He came home from 8 days of surgeries in Guatemala just in time to celebrate 18 years with me. There could be no greater anniversary gift than his presence to fill the void of last week.
Eighteen years together... and I look back and think "how many minutes and days that added up to months and years have I wasted in anger, jealousy, envy, strife and discontent? Would it add up to years of un-gratitude for the gift of him?" Probably.
Eighteen years ago, I woke up at my grandparent's lake house and smiled. It felt like Christmas morning to my heart. I couldn't capture all the gifts of that day... I simply did my best to live in the moment. To this day, April 23, 1994 was the BEST day of my life... all because my best friend covenanted to love me, honor me, cherish me and put up with me for the rest of his life!
I was young and stupid. There was much my heart didn't know or understand. I didn't know there would be days that he wouldn't like me and that there would be times I had to work hard to remember that I loved him. I didn't know that I would find ways to fling words that cut deeper than a knife at his heart.... or that both of us would invent ways to maim. I didn't know that marriage is harder than anyone ever mentions... and on that day, everyone let me live in my fairytale world as I said "I do."
I also didn't know that you cannot undo. Instead, you move on. Redemption, forgiveness, grace, mercy and gratitude...those are the things that makes a good marriage into a great marriage. You celebrate the good times and commit them to your heart memory. Equally, you cling to each other in the bad and choose to forget and remember them no more.
Nine days ago, I sent him to Guatemala with hurtful words still ringing loud in my heart... and in his. Last night, he came home and I marveled at how his heart could forget and forgive and move on. I marveled more at the deep bond of companionship that simply picked up where it left off... forgetting and forgiving what lies in the past and moving forward in love and in gratitude.
I'm joining in with the gratitude community at Ann's again... this time counting eighteen ways I am deeply grateful for that gift eighteen years ago... the gift of Chad...
... for the ways he loves me
... for the ways he forgives me
... for the ways he makes me laugh
... for the ways he provides
... for the way he holds my heart
... for the way he takes care of the little things so that I don't have to
... for his sense of adventure
... for his leadership
... for the ways we have grown together
... for the memories we have made
... for the fact that I can't sleep without him
... for the way he makes up games with our children
... for the way he makes them laugh
... for the way he disciplines with love
... for the ways he understands their hearts
... for his unwavering commitment to me
... for the fact that he loves Jesus more than me
... for his spiritual leadership in this house