I was 16 . . . going on 17. “I am going to marry that fella,” I whispered to my friend Rosemary in church the last Sunday in August, 1962.
And so I did.
How did I know this young good looking ‘kid’ wearing a traditional crew cut of the 60’s would indeed be my knight in shining armor. We soon discovered that this was the beginning of a storybook journey . . . a daily adventure walking in step these 54 years.
“If I look for imperfections, I can find them, can’t I?” I asked Tom yesterday when he came into the kitchen where I was painting cabinets. I am a frustrated painter as I agonize over the drips, the tiniest nail holes that must be filled, more rough places to be sanded. I paint and repaint. Then do it all again.
“Yes, you can. Look at the whole picture, enjoy the room, just do your best. This will never be perfect, Barb. There will always be drips to clean up and redo, more sanding to be done. Don’t focus on the negatives.”
Good words, I mused as I remembered something I had read early morning pondering my blog of the day–wondering how we arrived at this 54 year occasion. Words from an article by Shana Schutte with Focus on the Family seemed to sum up what I had learned very early in marriage. She was told by her mentor when she began dating a particular guy, “If you focus on all that he is not, you’ll miss what he is.” (Sort of like the lesson in the kitchen, too 🙂
Early on I just believed that Tom was perfect. No doubts. I was young and immature, right? By the time I understood more of life, a truth dawned. Of course, he wasn’t perfect. But by never focusing on his imperfections, those things he wasn’t, I did not miss all he was/is. And if I could have changed anything negative, even one tiny thing, he would not have been the Tom I chose. Surely there were times I failed in this, but Tom quickly reminded me–:-)
Tom’s first funeral in his pastorate was for a young husband and father of two boys; he had been mowing his yard, went in to rest, and died of a heart attack. Tom has had numerous funerals since that day, but that first one set a tone for our beginning years: I will live and love you today, this NOW. We may not have tomorrow.
Psalm 133 is a beautiful song for marriage. “How very good and pleasant it is when kindred live together in unity” (v1). When two walk together, united in tears and laughter, strong against the winds that would destroy and divide, fragrant precious oils fill each space; needed moisture gives relief to the dryness in life. These verses do not give promise to marriages alone, but this truth is revealed to our communities and the world . . . as believers sacrificially and selflessly live, love and walk together in unity.
And “yes, yes,” I whisper again, “I ‘m going to marry this old man.”
. . . one of my all time favorites about 12 years ago. . .