Who do you admire? What if they were to call you and ask to have lunch this week? Would you rearrange your schedule to meet them? Would your priorities stack up differently? What would it do to you if you discovered they admired you? That they rearranged their whole schedule to spend time with you? It would radically change the way you looked at yourself to discover you were admired by the admirable.
Many of us forget that our spouses admired us so much that they rescheduled their whole lives around us – that’s called marriage. Your spouse does admire you that much. How does it feel? Fulfilling? Sometimes it is. Sometimes the spouse we admire admires us and makes us feel so full we can’t imagine being more full. But this doesn’t always work and it never lasts. We need more admiration than anyone is capable of giving, even if that person gave us the promise of a lifetime. We need more. Our spouse needs more.
At the root of the word admire is the an old Latin word meaning “miracle.” There was a time we thought it was miraculous to have the admiration of our spouse. I thought it was at the time. And still do most days. But there is something more miraculous about the story of the gospel, and it carries both me and my wife when we don’t have enough admiration for each other. Here is the most admirable person who ever lived making the promise of not just one lifetime given to us, but an eternal lifetime given to us. Bending the schedule of eternity around me. When I see this – really see it for what it is – I am admired enough to last when my spouse doesn’t admire me, or just as significantly, when I don’t admire myself anymore. There is a way through. There is a way up. Does my spouse admire me enough? No. But miraculously, God does.
admiration (n.) early 15c., “wonder,” from Middle French admiration (14c.) or directly from Latin admirationem (nominative admiratio) “a wondering at, admiration,” noun of state from past participle stem of admirari “admire,” from ad- “at” (see ad-) + mirari “to wonder,” from mirus “wonderful” (see miracle). The sense has weakened steadily since 16c.