Thirty- three years ago I made my vows on the back porch of Terry’s lake house. A small group of family and friends surrounded us. We have celebrated anniversaries in any number of places since. Quite a few celebrations took place in North Carolina. Driving the Blue Ridge Parkway often was a top choice.
Three years ago I was pastoring for the summer in Florida. On my friends’ patio, we renewed our vows. Officiating was a mentor who had been on my Committee on Ministry. That year we took a few days at one of our favorite places, Cedar Key. So many good memories….
This was our first anniversary to celebrate in Montana and it was most unusual. We have just returned from a week of being leaders/counselors at church camp. Today I had services to lead and a council meeting after. We drove to Billings to try out a restaurant we had never been to, where we consumed excellent Asian food in a very pleasant atmosphere. After shopping for shoes for Terry, we returned to Columbus, made a brief stop at home and then walked a few blocks down our street to watch a superb performance of Twelfth Night in a Shakespeare in the Park series.
Now he is on his computer in his office and I sit here working on mine. It isn’t the most romantic of endings. Yet there is a sense of comfort, familiarity. We are both pretty exhausted from camp. Being free to just allow a situation to be what it is seems so valuable.
Thirteen years ago my father died the week of our anniversary. It was our 20th anniversary and we had planned a celebration with our children and their spouses and a larger party with friends the day after that. I was devastated by my father’s death. The funeral home wanted us to have the service on our anniversary itself (long story) and I balked. We had the funeral the day before and on our anniversary we flew home. The plan we had had following the parties we ended up cancelling, had been to drive the Blue Ridge Parkway. But I didn’t want to go. Terry convinced me we should go on with it and we did. In the midst of my grief, I still was able to find pleasure in the trip. That reflects another valuable lesson: “In the midst of loss, celebrate life,” as I have noted in other blogs.
I am so grateful for the years, for the life we have built. There have been difficult times of course and generally we have managed to navigate those and come out stronger. Now we face aging together and that presents its own challenges. Growing old together sounds so romantic when you are young and healthy. The reality can be pretty tough as health issues begin to impact your functioning and quality of life.
So I find another lesson is to cherish the memories through the years, while being mindful to make more in the present moment. They can serve as anchors that will help ground us in whatever time is granted us, in whatever circumstances we may face.
May we be bearers of hope, the “wait staff” of Hope’s Café for each other and all those we encounter. Shalom, Kate
Hope’s Café “Bonus” (actually a P.S.): My apologies for a late edition blog. There was little WiFi and little time to use it when it was available at camp!