It's not my anniversary today. Thursday. Thursday, August 5th, 2010 will mark 15 years since I fluttered nervously at the back of that church, eyes blurry, waiting to step across the threshold of my individual self in order to enter the domain of my shared self. Those who know me may think that moment was a challenging one for me. It was not.
I walked down that aisle with great confidence and my heart as completely full as it could be, on the arm of the man who raised me - to the extent that any man did - to reach the man who lifted me up. He still does. As I approached him I was beyond words - well past describable emotion and so alive in the moment of my dreams I could barely contain myself. He was too, although he'll swear until we're sharing the story in heaven that he did not cry. He did.
Our families were there, the friends who had brought us to that moment were there, God was there - no doubt - and outside, cheering crowds were there. Nothing like having your wedding at a lakefront church on the first day of the Air and Water Show to add a little background noise to your ceremony! It had been grey and dreary in the days leading up to our wedding day. We exchanged our vows with the gold and green of ancient stained glass played along the walls as the sun emerged full and throaty. I took some credit for that, as I had prayed most fiercely that God would welcome my marriage with a little sunshine. Early evidence in my adult life that with all His more important tasks, God hears every prayer. It was lovely, sweet, perfect - then and in my memory.
Despite its glow, the day was not without it's fits and starts, nor were the preparations, and certainly the days after have held their challenges. I'll greet my anniversary with fifteen years of experience, some of it magical, some of it most desperate. Days of dull, dishes and dirty socks together with moments of incredible splendor, discovery and communion have filled a life together that for me is always new and worthwhile and ready. I am not love without my husband. I submit because I choose (not often, but I do...). I am strong because he needs me. I am a mother because of His grace, but also his grace. I go forward because he holds my hand and I don't have to be alone, or fearful. He protects me and my children and makes us safe, no matter the danger. He is my best friend, my only champion, my truth, even when it hurts. My heart still flutters when I see him, and for whatever length of time we are apart - even now in this tiny little moment - I long for him.
I knew all of that would be true fifteen years ago when I took his hand on that day with that promise before God and familly. I knew it. I know it now. And if I can love him for all eternity, it may not be enough. Now, as then, when we sang softly (and completely off-key) to one another we show each other the world, shining, shimmering, splendid, taking each other wonder by wonder, over, sideways and under, on a magic carpet ride.