This past weekend I watched my youngest son as he stepped out onto the surface of a snow-covered frozen lake, one hand clutching the hand of the woman he loves and the other hand, deep in his pocket, clutching a tiny box that contained a promise for the future. John and I watched them as they laughed and skidded their way to the center of the lake, snow giving way to dark gray ice with a matching sky above. From fifty yards away, we saw him hand his camera to a bystander, turn back to his love, and drop to his knee. We knew it was coming (who didn’t?) and when this moment came, I fully expected to see his life flash before my eyes: my cheerful, happy baby with his thumb firmly embedded in his mouth…his blonde chili-bowl haircut…his way of happily commanding attention in a room full of large teenage football players. But instead of seeing a parade of pictures of Micah, images of our own marriage played through my mind.
This continued as the evening went on – as we celebrated with them, prayed with them, and heard their joyful phone calls to family and friends back home. We sat across a table from them in a restaurant and listened to them as they made their plans for their wedding party and wedding songs and wedding places.
I could not recall some details of our own wedding planning – though I remember invitations and flowers and cakes. Watching Micah and Courtney, I could not help but think of the words to the song “Then”:
“We’ll look back someday, at this moment that we’re in,
And I’ll look at you and say –
‘And I thought I loved you, then…’”
The fun of setting up our own little home, just the way we liked it, with a monthly mobile home payment of $202.89. Buying and paying down my parents enormous Oldsmobile Delta 88 four-door sedan. Snuggling on Sunday afternoons on the old hand-me-down family furniture, cooking all kinds of John’s favorite things. Gaining weight. Figuring out how to pay for school, juggle family time during holidays, and learning the hard way about keeping the car tires aligned. The all-encompassing, overwhelming love for babies, sleep deprivation and desperate desire to protect them. Uncertainties and insecurities. Faithfulness. Are we making the right decisions? Losing our grandmothers. Where do we want our boys to grow up, make friends, go to school? Fourth grade performances, football practices, stomach viruses, good (and not so good) friendships, making time for a date so we can remember who we are together. School board campaigns, not-so-smart decisions, secrets kept and confessed and forgiven. High school graduations, birds leaving the nest one by one, figuring out how to help pay for college, job changes, hurting together as we watched our parents’ health decline. Grieving with our grown children in their losses and struggling with them in health issues. Losing my dad. The birth of beautiful grandchildren.
Bits of 32 years in a paragraph. But woven all through every struggle, triumph, joy, argument, excitement, achievement, loss, confession, physical change, emotional strain; through the brightest of days and the darkest of storms, there has been the deepest love that has grown exponentially. God has walked with us through every event, and we have praised Him and talked with Him every day. I’ve held the same hand for more than 32 years as hands larger than ours guided our steps. Only recently has my husband begun to show signs of age – deep laugh lines around his eyes and mouth, graying hair dignifying his already handsome face. 32 years ago, I would not have thought it possible to love him more than I did then. 32 years ago, I think I might have laughed to think he would be more attractive to me at 52 than he was at 20. But it’s all true.
I never want to detract from the love that Micah and Courtney share now. It’s real and deep and true. But I have an idea of what’s ahead for them, and it’s even better than they imagine. Experiencing life and love together, with the guiding hand of God, with His love and blessings raining down upon them in whatever they encounter – they have so much to look forward to! Praising God for His gifts of love, marriage, family, memories and blessings that flow from one generation to the next!