It seems that the new normals just won't stay long. They are ever interrupted by marks in time, which inevitably set off another storm surge that rocks our houseboat and leaves us scrambling to look to the lighthouse and safety.
Last week was another of those marks in time.
Our twenty-fifth wedding anniversary.
Our first wedding anniversary without him here.
We had 24 years together as husband and wife, plus another year as friends and then dating and engaged.
I spent more than half of my life with my Vincent. And I don't regret any of it.
We walked hand in hand the whole way. We had a beautiful bunch of children together. We chose to live simply so that we could focus on the Kingdom of God here on earth, rather than pursuing money. We chose to spend our lives loving on people and helping them look for God's call on their lives. We were honored to help so many dear friends walk through hard stuff, to rejoice with them in happy moments, and to simply pour our lives into others.
When Vince first heard the news that there was a stupid tumor that was going to end his life very soon, he began to feel like he was leaving his family in a bad spot, financially. He was ever taking care of us. I reminded him that we had made these choices together, and that I don't regret any of it. I reminded him that God has always taken care of our needs and would still do just that after he was gone. Only then did he relax.
Vince wondered if he hadn't provided for us, but he really gave us so many important things. He gave us a beautiful life walking with God together and a deep love that we cannot forget. He showed our children what it looks like to love another without regard to yourself.
The day of our wedding anniversary was a little like the day we wed 25 years ago. It was cool and windy. A little too windy for an outdoor wedding, but as soon as you walked down into the natural amphitheater, the wind was gone. Many people asked if if we had played recordings of birds singing. (Seriously!) No, they were just an extra gift. So many things about that day did not go as we planned them, but the ceremony was lovely. I was in the sun with my beloved, pledging our forevers. That was all we needed.
So today, twenty-five years later, I can't help but reminisce. And it makes me realize something.
Vince and I had such a wonderful, ordinary, yet unusual love story. We have told the story many times over the years. Our children have, I'm sure, overheard the many times when someone asked how we met. But do they really know the whole story of how their parents fell in love? Do they know this legacy that went on before them, the beginning of our family? Maybe not.
Do your children really know your love story? Do they know the details of how you fell in love with one another?
At some point, those memories, those stories of our lives and our most important moments will fade away if we don't share them. Lately I have felt this burden that I am now the keeper of Vince's memories, of his stories. Stories are meant for sharing. Stories are the intersection where our lives touch the life of another… and maybe impact them.
I don't want to waste these beautiful things that God has orchestrated in our lives. I want to notice them. I want to share them.
My children need to know their history. They need to understand their legacy. And so I have to make an effort to impart our moments to these sweet ones God handed to us.
I'm still working out how to best do this, but maybe it simply starts with a night of story. Maybe every wedding anniversary should be a night of story. How I wish we had started this years ago, when we could do it together, Vince and I.
How will you tell your stories to your children? Do they know your love story?