|A selfie in June (I'm not very skilled with these!)|
Twenty-four years ago today, Bill and I eloped. There are no wedding pictures, no guest book, no wedding cake preserved in the freezer. It was just the two of us.
We'd both done the whole wedding and reception thing before. His first marriage lasted 20 years and sadly ended in divorce. Mine ended after only eight years when my husband was killed in a flash fire.
Bill and I were two wounded individuals both eager to love again and scared to death of what the future held for our two families. We returned to our separate homes and let our four daughters know we were now going to be one family.
Unlike a sitcom, things were rocky. At times, it didn't look like we would make it. Sometimes I wanted out and other times he did. During the worst of times, we surrendered it all to God. Often we were in separate rooms praying our hearts out. And it worked. We weathered storm after storm that way. Without our faith, there is no question whether or not we'd still be together. We wouldn't be. I often wonder how relationships last without Christ as the cornerstone. Ours simply would not have. Period.
But here we are, 24 years later, and stronger than ever. I cannot tell you how grateful I am for this particular anniversary. I can't think about it too long without tears puddling in the corners of my eyes. Because in February this year, I could have lost Bill. People don't always survive their first heart attacks. But he survived his and he's with me to celebrate... I mean really celebrate... another milestone in our story. While many look ahead to their 25th wedding anniversary, I simply want to cherish the 24th. Cherish. Cherish.
Bill completes me. He's strong enough to not put up with my crap, yet tender enough to excuse my weaknesses. He's opinionated, yet flexible and teachable. He's oh, so smart. He's well-read, has a unique understanding of Scripture, preaches and exercises grace and forgiveness on a regular basis, and possesses the kind of love that would literally lay down his life for someone. Those of you who know him, know this to be true. And yet, as my husband, he also drives me crazy at times (and I, undoubtedly, do the same to him). That's the real beauty of marriage. Not all the love and good stuff, but the mucky mire as well. When you get to the other side still filled with love for each other, that's what it's all about.
And that is what I am ever grateful for today. Happy anniversary, my love. "You are Starlight. I'm Galileo."