Last night, on the eve of my 27th wedding anniversary, I arrived home at 9:30 p.m.; it was my night to staff the late-evening hours at the office. Through the window, I could see my spouse working at the dining room table. I let myself linger on the walkway. In some ways, he hasn't changed much at all--he was working on Philosophy classes, the same way he might have been 27 years ago.
Last night, we floated in the pool and hoped to see a meteor. I saw one as we took our shoes off; my spouse saw one as we decided to call it a night. That seems like a metaphor, but I haven't worked out the symbolism yet.
I think back to all the changes of the last 27 years. I have a pool to float in. My own pool, not the apartment complex pool I'd have had 27 years ago. Here I am at second to southernmost county on the U.S. mainland. That's a change. And by lots of hard work and some luck, we live in a historic district near the beach.
Twenty-seven years ago, we'd have been in Greenwood, South Carolina. I'd have slept in the house that used to be a parsonage where my grandfather served a congregation for many years. Twenty-seven years ago in that house, my grandmother ironed my wedding dress. Below you'll see my grandmother, with my aunt Joyce helping.
Yes, I had a long, white dress. We got married in the same church in Greenwood, South Carolina where my parents had gotten married in 1962, the same church where my grandfather had been the pastor. We tried to keep the ceremony and the reception relatively simple. For example, we chose daisies for our bouquet. Our reception included sandwiches, so that our out-of-town guests wouldn't have to buy lunch on their way out of town. We had the best wedding cake I've ever had.
In many ways, we're still that same couple: we try to keep life simple, while at the same time, keeping a commitment to hospitality. We are hyper-aware of our blessings, and the fact that much of the world will never taste the extravagance of a wedding cake. But we don't deprive ourselves--we stop to admire the daisies.
Twenty-seven years ago, I'd have wanted to spare my grandmother the hassle of ironing a dress that was just going to be rumpled anyway. This morning, I'm amazed at the fact that anyone on this planet is willing to iron a wedding dress. My grandmother had ways of showing love that I didn't appreciate at the time.
People ask what we'll be doing for our anniversary--well, we both have to work. But that's O.K. We'll celebrate later.
We'll celebrate the way that we celebrate our marriage on most days. On our better days, we remember to say thank you to each other, and I always try to focus on the way having a partner enriches my life.
On bad days, I have opposite thoughts, but I try to counter those days with days of gratitude. Even the bad days enrich the good days, because I'm so grateful that most days are good ones, not bad ones.
Here you see a picture of us on this day in 1988, and the two of us at our 25th anniversary dinner:
Here's my final thought for an anniversary morning. I'd expand the thought to include not just our spouses but also our friends and colleagues and family members.
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