Kevin backed my car into a light pole the day he proposed. It was a rainy day at Wrightsville Beach, not at all what he had envisioned when he bought the ring and picked the date. It was eight years ago today, but it feels like it was last week. My, how we’ve changed since then.
When the first drops of rain started to fall on the windshield, we decided we would stop at a local pub. It was not at all what Kevin envisioned for the day, and as his plans unraveled so did his nerves. But he pulled into the tiny cramped parking lot anyway and searched for a spot. The only one to be found would require some expert maneuvering, and as Kevin rolled forward and backward through the parking lot he rolled right into a light pole.
This was really not what Kevin envisioned for the day. I looked over at him, saw the pain and anxiety on his face, then I reached for his hand, and I laughed, saying, “my love, it’s just a car.” He let out a deep sigh and we climbed out of the car to check the bumper. There wasn’t even a scratch.
I love that this day was less than perfect. Because in young lovers’ minds it is supposed to be the epitome of perfect days. It’s supposed to be a day of excellently executed plans. Picture-perfect. But life just doesn’t work like that. Neither does marriage. Marriage is never picture-perfect. It is never neat and tidy or excellently executed. But, my goodness, even in its messiness, it sure is breathtaking.
Sometimes I think marriage is a lot like the Israelites’ long journey in the wilderness. They were making their way to the Promised Land, the picture-perfect dream of a happy, secure life – and along the way things were less than what they envisioned. Troubles came their way, one after another, and every time they faced another hurdle they shook in their boots, discouraged and afraid. They wondered why God was taking so long to get them where they wanted to go, but all along God was inviting them to see that they were already where their hearts longed to be. They were with God, their companion, their friend, the lover of their souls. They were with each other, their family, their friends, their spouses. In their quest for the picture-perfect future, they missed the perfect joy of being together with the ones they love.
When I think back to Kevin and me eight years ago, I remember that our love was fresh and passionate, full of stomach butterflies and brave dreams for the future. But as the years brought changes to our lives, moves and jobs and babies, the years also brought changes to our love. It’s not the fiery, giddy love it once was. It is deeper. It is authentic. It is solid. And it still takes my breath away. Because our love now is less about building the perfect future and creating the perfect relationship. Our love is about cherishing the gift of togetherness. The kisses we steal in the kitchen while our kids watch Sesame Street. The comfort of a hand to hold when things get rough. I’m finding that our love blossoms best in the wilderness – from the deep conversations, to the puzzles of parenting, to even the old challenges that resurface time and again, making us stay up later than we want to hash it all out. I’m learning to see all of it as a gift, because it gives us another opportunity to walk through this crazy, scary, messy life together.
There was a break in the rain on that cool September day eight years ago, and we strolled along the beach hand in hand. Kevin dropped down to a knee as the misty ocean air swirled around him and he asked if I would share life with him forever. Before he could finish I was in his arms saying, “of course, of course!” It was probably 10 minutes before I actually looked at the ring. It didn’t matter. What mattered was that we were together, and always would be.
I’ll never forget the imperfect perfection of that day. Because the rain and the clouds and the light pole didn’t make the day worse, they made the day better. When the picture-perfect plans fell to pieces, all that was left was me and him and the love we shared and the God we served. Together. And that was enough. I believe it always will be.
One thought on “Together”
How beautiful, and how true!