Seven years. We’ve been married seven years today. If you’re counting, and clearly, I am, we’ve occupied the same physical location for 3.5 of those years. 3 moves. 4 deployments. 4 pregnancies. 2 sweet babes here, 2 sweet babes in heaven. 3.5 years together. 3.5 years apart. A lot of phone calls. The Lord teaches me by the numbers to breathe gratitude for every second. I didn’t always know this … it is a hard lesson.
My sweet maternal grandparents were married sixty years. Sixty. When they lived with my parents for a short time and I was there for the summer, I would hear them pray for each other every night, simple words, not eloquent, born of sixty years. She died in November of 2005, shortly after P left for his first deployment. We drove down to say goodbye, to celebrate her life.
The funeral parlor air was thin. A thin space between here and there. Between now and then, what was and is now. My grandmother was pale. Frozen, unvarnished. She was wisping away even before she died, her skin powdery and soft like liquid talc. She seemed a sleeping paper doll, waiting for our goodbyes in the breath stealing air.
My grandfather just looked. He looked and looked. In that moment all the burden, the responsibility, the fear of loss, fear of failure, fear of poverty, escaped in the breaths he took just looking. Sixty years of loving someone, of partnering, of the ordinary. They weathered a world war, the loss of two babes, the raising of two more. While he looked, I cried …. much more for myself than for the loss of her. Tears for the thought of losing a life together ….
I wanted Husband there, I wanted to cling to his hand, his arm, to tuck my head under his chin and know we had sixty years more. I know now from the first moment we said “I do”, each minute, each breath together is a treasure, but then, in the looking, I wanted more. Needed to know the story, wanted to skip to the ending.
But, really, isn’t the turning of the pages the best part of the story? The un-knowing?
Each moment unfolding, terrifying, but already written by a Heavenly Father who holds earths in His hands ….
“Who has measured the waters in the hollow of His hand, measured heaven with a span and calculated the dust of the earth in a measure? Weighed the mountains in scales and the hills in a balance? … Behold, the nations are as a drop in a bucket, and are counted as the small dust on the scales.” (Isaiah 40:12, 15)
…. and babes in his Arms ….
“He will feed His flock like a shepherd; He will gather the lambs with His arm, and carry them in His bosom, and gently lead those who are with young.” (Isaiah 40:11)
And loves me. Me.
“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you” (Jeremiah 1:5a).
It’s a little easier to be grateful when you grasp even a thimbleful of the magnitude of the gift.
I don’t know if I get sixty. I don’t know if I get ten. I don’t know if I get seven years and one day more. I do know that until the last breath, I will love him. For better or worse, rich or poor, sick or well.
Together or apart.
Here’s to seven years. Here’s to “thanks-living” every minute we have left.
Happy anniversary, love.