It is our anniversary and our home is filled with boxes—some packed, some yet-to-be packed.
How many times have we been in the throes of a move on our anniversary? I still remember our third anniversary. We came home from work to dozens of dead cockroaches in our kitchen. New to Chicago, we were still moving in. We had just taken on new jobs for a man we would later call the “pastor from hell.” Yet, I do not recall feeling sad or depressed. How could I? I was married to the most wonderful woman I could ever imagine.
And I still am.
It’s impossible for me to express all that you mean to me but it sure has been fun trying. You are as true as a tree yet as free as the wind. You are loyal to your friends and family. You are bright, witty, positive and hopeful. You rejoice with those who rejoice and mourn with those who mourn. You are easy to talk with.
You commend your faith to others in the form of quiet confidence. I’m often variable, easily troubled. But you do not wane so easily. When something goes wrong, you despair little and trust much.
You spend yourself on behalf of others, sacrificing time and comfort. You have a heart for those facing hardship—the immigrant who’s unfamiliar with the language, the unwanted child, the woman unloved by her own husband, the teenager with an unstable home environment. You are a model of compassion to me.
And you reflect the hospitable heart of God. People feel at home around you. You are a good friend-maker.
Twenty one years ago today we got hitched and we are just now getting ‘round to owning a home. Yes, we’re a bit late to the game compared to others but I wouldn’t trade the adventures we’ve had for anything—because we’ve managed to make a home wherever we’ve been planted. I look forward to making our new home together. I wouldn’t want to make it without you and I couldn’t—because without you it’d be harder to see God’s heart.
I pray we have another twenty one years together. Like you, I pray we’ll host Christmas with the grandkids in our new home. And I pray with you that we’ll have stories to tell that begin with quietly sitting on our front porch, side by side, regarding the tree in the parkway. An exchange of smiles with a passing stranger will say welcome before a single word is uttered and then a friendship will be forged anew. I dream of lives freed from chains to discover the boundless ranges of untamed joy.
I’m glad to see you happy these days at the prospect of moving into our new house but I’m overjoyed to see the plans you’re already making to embody the welcome of God in that place. Our roots will grow deeper than the tree out front and your friendship will be larger than the porch.