Sunday, August 17, 2008

for heather on our anniversary

17 years ago we operated under the assumption that we knew where we would go and what we would do. At the time we didn’t know that we didn’t know. 17 years ago, we had no idea that special days would be littered with cockroaches and pastors from hell. We didn’t know I would trim trees and break bones. God, in his mercy, spared us the foreknowledge of difficulties in conception and relative homelessness. 17 years ago I didn’t know that one can’t love without fighting. At the time we didn’t know that we didn’t know.

But 17 years ago, to the day, there was one thing we did know and that one thing was enough. We had passed through the accidents of doubt that previous spring, so when our day came, we were healed and strong again. I have never been more certain of anything than the vows I spoke on our wedding day. I remember your lop-sided smile that day, your warm laughter and disliking the wine together. I remember thinking, “Is this really happening to me? Could I be so blessed?” I remember sharing a bed that night, and sleeping peacefully, knowing that as long as we stayed side-by-side we could face anything.

In my projections about the future there have been only two things that have come to pass: God has remained faithful to us and we have remained faithful to each other. And I can honestly say that that is enough, my love. 17 years on, we still share the same bed and I still think, “Is this really happening to me? Could I be so blessed?” 17 years on, I’ve learned that small things are big things: potato salad, frothed coffee, and a listening ear. This morning, your lop-sided smile made my heart jump again and tonight we shall celebrate with Argentine steak and a soothing glass of smooth Spanish red.

You’d think that, with 17 years behind us, I’d know more, but today I am keenly aware that we do not know where we will be 17 years from now. (Could it be that I have finally come to know that I don’t know? I hope so.) 17 years from now we may be slapping mosquitoes or mourning a loss. I will probably still spurn sushi and make your eyes roll, but who knows what other variables will define us? We may be holding a grandchild or buying a dog. We may be car-less or sun-burnt. There are many things we do not know.

In spite of that, though, there are two things I am certain of: God will yet abide in our hearts and you will abide in mine. One way or another, we will fight to love. You will continue to smile most days and anger me others. We will improvise but we will not gamble. 17 years from now you will interfere with my comfort, tearing up my straight pavements, turning them into small, wild, crooked paths. Come what may, with you by my side, my soul will find its imperfect home. Yes, the windows will always need washing there, but I would not want it any other way, for we are together, my bride.

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