In just a few hours we will walk hand in hand, relax in a rustic room, and enjoy a fine meal at a cozy restaurant, and all of this not far from home.
When our eyes met as you walked the aisle on our wedding day, neither of us could have seen the joys nor sorrows that awaited us. How could we have handled an advanced viewing of our years to come? Time travel backwards is somewhat attractive but I have no interest in time-travel-forward. It is God’s mercy that keeps future’s curtain down, refusing even a glimpse into its details. We know enough to keep us going. We know of the New Heaven and the New Earth and that one-day a peach will taste exactly as it was created to taste. The Bible and C. S. Lewis taught us that.
Sooner than we expect more friends our age will exit the now and enter the then, leaving us behind. Some will be snatched suddenly while others will suffer a long and debilitating journey to the end. And, how much longer do we have? For the past 32 years, such thoughts seemed far away, now they are creeping ever closer. And, its not only friends and family, but one of us will leave the other behind, but only for a time.
Every pain, difficult situation, and disagreement would have reminded us, had we listened, that life is fleeting.
But God is rich in mercy and every hardship has been matched by a mercy and every mercy has been written in notes for singing.
Mercy. Grace. Gift. You, dear Lori, are a choice blessing from heaven, a mercy, and a gift of grace, a true partner and friend.
Our first pastor, after we were lawfully wedded, Dr. Roger Freeman, always referred to us as the “newlyweds” and reminded us that he prayed for us. We were newlyweds trying to find our way—everything new to us and everything a first for us as a married couple. Our first apartment, your first job, our first Christmas tree, and the first time that we sat on the bench at the front of campus together.
The “firsts” have often been repeated and joined to new first experiences. As one pop philosopher mused, “The times they are a changing.” Though I have aged, you still have the glow and the skin of the twenty-year-old lady that I married. Time has not erased your joy, and, unlike me, you have never dwelt long beneath a melancholy cloud such as has often hovered over my head.
The lines on my face now are deeper, but so has our love deepened. It has deepened with time, experiences, children and grandchildren. 32 years- a lot has happened in that span. 32 years seems like a long time and yet, mysteriously, it has only been a moment.
Thank you, Lori, for 32 years. Thank you for doing the hard thing and loving me. You are a blessing beyond my ability to fully appreciate and I look forward to our day together, and, God-willing, 32 more years.
I love you,