Today is Linda’s birthday. The Big 70. I follow next month. It has been a long but fast journey since we turned 18 when we met. At that age we did not think about reaching this stage in life. It was all about a wonderful courtship progressing with excitement and daily signals of affirmation at just the right pace and punctuated with “pinch me, is this for real?” moments.
However, about 11 years later and 8 years into a marriage, we were afforded an opportunity to ponder many questions to make a good marriage a great marriage: a safe environment to delve into deep personal questions that challenged a relationship. Self-image. Money. Sex. God. Children. In-laws. Death.
But the one question that caught us off guard was “How do I feel about growing old with you?” It was the prelude to confronting death in a safe, constructive way. We encountered some discomfort but conquered the subject with trust and openness, like the friends we were before we were lovers. Our lifelong relationship salvation has been to stay in that friend-zone and to sound the alarm if we veer so that we can return.
Even though we had been married for 8 years at that point, and our wedding vows just as sacred, I was floored as I came to the realization that we were married for a lifetime. Until the end. I was in awe that the pinnacle of marriage was the ascension from the altar, ever-growing and a little bit ahead of every step.
And a spiritual thing. As we approach 50 years of marriage and into our 7th decade on earth, the cumulative effect washes over me. Not just one year of marriage 50 times over. Strong spiritual arms have been wrapped around us since the day we met and have never let go. And will never let go as we asked for the firm Hug each day.
But wow! We confronted and embraced the idea of growing old together at what now seems a very young age, but dang if we haven’t ended up turning 70 together!
I find myself pausing to simply bask in the moment.
So, Happy Birthday, Linda. We celebrate your milestone still hand in hand. Sometimes I got ahead and pulled you along, and more often it was you grasping my hand without having to say, “let’s go.” It has been a lovely stroll.
I Love You!