Twenty-One Years

Twenty-one years ago (yesterday) I married a boy.

It rained in the pre-dawn hours of our wedding day.

It’s good luck, they had said of the rain.

Do I need luck? I wondered.

By the time we arrived at the church for our early morning wedding, the suns rays had eliminated any sign of the pre-dawn rain. The sunlight felt more lucky than the rain.

Dressed in our best, Chad and I stood in front of our family and friends and said our “I do’s”, sang some songs, exchanged a quick kiss, and emerged from the front doors wearing shiny new wedding rings. Forever awaited us.

Madeleine L’Engle wrote of marriage:

It is indeed a fearful gamble; Becasue it is the nature of love to create, a marriage itself is something which has to be created, so that, together we become a new creature.

I have no memory of what I was thinking as Chad and I stepped out into the sunlight while bubbles blew toward us in our first moments after being declared, Mr. & Mrs, but I’m certain I wasn’t thinking I was gambling.

There is something about creating that, at first glance, appears to be natural. A singer belts out the perfect pitch and we comment on how effortless it seems. The musician strums with perfection and we speak of the natural ability. The painters brush dances across the canvas and we talk about the ease of the creation. We are not privy to the sweat, tears, and work that happens behind the scenes.

Do we want to know? Do we want to see?

Our home is full of plants. Inside and out—green is everywhere. Some are rooted deeply into the ground, while others have found a home in pots and planters. There is something about nature that, at first glance, appears effortless. A seed is dropped into soil and it grows. Nothing is ever that simple. Over the years, I have watched Chad tend carefully to all of our plants. They are watered and pruned, they are moved inside and out, making sure they get enough sun—but not too much sun. Sure, some of the growth has happened naturally, but never without work. Left alone (or in my care) many of the plants would have died.

I think that is where the gambling comes in. Do we want to do this? Is it worth the effort? Do we really want to create something? Do we really want to become a new creature?

I didn’t know I was saying yes to all those things twenty-one years ago. I didn’t know I was gambling and promising to become something new, together, with Chad. But that’s what we did. The two kids who were going to move to Colorado and never have kids became two people who live in Chad’s hometown and have three kids of their own.

It’s just that, I think, that’s what creating is. You begin with a stroke of a paintbrush with no real understanding what the final product will be. The committment comes in keeping the paintbrush in your hand and seeing it through to the end.

We are a mere 21 years into what will take a lifetime to create. I’ve never been one to believe that there is a single soul for all of us. Instead, I believe deeply in the soul with whom I chose to create a life.

Chad, thank you for this beautiful life. Thank you for your love, your humor, your commitment to us and our family. In my wildest dreams 21 years ago, I couldn’t have imagine a life as wonderful as the one we have created. I will choose you, always.

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