teach math, to work on character training for the kids, myself.

And I will reap a healthier marriage, kids who can divide fractions, patience, and the relief of humility that reminds me that my will power is not the source of good. The power that raised Jesus from the dead is what lives in me.

We honeymooned on the island of Maui 18 years ago. One of the most popular attractions there is the Road to Hana. It’s also known as “Divorce Road.”

Ominous, huh? Especially for honeymooners. The problem, I think, is the name.

“Road to Hana” implies that you are driving to a place called Hana and then driving back.  This is especially tantalizing to young husbands who love to accomplish a straightforward goal.

Actually, the beauty of the Road to Hana is the journey itself. Hana is just one small part of the experience. You are meant to stop along the way and breathe in the waterfalls and stunning views. If you know that before you set out, it sure eases tension.

And so our life journey. The goal isn’t to hastily get through the myriad of tangles that we meet every day. If so, we could just take scissors and cut the pesky things out. Which would kind of destroy the original goal to have pretty hair.

Some of the most beautiful parts of our life journey are the parts where we work through the daily nitty gritty. We humans are made for this hard stuff! It’s like mining for diamonds in the rough. Deep, strong joy that we could never find on the easy days.

May I remember to not lose heart when I’m looking at the prospect of starting from the top. May I be thankful for the opportunity to get a little further through the tangle.


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