Every week in The Kiddy Pool, Erin Newcomb confronts one of many issues that parents must deal with related to popular culture.
After a long hiatus, I tuned in for Thursday’s series finale of The Office, having been persuaded by Amy Lepine Peterson’s thoughtful commentary. I started to work backward too, and found myself particularly moved by the “Paper Airplanes” episode scene where Jim embraces Pam and she resists — at first. She’s frustrated that he’s putting work first again, and he’s headed to Philadelphia while she’s heading home to put the kids to bed alone (again). The scene is painfully long, with Pam physically and emotionally removed from the hug until she starts to recall hearing the verses from 1 Corinthians 13 about love. I’ve never really liked that verse at weddings. I think I’ve seen it used thoughtlessly so many times that it feels like a cliché, but that scene didn’t feel formulaic. It felt beautiful.
It was kind of perfect timing for my husband and I to watch the series finale of The Office together. The show ran for 9 seasons; we started dating 9 years ago. Pam and I were pregnant at the same time twice. Jim reflects at one point that the documentary aspect of the show allowed him to watch himself grow up, and in many ways, I feel like the same thing has happened for my husband and I in that time. Over the last 9 years, I’ve lost both of my grandmothers, another family member who was essentially a third grandmother, and two uncles. We’ve moved 4 times, and into our own home at last. We’ve added 2 beautiful daughters to our 2 reasonably cute cats. We’ve felt the loneliness of a move away from our entire community of friends, the trepidation of making new friends, the joy and anxiety of bringing children into the world, and all the everyday pleasures and stresses of work and family life.
But that scene with Pam and Jim reminded me of something more, too, of something that holds my marriage together in spite of my shortcomings. A Godly marriage is like a cord of 3 strands — not easily broken because God holds us together. My husband and I have been through a lot — good times and hard times — in our 9 years. Only God knows what our future together holds. We were lucky enough to marry on my grandparents’ 61st anniversary, and I can only hope that we get to see that anniversary for ourselves. If we do, it will be because we, like Pam and Jim, recognize that the love holding us together — the love that never fails — is a gift from God.