It’s been 25 years since we were married, so we got dressed up, walked down to the big rock and renewed our vows in front of the boys and the mad beagle. It was lovely. Afterwards, we ate bacon and eggs with them, and we reminisced, and we played old wedding music. And then we cleaned up the kitchen, sent some emails, and sorted out the tax.
Marriage occurs within thousands of ordinary moments… too many to count – all of those moments when we can’t find the keys, or the dog, or the piece of paper lying under that pile of rubbish. All of those moments when we need that piece of paper, right now! All of those moments when the thought of taking a pretty photo in the garden is the last thing on our minds. All of those moments when frustration and stress would like to seep their way out in the slam of a door.
What does it mean to cherish in the middle of all of that? Perhaps, looking back on 25 years, for us, it’s been the ordinary moments that have been harder to live well, than the obvious trials. Darren and I have struggled through miscarriages and monsoons and civil war and life-threatening heart conditions. We’ve been in pain and in hospital. We’ve wept. We’ve been scared and empty, and we’ve been very stressed. But we’ve also been deeply sustained. We’ve prayed, and we’ve been thankful, and we’ve remembered that none of this is a surprise to God.
But what about the ordinary moments? Are they a different challenge altogether – to remember to cherish and say sorry and thank you and please, and to greet with affection, while we still can’t find that piece of paper, or something even more important under that pile? Even then, cherish. Work really hard. Breathe. Somehow, catch a glimpse of the eternal and sacred, in God’s world, and each other.
And then, open your eyes again, and have a look at him, and the dog, who is still at the door.
“I know,” you say smiling, “Shall we take the dog for a walk?”
And he nods, smiling back, piece of paper in hand, “Yes, let’s do that. Good idea.”