My darling, you know I adore The Notebook. The romance, yes, and the fury of new love. But mostly, the deep, enduring love that doesn’t know how to let go. The kind of love that shows up day after day to tell the same story over and over again.
It occurs to me that, with 30 years under our belt, we are coming to share more with that seasoned couple trying hard to remember than with the combustible pair of young lovers. It also occurs to me that, in the event that I am Allie some day and you must be the custodian of our memories, you might like a little help…
Please don’t ever let me forget that Sunday morning when first I saw you, bursting through the back door of the choir loft at Laguardo Baptist Church with a bundle of music in one arm and a Mellow Yellow in the other. Or that week volunteering together at VBS…and the grapes. You might want me to forget that you borrowed money from me at Taco Bell on our first date, but I probably won’t. 😉 Remind me of the fast and furious knowing, the summer evenings sitting on the floor at Robbie and Clayton’s, talking late into the night, asking all the questions, until a sleepy Clayton would call out from the back of the house, “Mike, don’t you think it’s time to be heading home?”
Tell me stories about our “young married” days at Haywood Hills; about Paul and Debo, Chris and Trisha, Rebecca and Katherine; about house-boat trips and Sunday night Pictionary. Tell me about our first house on Debra Drive and how we didn’t notice there was no dishwasher til I was standing there with a dirty plate in my hand, about the horrible grasscloth we ripped off the walls, and the night the water heater exploded and flooded the basement. And don’t forget the tiny furballs.
Make sure you tell me about our babies and how you “conducted” them into the world (always patterns of four despite the nurse’s instructions to count to ten). It seems to have worked. They are all musical. 🙂 Talk about homeschooling and children’s choir, about cub scouts and sports teams, about the puppies and the farm, about talent shows and camping trips and church camp, about watching these remarkable humans grow into themselves.
Remind me of all the places we have been. Of England and France (This is your chance to tell me we saw Prince Charles on the Chunnel Train with none of the children to correct you.) It might be best if you do not mention that we almost lost each of the boys in separate metro incidents. Mind the gap!
Include something about Venice, the Cinque Terre, Meteora, the Hagia Sophia, Costa Rica, Alaska, and the Dingle Peninsula. Tell me that once I stood before the Book of Kells. Remind me how we crossed the Grand Canyon on foot. Twice.
I might be surprised to learn that we have run marathons, even an ultra-marathon. But tell me about those. Especially the one up Pikes Peak. And in the Tetons. Tell me about the crazy cold Disney Marathon when the sports drinks and gels froze, but fire pots were burning in Epcot and I cried all the way through the Magic Kingdom.
Be sure to include stories about the long walk across Spain. Don’t forget David and Jan, Samra and Perry, Rhys, Otto, Jose, Jorge and Kelly, Paul, Mike, Adam and all our other beloveds… Talk about the hill towns, the vineyards, and the Botafumeiro.
It will be difficult to tell me about the hard time, that season when we weren’t sure we would make it. You will want to be self-deprecating because that is your way. But DO NOT let me forget that you loved me fiercely, even when I made it so hard. Remind me of friends who stood with us, who challenged and encouraged. Never let me lose sight of the fact that seasoned love is a miracle and a gift.
Talk to me about the ancient Church. About how it is so different than anything we have ever known, and yet, how arriving here was like coming home. Talk to me of the beautiful sensuality of worship, about the deep theology, about how it asks so much of us, and yet gives us so much more. About how we found healing here.
And please, please, tell me about our granddaughter. Remind me of sleepovers and duplos and make-believe, and how she gave us the opportunity to see the world like it was brand new. Tell me about the sweet surprise of godchildren and how they have blessed our life.
And when you have told me all the stories, just be with me. Sit beside me. And let the knowing between us keep us company.
Thank you, my darling, for living and loving long with me. I know it has not always been easy. Perhaps it has never been easy. But God has made something very good of our love. And I am glad you have all our stories. And I am glad neither of us has to begin again. May God grant us many more years of growing into one another, til all borders become permeable and the knowing is complete.
To be continued…
A story thirty years in the making is far too much to cover completely in one blog post. Here are a few previous posts that tell a little more: