Monday, August 25, 2014

Thirty Years Ago

My knight in shining armor found me, swept me off of my feet, and we made promises to love, honor and cherish each other thirty years ago today.

We thought we knew so much.  We thought love would carry us through anything.

I chuckle now as I remember answering questions that our pastor/marriage counselor asked us, in order to prepare us for this lifetime commitment called marriage.

"Who will do the dishes and clean the house?"  Our answer?  "Why, both of us, together!"

"Who will shop for groceries, pay the bills, and cook the meals?"  "We will both do it together!"

And we did.  For about one year and a month.  We drove to the store together, washed and dried our clothes at the laundromat together.  We arrived home from work at about the same time,  so we carefully calculated what was for dinner (usually shake and bake chicken or a hamburger helper type meal), cooked together, and cleaned up the dishes together. We were on a shoestring budget, but that didn't keep us from our weekly trips to Baskin Robbins for our Coconut Almond Fudge ice cream cones.  At least once a week we would enjoy fine dining at the China House Restaurant where the world's best Cashew Chicken took place.  Sometimes we would play mini golf or go to a movie, or even sit by the pool at the local Howard Johnson's hotel.  We had been warned about the first year of marriage being the most difficult.  We were sailing through it with nary a bump in the road. Ah, wedded bliss.

And then life happened.  It was called colicky baby, move to a new state, and start a job in a new church, where every needy teenager thought my husband was their new hero.  All within two month's time, I had been catapulted from princess to mom, homemaker, pastor's wife, bill payer, cook, and bottle washer.  I landed hard.  All those layers of feather beds and feather matresses were pulled out right from under me when I had least expected it.

I felt like Cinderella, who had to stay home from the ball and take care of her responsibilities at home.  And my husband, the prince, had no clue.

Now mind you, he was an instant wonderful father.  After years of playing sports from little on, it didn't take him long to master the "football hold" for our darling, unhappy little daughter.  We would pass her off and pace the floor each night until she would finally fall asleep around midnight.  But his days at the church office were the culmination of many years of prayer and hard work, and it was very rewarding, albeit a little scary for him.  He was finally able to spend his time ministering, preparing sermons, sharing his faith, hanging out with teenagers, imparting wisdom and strength to those who needed him.

And although the bump in the road was unexpected for me, I soon found my new love, being a Mom.  I fell so deeply in love with my little girl, that it made no difference to me what our home looked like, what we had for dinner, or how much money was left at the end of the week (usually none).

Looking back on the last thirty years, six babies,  two little boys, two grand babies, three churches, hundreds of friends, and yes, twelve homes later, I believe we were right about one thing.  Love did take us through it all.

But our love looks a lot different now.  We used to love because.  Now we love although.  We used to count on feelings to carry us through.  Now we hold on to the promises we made thirty years ago.

On our wedding invitation, it read:  "Today I will marry my friend, the one I laugh with, dream with, live for, love…."

Today, I am still married to my friend.  We still laugh together, dream together, live together, and love very deeply together.  There are days we don't have a lot of feelings to hold on to.  But the promises we made to our Heavenly Father in front of our friends and family so many years ago have kept us from ever second guessing those words.

I'm grateful we had a love story.  I'm glad my prince came and scooped me up and carried me away.  And I'm forever grateful for the precious memories we share together now.  We are infinitely rich.

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