Nearly 20 years ago, in September of 1998, I took a super foxy lady on our very first date. Sunday, we celebrated our 17th wedding anniversary.
So much has happened since those kids shared that meal.
In the vows I read to her, I warned her that there were lots of things I couldn’t promise, but one thing I could is that I would love her forever. That was a good promise, because it sounded good and romantic, as well as being one I’ve been able to keep.
Sunday, in church before the message, I had planned to say some nice things about her, play a love song, and wish her a Happy Anniversary. But things didn’t go the way I planned, which is just about a perfect metaphor for our whole relationship.
One of the most important things I have learned (and it’s something that I re-learn over and over, as if it were brand new) is that my plans, even my ‘best-case scenario’s’ pale in comparison to reality.
What I usually do is sit and dream about what is possible, if the planets all align and everything goes just right. What would that look like?? What would it feel like? How would I respond?
I figure if it all falls apart, I’ll be heartbroken anyway. Even if I set my expectations so low I would trip over them, even if I ‘didn’t get my hopes up,’ I would still feel that suffering. My heart would still crack out loud. My tears would still flow. So, I’ve always gotten my hopes way up, and been a ‘wouldn’t it be awesome if…’ kind of person.
Sure, of course, sometimes my heart gets ripped from my chest, my disappointment is crushing, my dreams mock me as they become nightmares.
More often, for the things that really matter, the pie-in-the-sky dreams get exposed as laughably tiny. Reality is deeper, wider, thicker, more peaceful, more fulfilling than my imagination can fly.
As it is with my wife, our relationship. We planned, we scheduled the things that would make us happy, that would provide the structure for a happy life – and those plans and schedules turned to rubble, the structure crumbled, sometimes in the most painful of ways.
And what was left, or rebuilt, was so much more beautiful.
I told her I’d love her forever, and I do, more now than I did, more now than I ever thought was possible. That was the unbelievable dream.
But, as I was going to tell her Sunday, that dream has been far exceeded, and the thing I’m most thankful for, the biggest gift, is how much I like her.
Here’s the song: https://youtu.be/b0y0A5j599Q