“And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.” Ezekiel 36:26
My husband gave me opal earrings for Christmas. They’re beautiful, but he chose them for a more significant reason.
If you hold an opal to the light, flaming colors dance just beneath the pale surface. That’s why they’re sometimes called stones of fire.
“What a strange bringing together of contradictions! ‘Stones of fire.’ A stone is the embodiment of principle—hard and cold. Fire is the essence of passion—warm and energizing. Put the two together, and we have . . . principle shot through with passion, passion held by principle.” ~ Dr. Campbell Morgan
Isn’t that a perfect picture of intimacy in marriage? Passion, yes. But passion that is anchored in covenant.
Because let’s be honest. Passion alone is fickle. It’s a fire that has to be stoked, and more often than not, life is going to dump buckets of water on it.
I know this from experience. Our marriage has weathered some desperately hard seasons — times when my heart toward my husband grew stone cold, and I feared it would always be that way. The future looked like a long, lonely co-existence. And yet? God, in covenant, kept us.
And here’s the thing about God. He can soften the stoniest heart. I know this from experience, too.
After I opened the earrings — a fun adventure that featured a small box in a bigger box in an even bigger box — he handed me an envelope. And inside? I found this. Our story. Thirty-six years condensed into fourteen intense, redemptive lines.
She bowed at feet she kissed with tears and prayers,
while men of doubt gave death a cloak of sheen.
The Man of God, a question, posed, removed the airs;
the lady rose in faith, with peace, all clean.
He who is forgiven little, loves sparse.
A kiss of love, from root to bloom, lets flow
The sap, a song of joy that lifts the farce:
All life is dark and dead, without bordeaux.
A farmer bowed in loam with hope to see
a kiss—a stone of fire—drawn up from earth as rays
of joy, as fruit from light, instead of weeds.
The grape that bleeds will drip a kiss of praise:
Your scar is round, a bowl, imbued with wine—
A peck caressed, your kiss received, my vine.
Christmas Day 2015
Inspired by Jeanne
With love, George
Yes, I love the earrings. But the sonnet? It’s one of the best gifts I’ve ever received—a glimpse into the heart that holds my heart, weak though we both are, and breakable. It’s a picture of passion tested and refined. Covenant renewed. Intimacy aged by grace into the best wine.
Principle builds the altar, stone by stone, the wood upon it a thousand daily choices to die to self. Passion responds to the invitation, white hot and holy, like fire from heaven.
Embers are rekindled, fueled by promise, sheltered by the Most High.
And here we remain.
Stones of fire, smoldering side by side.
Until death do us part.
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